Purpose & History
The Northwest Georgia Regional Commission is a multi-county organization consisting of 15 Northwest Georgia counties and 49 municipalities. Major responsibilities of the regional development center include: (1) implementation of the Georgia Planning Act of 1989; (2) administration of the Area Agency on Aging; (3) administration of the Workforce Investment Act; and (4) providing planning and development assistance to member governments in areas they could not otherwise afford.
During the late 1950’s, Mr. T. Harley Harper and Mr. Fred F. Starr traveled Northwest Georgia promoting the idea of regional cooperation and planning. The area-wide organization began on May 7, 1959, with a regional conference at Berry College in Rome, Georgia, which was held to discuss problems and opportunities of the Coosa Valley area. Over 400 area business, industrial, and government leaders attended the meeting. The Coosa Valley Planning and Development Association, consisting of two representatives from each of the twelve participating counties, was formed at this meeting. These counties included: Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Haralson, Murray, Paulding, Polk, Walker and Whitfield. Douglas County joined the Association in August of 1960. The Association was an informal organization with no official status and no funds or staff. However, these civic leaders met monthly to discuss various subjects, which presented problems or opportunities for area development. At the first official meeting in June, 1959, Mr. T. Harley Harper was elected Chairperson.
It soon became apparent from these meetings that in order to carry on a meaningful area program the Association should be reorganized as an official agency with funds and staff. In June, 1960 a reorganization plan was developed under the authority of the Georgia General Planning and Enabling Act of 1957. With the exception of Walker and Whitfield Counties, each of the thirteen counties joined together to create the Coosa Valley Area Planning and Development Commission (APDC). The Governor of Georgia agreed to finance the program at $30,000 per year, and to supplement this, each participating county contributed 25 cents per capita annually. This was done and the Coosa Valley Area Planning and Development Commission began operation on April 1, 1961 with eleven participating counties. The first official staff members were Mr. Sidney Thomas and Mrs. Barbara M. Snead. Whitfield County became a participating member in April, 1964 and Walker County joined the Commission in February, 1965. Douglas County joined the Atlanta Regional Commission in 1966. Murray and Whitfield Counties became members of the North Georgia Area Planning and Development Commission in 1970. The Coosa Valley APDC was the first multi-county organization of its type in Georgia and has served as the model for other areas in the State and nation. There are now twelve such multi-county organizations in Georgia.
The agency’s name was changed to the Coosa Valley Regional Development Center (RDC) as a result of the Georgia Planning Act of 1989. The counties of the Coosa Valley RDC were: Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Haralson, Paulding, Polk, and Walker.
As of July 16th, 2009, the Coosa Valley Regional Development Center and the North Georgia Regional Development Center were merged to form the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission. The Regional Commission now includes a total of 15 counties and 49 cities.