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Social Circle mulls joining 'One Walton'

SOCIAL CIRCLE -- The Social Circle City Council is considering contributing $5,000 to participate in a county-wide marketing campaign.

Stacy Jones, a representative with the Walton County Chamber of Commerce, presented the proposed marketing campaign, "One Walton," to the City Council during its monthly meeting last Tuesday.

She said that depending on whom you ask, Walton County is described as a strong agricultural community, a county that focuses on historic preservation, a place with rapid big-box retail development or a community where subdivisions abound. She said there are vast differences in people's minds when they think of Social Circle versus Loganville, or Social Circle versus Monroe.

"It's hard to describe it," Jones said. "Walton County is a lot of little things."

However, creating a single, unifying image of Walton County is important when trying to recruit businesses and industries for economic development. She said branding is important to a product's -- or in this case, a community's -- image and success.

Jones pointed to the differences between Walt Disney World and Six Flags, two successful theme parks with markedly different brands, customers and focus.

"What is unique about Walton County? Now we want to tell that story consistently to people looking at Walton County," Jones said.

To help answer that question, the Chamber is undertaking a One Walton campaign, which will be a 26-week project headed by a paid consultant who will work with the communities to define who Walton County is, determine what individuals and businesses outside of Walton County think of the community, establish a logo and brand and, finally, implement that consistent message.

"We are here to ask you to consider participating in One Walton," Jones told the City Council, and requested they provide $5,000 for the initiative.

She said the city of Loganville has already pledged $10,000, the Monroe Downtown Development Authority has pledged $20,000 and the town of Good Hope has pledged $1 per capita, which amounts to about 1 percent of its annual budget, to the One Walton campaign.

Mayor James Burgess agreed there is significant disconnect in the public's mind about the different aspects of Walton County. The council agreed to take the request under consideration and report back to Jones.