Henry seeking residents input on growth, future of warehousing

Henry County leaders are asking residents to help them decide the future growth of its booming warehousing and distribution centers sector.

The county has created a survey at Qualtrics Survey | Qualtrics Experience Management that allows residents to give their opinions on economic development in metro Atlanta’s second-fastest growing county. That includes thoughts on preferences for freight development, preservation of greenspace and where distribution centers and warehouses should be located.

“Citizens have strong feelings towards industrial development,” Sam Baker, Henry’s director of transportation planning told the County Commission recently in introducing the survey. “They talk about how we don’t want to be totally urbanized. How we want to preserve some of Henry’s rural character. Yes, we want jobs and economic development. But hopefully there is a way to balance that with the preservation of land.”

Warehousing has boomed in Henry in recent years, with big distribution centers from Home Depot, Wayfair and Luxottica calling the south metro Atlanta community home. That has brought thousands of jobs to the county, but also snarled traffic on roads that have not kept pace with Henry’s growth.

The survey is part of the Smart Communities Challenge Project, a statewide grant program that will allow teams from Georgia Tech and Clayton State University to work with county staff on the project.

“It’s not just about how we grow but where we grow,” Baker said. “Through this tool we can put that question directly to residents in a way that will inform our decision making around the geography of our economic development for years to come.”

Residents can access the survey through the end of the year. An in-person community meeting will be held this spring, though the county did not release a date.

Results from the survey may be announced next year in September.