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					 South Georgia Regional Development Center,
       Economic Development District



Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS)


                    Final Draft


                   August 2006




South Georgia Workforce Development Board,
South Georgia RDC CEDS Strategy Committee
South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                    Page 2


              SOUTH GEORGIA REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT CENTER –
             COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY

                                               Table of Contents

       INTRODUCTION

       EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

I.     ANALYSIS OF REGIONAL ECONOMY

       A.      Overview
               1.     Commuting Patterns
               2.     Unemployment
               3.     Per Capita Income
               4.     Average Weekly Wage
               5.     Employment by Occupation
       B.      Population
               1.     Total Population
               2.     Educational Attainment
       C.      Geography
       D.      Workforce Development and Use
               1.     Workforce Investment Act (WIA)
               2.     QuickStart
               3.     Vocational Technical Colleges
               4.     Valdosta State University
               5.     Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC)
               6.     GMC Community College
               7.     Youth Apprenticeship
               8.     Tech Prep
       E.      Transportation Access
       F.      Resources
               1.     Joint Development Authorities
               2.     South Georgia Regional Development Center (SGRDC)
               3.     University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
               4.     Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute
               5.     Southwest Georgia Chamber
               6.     State of Georgia Regional Staff
               7.     Agriculture Center of Innovation
       G.      Environment
       H.      Other Pertinent Information
       I.      Strategic Findings from External Forces
               1.     Problems
               2.     Opportunities
       J.      Economic Development Investments
               1.     Past


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               2.   Present
               3.   Future
       K.      Economic Clusters

II.    PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS

III.   GOALS AND OBJECTIVES: DEFINING REGIONAL EXPECTATIONS

IV.    STRATEGIC PROJECTS, PROGRAMS, AND ACTIVITIES

       A.      Suggested Projects List
       B.      Vital Projects List

V.     PLAN OF ACTION

       A.      Tools for CEDS Implementation
               1.     Business Development Funds
               2.     Grants
       B.      Integrating CEDS with State of Georgia

VI.    PERFORMANCE MEASURES




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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                             Page 4


INTRODUCTION

The South Georgia Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) is designed to bring together
the public and private sectors in the creation of an economic roadmap to diversity and strengthen the
regional economy. The South Georgia CEDS will analyze the regional economy and serve as a guide for
established regional goals and objectives, a regional plan of action, and the investment priorities and
funding sources. The CEDS also identifies the lead organizations assigned responsibilities for its execution.
As a performance based plan, this CEDS will serve a critical role in the region’s efforts to defend against
economic dislocations due to global trade, competition and other events resulting in the loss of jobs and
private investment. This CEDS is the result of a continuing economic development planning process,
developed with broad based and diverse public and private sector participation.

The organization responsible for the development of this CEDS is the South Georgia Regional Development
Center. As a recipient of Planning Investment funds from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic
Development Administration (EDA), the RDC serves as a designated Economic Development District
(EDD). The purpose of EDA Planning Investments are to provide support to Planning Organizations for the
development, implementation, revision or replacement of a CEDS.

The CEDS Strategy Committee is responsible for developing, implementing, revising, or replacing the
CEDS with the assistance of South Georgia RDC staff. The Strategy Committee is also responsible for
outlining the methodology for cooperating and integrating the CEDS with a State’s economic priorities, and
incorporating relevant material from other government sponsored plans and ensuring consistency with
applicable State and local workforce investment strategies.

The Strategy Committee represents the main economic interests of the region, and includes Private Sector
Representatives as a majority of its membership. The Private Sector Representative is defined as an
individual from any for-profit enterprise, who is a senior management official or executive holding a key
decision making position in that organization. In addition, the Strategy Committee includes public officials,
community leaders, representatives from institutions of higher education, minority and labor groups, and
private individuals. With consent, the South Georgia Workforce Development Board serves as the South
Georgia Regional Development Center’s 2006 CEDS Strategy Committee.

