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Boomtown Houston County: Building the county's identity

As the area grows, people weigh in on their hopes for Houston County's future.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — We're launching a new series called "Boomtown Houston County," to take a look at the growth in Houston County over the years and what might happen to the community in the future.

At Against the Grain in Warner Robins, you'll find walls full of tools, shelves overflowing with paint colors, and a large space for building and creating.

Tess and Matt Chambers opened the design shop on Russell Parkway as a way to share their passion for creativity and their community.

"Making something our community can be proud of," Tess said.

RELATED: Boomtown Houston County: What decades of growth looks like

Both born and raised in Houston County, the couple says they wanted to be part of the recent growth and celebrate what their hometown offers.

"We have a lot of people here, but it still feels like a small town," Matt said.

As the growth continues, they want to see more business and entertainment opportunities as diverse as the population.

"You want stuff for families to go do, and more activities and stuff to draw other people in to make this something," Matt said. "It's not just a pass-through town."

Many people commented with similar sentiments on 13WMAZ's Facebook page.

Mike Jones wrote that he wants to see Houston County become "a beautiful oasis of opportunity, diversity, freedom, and respect."

Heather Hamsley wants the county to be known for its "amazing schools, safe community, jobs, and a place where the community is close."

Other people commented Houston County should be known as a family-oriented community and for its ties to Robins Air Force Base.

Out of the nearly 200 comments we received on this Facebook post, we went through and pinpointed 17 themes you wanted Houston County to be known for.

We took those words and created a word cloud. The bigger the word is, the more times it was mentioned in the comments. 

Most people that commented wanted the county to be known for community, safety, good schools, and family.

Credit: WMAZ

Angie Gheesling, Executive Director of the county's Development Authority, says to make all of that happen, it starts with "becoming more open to really capitalizing of an area and not being so concerned with what we're necessarily missing as a county."

She says those strengths include the school system, job opportunities, and the partnerships between the two.

"That's why it's important that we take a step back, get into our K-12 system and really start exposing kids to the possible careers of the future for them and keep them here," she said.

She says county leaders are also focused on appealing to the growing number of people in the 25 to 40 age range coming to the county.

"We've got great assets for retirement, and we've got great assets to support the family, but I think we've got a real opportunity now to really look at what that young person coming out of college is looking for," she said.

Gheesling says that will create a domino effect, making it easier to create a more "workable, livable environment" filled with opportunities for the entire community.

Join us next Thursday, Feb. 20 for our next "Boomtown" story, as we take a look at the different, growing industries in Houston County.

BOOMTOWN WARNER ROBINS

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