Union County is known for the Blue Ridge Mountain beauty and its world-famous sorghum syrup. It is one of the three north Georgia Counties situated completely within the Chattahoochee National Forest. Of the 204,736 acres of land in Union County 97,843 is Chattahoochee National Forest. Union County, located 112 miles north of Atlanta, is easily accessed by well-developed highways and an airport. The area provides plenty of recreation and entertaining events for all ages and interest: festivals, concerts, theater, parades, active civic organizations, etc. Blairsville, the county seat, is located in the center of the county, close to beautiful Lake Nottely, a 4,180 acre body of water managed by the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Population: Union County: 19,000 (2002) estimate), 17,289 (2000), up from 11,993 (1990). Blairsville: 670
County Information: Union County Acreage, 204,736 (97,843 acres within Chattahoochee National Forest).
Lake Nottely - 4,180 acre body of water (Managed by the Tennessee Valley Authority). Shoreline on Lake Nottely is 106 miles.
Housing: Union County had 10,001 housing units in 2000, with a home ownership rate of 82.3%, well above the state average of 67.5%. In 2000, 401 housing units were authorized by building permits. The county averages close to 500 new units a year.
Elevations: County Elevation Range: 1,600-4,784 feet - Blairsville Evaluation: 1,900 feet
Demographics (Averages): High Temperature - July:84F; Low Temperature - January:25F; Annual Rainfall - 65 inches; Annual Snowfall - 3 inches.
Employment and Industry:
Union County lists 50 manufacturing firms employing, 1,028, the largest being Aviagen, a poultry breeder, employing 156.
Tourism has an annual economic impact of $37 million, supporting 23 businesses and 541 jobs (fiscal year 2001).
The largest non-manufacturing employers in the Union County area are: Union County Schools, 300; United Community Banks Inc., 290; Global Employment Solutions, Inc., 168; Brasstown Valley Resort, 150; Union County Government, 150; Home Depot, 150; Union General Hospital, 145; Blue Ridge Mountain EMC, 145.
Unemployment: Union County's unemployment rate in March was 3.2%, compared to 4.6% for the state, tying Union County for 17th lowest in Georgia.
Education: The Union County Public School System operates five schools and is the fiscal agent for the Union County Head Start Program and Pre-Kindergarten Program.
Personnel: 400 certified and classified; 70% of the 210 certified staff hold advanced degrees; 26% have Master's Degrees; 37% have Educational Specialist Degrees and 1% have Doctorate Degrees.
Facilities: A new middle school building was completed in 1992 and a new $11 million High School opened in 2002. Woody Gap school was renovated in 2000.
Accreditation: All Union County schools are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and by the Georgia Accrediting Commission.
More information: Please call the Union County Board of Education at (706) 745-2322 or website www.union.k12.ga.us
Worth Noting: Last year's county-wide third-grade class finished first in the state in the Stanford Achievement Test (reading and math), which compares student scores in third, fifth and eight grades to students nationwide. Union County's children finished in a tie with third graders from Fayette County.
Higher Education: North Georgia Technical College, Blairsville,; Young Harris College (9 miles from Blairsville); North Georgia College and State University, Dahlonega (30 miles); Brenau University, Gainesville (55 miles); Gainesville College (55 miles)
Hospital Information: Union General Hospital (UGH), one of the top-rated rural hospitals in the state, and was named Georgia Rural Hospital of the Year in 2001 and Small Hospital of the Year in 2000. Among the wide range of services offered: chronic dialysis clinic, 147-bed nursing home, and a new cancer treatment center.
More Information: Union General Hospital (706) 745-2111 or www.uniongeneralhospital.com; Union County Nursing Home (706) 745-4948- the Nursing home is included in the Union County General Hospital website; Cancer Treatment Center (706) 835-3030; and the Union County Dialysis Center (706) 835-1925.
Source: Union County Chamber of Commerce
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