Regional Development Center staff has inventoried and analyzed (1) economic base data such as
employment, earnings and weekly wages, (2) labor force data such as occupation, unemployment and
commuting patterns, (3) resource data such as agencies, programs, tools, education and training and (4)
development factors such as trends in existing businesses, etc. This inventory and analysis of the regions
economic base will be “where are we today” portion of the planning process for advisory committees and
the Board of Directors to use in developing the “where do we want to be” and “how are we going to get
there” portions of the process. The preliminary list of Regional needs, Issues, and Opportunities include the
following:

   •   Independent county and city economic development groups and authorities need to establish an
       “inter and intra” regional strategy, so local, regional, state, and international economic development
       organizations maintain on-going coordination and cooperation.
   •   Coordination and cooperation between local, regional and statewide economic development groups
       cannot exist without adequate communication technologies and there needs to be basic


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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                              Page 5


       communication equipment (computers, internet connection, tele-conferencing, GIS databases, etc.
       available at the local level and shared through multi-county/regional connections
   •   Marketing the availability of regional resources via geographic information systems and other multi-
       media techniques needs to be undertaken or continued
   •   Marketing the availability of local and state-wide programs and tools at the regional level to existing
       and prospective businesses needs to be enhanced.
   •   Capitalization for business and industry start-up and/or expansion is available on a limited basis and
       new fund sources need to be identified, obtained and made available throughout the region.
   •   Regionally significant existing industries need to be surveyed and/or studied to identify
       commonalities that might exist for recruitment of satellite businesses or industries.
   •   A closer working relationship needs to be developed between the Coastal Plain Experiment Station
       and NESPAL and regional economic developers to utilize the new technologies in business and
       industry recruitment.
   •   Recent trends in small business need to be examined carefully for potential economic development
       projects either as joint local/regional efforts or private sector efforts.
   •   “Established” and “planned economic activities” need to be studied for potential economic
       development, marketing or satellite expansion
   •   Each of the implementation activities identified in the nine local comprehensive plans should be
       examined and considered for economic development ideas and potential projects.
   •   Work force mobility impacts need to be understood, especially concerning employment declines in
       the manufacturing sector and the gains projected in retail and service sectors.
   •   Per capita income is low in relation to the state and the nation. High wage industries need to be
       targeted for recruitment. The trend toward less manufacturing jobs, and more service and retail jobs
       could be counter productive to improving the region’s per capita income.




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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

I. Analysis of the Regional Economy

This analysis of the regional economy paints a realistic picture of the current economic development
situation of the region with a discussion of the economy, population, geography, workforce development
and use, transportation access, resources, environment and other pertinent information. The analysis also
contains strategic findings that identify problems and opportunities posed by external forces affecting South
Georgia’s regional economy. The analysis also considers and identifies past, present and projected future
economic development investments in the region.

This part also contains a section that identifies and analyzes the economic clusters that are growing or in
decline within South Georgia region.

II. Public/Private Partnerships

This section discusses the community and private sector participation in the CEDS effort.

III. Goals and Objectives: Defining Regional Expectations

This section sets forth goals and objectives to be achieved by solving the economic problems of the region.
All strategic projects, programs and activities identified in the CEDS work to fulfill the Goals and
Objectives of the CEDS. The goals represent broad, primary regional expectations. Objectives of the
CEDS are more specific than goals, are clearly measurable, and are stated in realistic terms considering
what can be accomplished over the five year time horizon of the CEDS.

IV. Strategic Projects, Programs, and Activities

This section identifies regional projects, programs and activities designed to implement the Goals and
Objectives of the CEDS. This section should contains two separate lists. One is called a Suggested Projects
List (SPL). The SPL contains all suggested projects, programs and activities and the projected number of
jobs that are estimated to be created as a result. Each project within the SPL also is assigned a lead
organization that is responsible for execution of the CEDS. The other grouping is called a Vital Projects List
(VPL). The VPL contains a prioritization of vital projects, programs and activities that addresses the
region’s greatest needs. A project contained in the VPL could also be identified to enhance the region’s
competitiveness by identifying sources of funding for past and potential future investments.

