Cherokee County Living
Vibrant City Meets Small-Town Charm
by Dawn Sloan Downes
Just north of Atlanta up Interstate 75, situated at the base of North Georgia’s Appalachian foothills, Cherokee County is a scenic wonderland where Atlanta’s vibrant nature and the graciousness of small-town Southern charm blend seamlessly, giving residents the best of both worlds.
Outdoor activities abound in this natural paradise featuring the bustling and beautiful Lake Allatoona. Built in the 1950s by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Allatoona boasts eight marinas and several parks with boat ramps, making it a boater’s and fisherman’s dream.
Hunters, hikers, and the outdoorsy set will also find a wealth of non-water sports to keep them entertained. The Corps of Engineers maintains a series of beautiful wilderness trails around the lake and hunters with a valid state of Georgia license can hunt in the state’s Allatoona Wildlife Management Area.
Should all this rural beauty make you forget Cherokee County’s proximity to the Silicon Valley of the South, a quick visit to The Bluffs at Technology Park in Cherokee County’s seat of Canton, Georgia, will serve as a reminder. This 700-acre mixed-use development was built with one goal in mind—attracting high-paying technology jobs to Cherokee County. With a planned build-out of 10 to 15 years, the development includes 500 acres devoted to office, light industrial, and servicerelated business use. Nestled among the wooded foothills, the office park is conveniently adjacent to I-575 and features access to the 400-acre Hickory Log Creek Reservoir Lake with five miles of shoreline. In 2008, a new LEED-certified, state-of-the-art administration building and conference center for Cherokee County government became one of the first fully operational buildings to open, anchoring the development on its southern end.
Chattahoochee Technical College will open the doors of its Canton campus on land donated by the developer at The Bluffs in January 2011, anchoring its northern end. The campus will offer both traditional undergraduate degrees as well as technical degrees. School administrators hope this new location provides students not only a convenient alternative to commuting to campuses in Jasper or Marietta, but also allows them the opportunity to network with and learn from technologists at the companies close at hand. “The Bluffs is just in a fantastic location,” says Paul Michael, Vice President of Development for TPA Realty Services, the developer of The Bluffs at Technology Park. “We also had tremendous flexibility in our zoning, allowing us to include everything from light manufacturing to office buildings up to 10 stories tall. And, we have the ability to do residential building in this development as well and plan to add that in the future for a true “live/work/ play” community. This is the ideal location for Fortune 500 companies looking to relocate or expand their businesses.” The Cherokee County airport was just approved to handle small commuter jets, as well, making the area even more appealing to businesses hoping to relocate.
The new Hickory Log Dam and Reservoir project, which built a 180-ft. dam and drought contingency reservoir to provide an additional source of drinking water for the area, is one other aspect of the “live/work/play” sustainability plan. Additionally, a greater variety of local shopping options and unique housing developments are on the rise, making the area more appealing every day.
Just across Hickory Log Creek Reservoir from The Bluffs lies Great Sky, a master-planned community that offers five distinct neighborhoods “clustered by price range,” according to Sonia Lanier, sales rep for Fairgreen Landmark Communities, Great Sky’s developer.
“We have 920 total acres with 300 acres of open space. About half of the reservoir’s shoreline adjoins properties in Great Sky. But whether they are on the lake or on one of the higher elevation lots that look down on the lake or up toward the mountains, all of the homes in Great Sky have incredible views,” adds Lanier.
Homes in the community start in the $220s in the Morning Mist neighborhood and go up to the $500s in the Southern Lights development. All homeowners throughout Great Sky pay a $500 HOA initiation fee along with annual dues of $75, granting them all equal access to a variety of amenities including a water park that features a curlicue slide and splash pool, as well as a junior Olympic lap pool, and an adults-only relaxation pool.
When complete, the development will also feature eight lighted tennis courts and a covered tennis pavilion. There is already a children’s adventure park and outdoor exercise course along with 17 miles of walking trails, and basketball courts.
Riverstone Village, located close to both The Bluffs and Great Sky, offers a mix of local shopping and national chains in its Avenue style shopping complex, as well as family dining including Moe’s Burritos, Shane’s Rib Shack, and the sports-themed family restaurant Sidelines.
For those who like a little more hometown flair in their shopping experience, downtown Woodstock is the place to be. Approximately 12 miles south of Canton, Woodstock is fast becoming the hippest little spot in Cherokee. Downtown Woodstock boasts a host of charming and unique restaurants, antique shops, clothing and gift boutiques, art galleries, and bars. Plans for the Elm Street Project, a fouracre cultural arts village, include spaces for the performing arts, an outdoor performance space, a community vegetable garden, wildflower gardens, and a visual arts center located inside a restored farmhouse on the site. Located just one block off Woodstock’s Main Street, the Elm Street Project is billed as an effort to “make our daily surroundings more beautiful and educate our children in the power of creativity.”
Just around the corner from Elm Street on Woodstock’s Chambers Street are the Woodstock Downtown Condos. Originally developed by Hedgewood Homes, the property was taken over and brought to completion by Southeast Capital Partners. Well-appointed condos that began at the asking price of $300K, now range from $149,400 to $347,400.
Sixty-seven one- and two-bedroom condos in a “stepless” community are available in 28 different floor plans and feature granite kitchens, upgraded tile throughout, hardwood floors, 10-ft. ceilings, and energy efficient appliances and features.
The location can’t be beat, either, according to Beth Jones, Southeast Capital Partners representative. “You walk out the front door here into a totally walkable community and you have four great restaurants a few feet away, along with a wine and cigar bar, a great local bookseller, plus a farmers’ market, with more on their way. We’re in a secure building with secure parking. It’s ideal for those wanting to downsize as well as young professionals.”
Truly a thriving area, Cherokee County is no longer the rural area it once was. Though filled with wide-open spaces for those who crave freedom, the area also offers exciting opportunities in both affordable housing options and job growth. Careful planning that gives credit to the past while looking forward has ensured that the area has not fallen victim to the suburban sprawl found in many of Atlanta’s other outlying suburbs, making Cherokee County a truly appealing place to call home.
Atlanta Board of Realtors
City of Canton
Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce
City of Woodstock
Fairgreen Landmark Communities
Southeast Capital Partners
TPA Realty Services