Back in the Economic Development Ballgame
What does Economic Development look like? For communities like Donalsonville and Seminole County, it can take various, and sometimes not easily recognizable, forms. For instance, the tourist dollars spent in Seminole County are probably much higher than most of its residents would ever imagine.
According to Donalsonville-Seminole County Chamber of Commerce President and Industrial Development Authority director Sarah Avery, a study compiled by the U.S. Travel Association for 2019 reported travel expenditures in Seminole County totaled 9.85 million dollars and helped to create 89 local jobs. That is definitely an economic development industry we must continue to nurture and expand!
One of the most common forms of economic development is the recruiting and attracting of industries that will create jobs and increase the local tax base, which in turn takes some of the tax burden off local residents. The most difficult part of this type of economic development comes at the beginning, and sadly, this is where Seminole County has dropped the ball in recent years losing out and watching neighboring communities benefit and receive new industry that our community could have had. For a community to attract industry and large employer operations, first and foremost, the community has to have in place a designated ready-to-go piece of property that can be easily adaptable to the needs of a potential industrial operation. In recent years, with the lack of available land to market to potential industrial prospects, Seminole County has been stuck firmly on the sidelines and not even a legitimate or active participant in the industry recruitment ballgame – until now. The local Industrial Development Authority is proud to announce the purchase of marketable land and the creation of a new industrial park – just east of Donalsonville.
Seminole County’s current industrial park, located on Georgia Highway 39, just west of Donalsonville, has been operating at full capacity for many years.
“We are extremely proud that American Peanut Growers’ Group (APGG) calls Seminole County and the Industrial Park home, and that they have continued to grow and expand over the years,” commented Avery. “APGG owns the majority of the property within the boundaries of the current industrial park, and because of their continued growth and success, the non availability of any industrial park property may have kept potential prime prospects from looking at our community in the last several years.”
The Development Authority is very excited and very positive about the acquisition of land and the creation of the county’s new Industrial Park East. Located on U.S. Highway 84 east of Donalsonville, directly north and across the fence from the Welcome to Donalsonville sign, the 138 +/- acre tract, purchased with a combination of loan funds and SPLOST funds, checks a lot of positive boxes in the world of industrial recruitment and development!
The Development Authority is currently working on developing a marketing plan to identify and recruit potential target industrial candidates, as well as promotional materials to promote the property near and far. The site will soon have a presence on the internet and will be visible to site selectors, both private and state, other Development Authorities in the region, statewide and nationwide. “We will work with other counties and regions to bring industry to Seminole County and Donalsonville. We could see results very quickly, or it may take some time, but we have taken the first step. Let’s move forward together!” added Avery.
For additional information call Avery at Donalsonville-Seminole County the Chamber of Commerce office. The chamber’s phone number is 229-524-2588, and the office’s address is 122 East Second Street in downtown Donalsonville.
The Donalsonville-Seminole County Industrial Authority consists of chairman Brad Clarke and members Nancy Jernigan, David Maxwell, Jim Jernigan, Neal Rumble, Mark Spooner, Marcus Carter, Ron Johnson and Brinson Register.