V. Plan of Action

This section discusses the various methods that will be undertaken to implement the Goals and Objectives of
the CEDS. These methods will promote economic development and opportunity, fosters effective
transportation services, enhance and protect the environment, maximize effective development and of the
workforce consistent with any applicable State or local workforce investment strategy, promote the use of
technology in economic development including access to high-speed telecommunications, balance resources




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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                            Page 7


through sound management of physical development, and obtain and utilize adequate funds and other
resources.

This Plan of Action also contains a section that discusses the methodology for integrating the CEDS with
the State of Georgia’s economic priorities.

VI. Performance Measures

This section lists the performance measures that will be used to evaluate the South Georgia Regional
Development Center’s successful development and implementation of the CEDS. These performance
measures are: the number of jobs created after implementation of the CEDS, the number and types of
investments that will be undertaken in the region, the number of jobs retained in the region, the amount of
private sector investment in the region after implementation of the CEDS, the changes in the economic
environment of the region, and the diversification of the economy.




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I.     ANALYSIS OF REGIONAL ECONOMY

       A.      Overview

               Analysis proves that the barriers to economic prosperity in South Georgia are numerous.
               One of these barriers is the lack of funds available to fully serve the planning and economic
               development needs of the region. Planning grants, such as those offered by EDA, are
               essential for providing the tools needed to assist the South Georgia area in realizing its
               potential. The labor force is available and trainable. The natural resources are abundant and
               accessible. With the right financial stimulus, economic prosperity can be realized for not just
               Atlanta, but all of Georgia. Clearly, by any definition, the nine member South Georgia
               counties have experienced persistent economic distress and long-term population decline.
               South Georgia must find ways to reverse the past’s negative trends through economic
               development.

               In order to solve its economic development problems, the regional CEDS committee
               designed an economic development strategy. The goal of this strategy is:

               “To encourage industrial diversification and to create new job opportunities in order to
               increase per capital income of residents, reduce unemployment, and increase the tax base
               derived from economic activities.”

               In order to maximize the regions strengths and opportunities while diminishing the results of
               weaknesses and threats, the regional CEDS committee continually analyzes the CEDS
               through two avenues. The RDC Board meets monthly to discuss relevant events,
               accomplishments, and complications. A quarterly report of accomplishments is also
               generated by the RDC Board and regional CEDS committee that identify the goals,
               objectives, and implementation strategies utilized to accomplish each objective. These
               quarterly reports and compiled into an annual report of accomplishments. These tools
               provide benchmarks by which area officials, economic development stakeholders, and the
               community can measure performance.

               1.     Commuting Patterns are reviewed to examine where people work and its influence
               on employment patterns. Workers commute when they leave their homes county to work in
               another county. In 2000, 21.8 percent of workers in the South Georgia region left their home
               counties to work in another county. Table 1 breaks down the South Georgia region by county
               and compares it with the State of Georgia. Lowndes County exports the lowest percentage of
               workers (8.6 percent) and Echols County exports the highest percentage of workers (85
               percent). Lowndes also had the lowest increase of commuting while Echols experienced the
               highest from 1970 to 2000. This is most likely due to the rapid development of the Valdosta
               metropolitan region.


               Table 2 shows the destinations of all workers from each county in the South Georgia region.
               Lowndes County has the largest number of workers who leave the county for work.
               However, as stated before, Lowndes County exports the lowest percentage of its workers.



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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                           Page 9




                       Table 1: Percent Commuting State and Counties 1970-2000
                                                                              % Increase
                             1970         1980         1990         2000       Since 1970
           State               25.3              29.7            37.9            41.5   16.2
           Ben Hill             9.4               9.2            14.2            21.4   12.0
           Brooks              18.8              31.6            40.8            51.5   32.7
           Cook                17.0              22.7            32.4            40.2   23.2
           Echols              45.7              57.4            83.5            85.0   39.3
           Irwin               21.9              34.6            47.6            56.6   34.7
           Lanier              43.1              45.2            50.7            65.3   22.2
           Lowndes              4.4               7.1             9.1             8.6    4.2
           Tift                 5.5               6.3            10.6            15.5   10.0
           Turner              11.4              12.2            32.0            38.3   26.9
                                      Regional Percentage for 2000= 21.8 percent
                                            Source: US Census Bureau 2000




