County Buys Into Economic Development

September 18, 2012

The county of Lowndes is home to unique neighborhoods and a diverse population. Steeped in history, its treasures include Moody Air Force Base, Valdosta State University, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College and the community of Valdosta. It supports major employers such Lowes Regional Distribution Center and South Georgia Medical Center. Norman Drive, St. Augustine and Bemiss Road areas are fast becoming a major retail economic engine for the city and region.

Lowndes County’s commissioners made the right call when they agreed to help fund economic development activities with the Industrial Authority. In 2008 the County and the Industrial Authority saw a need to expand and develop new sites for business expansion opportunities. The majority of the existing business parks were developed, and without available Industrial Authority owned site ready tracts of land, the recruitment of new industries in a recovering economy and assistance of existing industry growth would be an obstacle.

The Industrial Authority was then tasked by the Lowndes County commissioners to identify land available base on suitability for economic development: tract size/soil type/developable acreage, proximity to existing utilities, and access to major transportation routes. The goal was to develop a diverse portfolio of business parks that targeted different business sectors suits: office, wholesale, manufacturing, distribution, light industrial. This was all done through a Potential Land Strategy developed by the Southern Georgia Regional Commission which identified over 800 (eight hundred) acres of additional land, suitable for industry, throughout the county including over 75 (seventy five) acres on the Valdosta Regional Airport property reserved for aviation related projects. Once the sites had been identified and ranked the Industrial Authority, then began to acquire a total of 553 acres at two different locations to develop new business parks through a $14 million bond issued from Lowndes County.

Park development and initial engineering began in 2009 on the 370 buildable acres. Leaders visited existing business parks in surrounding communities throughout the region to strategically position Lowndes County’s newest shovel ready business parks as prime real estate for any business expansion or relocation project. As construction on the park infrastructure progressed, the Industrial Authority made its number one priority to use local contractors and sub-contractors and in each park a percentage of the work was awarded to businesses participating in Valdosta Small Emerging Business (VSEB) program.

There is a lot to be proud of in Lowndes County and the 12.5 million capital investment made in the development of these two new world class business parks has set the standard for a community being committed to economic development and the impact it will have years from today.

About Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority

The Industrial Authority is an organization that oversees industrial and economic development in Valdosta and Lowndes County. In 1960 the Authority was formed as an amendment to the Georgia State Constitution. The mission of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority is to recruit new industry, support existing industry, create employment opportunities for the citizens of our region, expand and diversify the sources for public tax revenue, and stimulate private investment.



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