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Donalsonville spotlighted in Georgia’s Cities magazine

Good things are happening in the City of Donalsonville and people throughout the state are beginning to take notice. Cities throughout Georgia are enhancing residents’ quality of life, encouraging business creation and improving local workforce development through a variety of economic development projects. In this month’s edition of Georgia’s Cities magazine, a publication of the Georgia Municipal Association, an article titled Here Comes the Boom features Donalsonville and gives details on how the city is seeing opportunities for economic development and growth and impacting the community through creative and innovative projects.

The text of the article printed in the July/August 2023 edition of Georgia’s Cities magazine is reprinted here.

In the Southwest corner of Georgia sets a small town in Seminole County, with a population of 2,833 residents. Bearing its name from John Earnest Donalson, a prominent businessman in the area during the late 1800s and early 1900s, Donalsonville, chartered in 1897, was known for building the first lumber mill in the area, which served as a catalyst for the city’s growth.

While the city only has a total area of 4.0 square miles – it’s small, but it has hope for building its economic development footprint as a city bordering Alabama and Florida to attract passerby travelers.

Geographically, the city is located 20 minutes north of Lake Seminole, 62 miles south of Albany, 36 miles east of Dothan, Alabama and 107 miles west of Valdosta.

The area’s major industries include farming, and world-renowned agribusinesses which include Lewis M. Carter Manufacturing, a designer and manufacturer of processing equipment distributed throughout the world, American Peanut Growers Group, and its subsidiary American Peanut Ingredients, worldwide processors and distributors of peanut products. In addition, both art and music have also played an integral role in the impact of the city as well.

The city’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) recently found an opportunity to make an impact on their community and downtown through a public-private partnership to purchase a historic vacant building to create a restaurant. The DDA purchased the building last Spring but due to a lack of funding rehabilitation and construction did not take off until January 2023.

“We  (the DDA) paid for the infrastructure of the building,” said Tori Gravlee, director of the city of Donalsonville’s Downtown Development Authority. This included paying for the plumbing, electrical, painting, walls, new AC units including the large expanse, and a 16-foot vent hood system for the kitchen.

“We partnered with them, and they continued the investment in the building by purchasing the remaining kitchen equipment, building out a custom bar area, tiling the dining room, paving a new parking lot, and redoing the existing sidewalk in front of the building,” says Gravlee.

In May 2023, Rodeo Cantina and Grill officially opened and sets on S. Tennille Avenue, one of the city’s main roads. The restaurant stays busy and has instantly become a success with locals and other surrounding counties and tourists as they travel through the area to Florida beaches via Hwy 91, which runs directly in front of the restaurant.

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