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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                               Page 10


                                      Table 2: South Georgia Place of Work Destinations

BEN HILL                               BROOKS                      COOK

Ben Hill          5,660                Brooks           3,284      Cook        3,955
Atkinson          23                   Leon, FL         61         Colquitt    98
Coffee            233                  Madison, FL      53         Brooks      38
Crisp             26                   Colquitt         145        Berrien     467
Irwin             584                  Cook             112        Ben Hill    14
Dougherty         18                   Lowndes          2,490      Atkinson    20
Pierce            19                   Thomas           443        Dougherty   72
Pulaski           30                   Tift             15         Lowndes     1,004
Tift              187                  Elsewhere        163        Tift        718
Turner            57                                               Lanier      26
Ware              26                                               Thomas      13
Wilcox            58                                               Elsewhere   187
Elsewhere         262

ECHOLS                                 IRWIN                       LANIER
Echols             249                 Irwin            1,744      Lowndes        1,257
Lowndes           1,203                Atkinson            10      Atkinson           73
Hamilton,Fl         82                 Ben Hill         1,079      Berrien           262
Madison,FL          10                 Berrien             43      Clinch            128
Clinch               35                Coffee             202      Coffee              26
Lanier              30                 Dougherty            26     Cook                34
Thomas              13                 Tift               750      Dougherty          19
Tift                  8                Turner              24      Tift               47
Elsewhere            39                Elsewhere           151     Lanier          1,036
                                                                   Elsewhere           86


LOWNDES                    TIFT                                    TURNER

Lowndes      37,756        Tift                14,291              Turner         2,370
Duval,FL     65            Atkinson            35                  Ben Hill       117
Hamilton,FL 153            Ben Hill            188                 Crisp          281
Madison,FL 80              Berrien             171                 Dooly          31
Berrien     296            Coffee              70                  Dougherty      143
Brooks      481            Colquitt            159                 Irwin          68
Clinch      104            Cook                242                 Tift           677
Coffee      48             Crisp               57                  Wilcox         14
Colquitt   190             Dougherty           420                 Worth          36
Cook        539            Irwin               229                 Elsewhere      105
Dougherty 59               Lowndes             104
Echols      47             Elsewhere           425
Lanier      255
Thomas     128
Tift       310
Elsewhere 749

Source: 2000 U. S Bureau of Census.




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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                                             Page 13




                 2.     Unemployment rates are reviewed to determine trends in the region compared with
                 others. Table 3 presents the percent unemployment rate for the nation, state, adjacent
                 regions, and South Georgia area counties. Counties in the region generally tend to follow
                 near the state and national trend. The South Georgia region’s unemployment rate as a whole
                 followed state and national trends of increasing and decreasing unemployment fairly well as
                 well. As 3 shows, the state and the South Georgia region rates have been on a fairly steady
                 decline since 1990 and at almost all the time below the national rate. In 1990 Georgia's
                 unemployment rate was 5.5 percent while the region was slightly higher at 5.8 percent. In
                 2004 Georgia's unemployment rate was 5.5 percent while the region was slightly lower at 3.3
                 percent.

                 When compared to the adjacent regions, South Georgia has historically maintained a lower
                 unemployment rate than the others. By all unemployment indicators the South Georgia area
                 offers better employment opportunities than its neighbors and as good as the state. However,
                 there are places in the region, such as Turner County, which have had historically high
                 unemployment rates.

                 Overall, South Georgians are able to avoid unemployment more easily than the surrounding
                 regions, the state and the nation. However, the next sections will look at South Georgia’s per
                 capita income and wages.

                                       Table 3: Unemployment Rate Comparisons
                 1990   1991   1992     1993   1994   1995   1996   1997    1998    1999    2000   2001    2002     2003   2004
    Nation       5.6%   6.8%   7.5%     6.9%   6.1%   5.6%   5.4%   4.9%    4.5%    4.2%    4.0%   5.4%    5.7%     6.0%   5.5%
    Georgia      5.5%   5.0%   7.0%     5.8%   5.2%   4.9%   4.6%   4.5%    4.2%    4.0%    3.7%   4.0%    5.1%     4.5%   4.2%
   South GA      5.8%   4.8%   6.7%     6.3%   5.1%   4.7%   4.7%   5.1%    5.0%    5.1%    5.5%   4.6%    4.3%     3.4%   3.3%
   Southeast     6.3%   5.5%   8.0%     6.9%   5.8%   6.1%   6.5%   6.0%    4.3%    5.3%    5.4%   5.3%    5.1%     5.1%   4.2%
   Southwest     6.1%   5.7%   8.8%     7.8%   7.6%   6.0%   5.8%   6.3%    6.8%    6.9%    6.0%   5.5%    5.5%     4.6%   4.5%
  Middle Flint   8.2%   7.2%   10.1%    8.4%   7.7%   7.6%   7.7%   8.9%    7.4%    6.4%    6.0%   6.3%    6.6%     6.3%   5.3%
  Heart of GA    6.7%   5.9%   8.6%     7.6%   6.9%   6.7%   7.4%   7.0%    7.6%    7.7%    7.0%   6.4%    6.6%     5.5%   5.0%


    Ben Hill     6.4%   5.5%    7%      7.3%   6.2%   5.2%   6.4%   6.8%    6.1%    6.4%    6.2%   5.6%    5.9%     5.5%   4.0%
    Brooks       3.8%   3.3%   4.9%     4.5%   3.8%   3.9%   3.9%   5.3%    6.0%    4.5%    5.7%   5.1%    4.8%     2.4%   2.7%
     Cook        6.5%   7.1%   7.5%     6.9%   4.9%   3.6%   3.9%   5.2%    4.8%    5.0%    5.1%   5.0%    4.3%     4.1%   4.8%
    Echols       5.0%   3.5%   5.5%     7.4%   5.5%   3.6%   3.2%   3.6%    3.9%    4.4%    4.7%   3.7%    2.9%     2.1%   2.1%
     Irwin       5.9%   4.7%   5.9%     6.0%   4.8%   4.5%   4.9%   5.7%    5.3%    4.7%    5.7%   5.6%    5.5%     4.7%   3.3%
    Lanier       4.8%   4.1%   5.6%     5.3%   3.7%   4.0%   5.3%   3.5%    2.9%    4.1%    5.7%   3.9%    3.8%     2.4%   2.3%
   Lowndes       4.8%   3.9%   6.2%     5.4%   4.4%   3.9%   3.7%   4.0%    4.0%    4.4%    5.6%   3.7%    3.5%     2.8%   2.7%
      Tift       7.4%   5.6%   7.5%     7.4%   6.0%   5.8%   5.5%   5.7%    5.6%    4.9%    4.6%   4.4%    3.9%     3.1%   3.6%
    Turner       7.9%   5.3%   8.8%     7.5%   6.6%   7.2%   7.3%   11.1%   12.1%   10.1%   8.8%   8.5%    8.7%     7.3%   5.5%


                  Source: Georgia Department of Labor and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics




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                                                     Figure 1: Unemployment Rate Region
                                                                 Comparisons




                               Unemployment Rate
                                                   12.00%
                                                   10.00%
                                                    8.00%                                                           South GA
                                                    6.00%
                                                                                                                    Southeast
                                                    4.00%
                                                    2.00%                                                           Southwest
                                                    0.00%                                                           Middle Flint
                                                                                                                    Heart of GA
                                                         90

                                                         93

                                                         96

                                                         99

                                                         02
                                                      19

                                                      19

                                                      19

                                                      19

                                                      20
                                                                                 Year


                Source: Georgia Department of Labor and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics



                                                                   Figure 2: Unemployment
                                                                     Nation/State/Region
                               Unemployment Rate




                                                   8.00%
                                                   6.00%                                                             Nation
                                                   4.00%                                                             Georgia

                                                   2.00%                                                             South GA

                                                   0.00%
                                                            1990
                                                                   1992
                                                                          1994
                                                                                 1996
                                                                                        1998
                                                                                               2000
                                                                                                      2002
                                                                                                             2004




                                                                                  Year


                Source: Georgia Department of Labor and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics




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                        3.     Per Capita Income has risen steadily since 1980 for all South Georgia counties.
                        However, it remains lower than the state per capita income. Table 4 shows that this trend is
                        projected to remain the case up unto the year 2030.

                        Table 5 takes the per capita incomes for 1980 and 2005 and adjusts them to inflation to show
                        the real increase of per capita income projected until 2030. While the real per capita income
                        has increased for all counties, the real per capita income is not expected to increase past the
                        state’s per capita income if trends remain the same. The real increase in per capita income
                        percent increase was less for some counties than the State of Georgia, while some counties
                        exceeded the percent increase of the State of Georgia. On average, South Georgia’s counties
                        had a per capita increase of 80 percent. This is almost the per capita income increase for the
                        State of Georgia. The regional average per capita income for 2005 was $17,262.

                                             Table 4: Per Capita Income Comparisons
                  1980         1985       1990       1995      2000        2005         2010       2015       2020      2025       2030

   State              $6,708   $10,320    $13,631    $17,543   $21,154        $24,766   $28,377     $31,989   $35,600    $39,212   $42,823
    Tift              $5,236    $7,924    $10,612    $13,723   $16,833        $19,732   $22,632     $25,531   $28,430    $31,329   $34,229
 Lowndes              $5,510    $8,215    $10,919    $13,801   $16,683        $19,476   $22,270     $25,063   $27,856    $30,649   $33,443
  Ben Hill            $5,052    $7,176     $9,300    $11,697   $14,093        $16,353   $18,614     $20,874   $23,134    $25,394   $27,655
  Brooks              $4,131    $6,327     $8,522    $11,250   $13,977        $16,439   $18,900     $21,362   $23,823    $26,285   $28,746
  Lanier              $4,063    $6,191     $8,319    $11,005   $13,690        $16,097   $18,504     $20,910   $23,317    $25,724   $28,131
   Cook               $4,772    $6,821     $8,870    $11,168   $13,465        $15,638   $17,812     $19,985   $22,158    $24,331   $26,505
   Irwin              $4,804    $7,431    $10,057    $12,462   $14,867        $17,383   $19,899     $22,414   $24,930    $27,446   $29,962
  Turner              $4,682    $6,318     $7,953    $10,704   $13,454        $15,647   $17,840     $20,033   $22,226    $24,419   $26,612
  Echols              $4,273    $6,594     $8,915    $12,321   $15,727        $18,591   $21,454     $24,318   $27,181    $30,045   $32,908
                                Source: Georgia Department of Community Affairs data views
                                   (http://www.georgiaplanning.com/dataviews/census2/)

                                         Table 5: Real Per Capita Income (in 2005 dollars)
                                            1980                       2005               # Change 1980-2006         % Change 1980-2005

              State                        $13,717                    $24,766                     $11,049                   81%
               Tift                        $10,707                    $19,732                     $9,025                    84%
             Lowndes                       $11,267                    $19,476                     $8,209                    73%
             Ben Hill                      $10,330                    $16,353                     $6,023                    58%
             Brooks                        $8,447                     $16,439                     $7,992                    95%
              Lanier                       $8,308                     $16,097                     $7,789                    94%
              Cook                         $9.758                     $15,638                     $5,880                    60%
              Irwin                        $9,823                     $17,383                     $7,560                    77%
             Turner                        $9,574                     $15,647                     $6,073                    63%
             Echols                        $8,737                     $18,591                     $9,854                   113%
                                Source: Georgia Department of Community Affairs data views
                                   (http://www.georgiaplanning.com/dataviews/census2/)




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               4.     Average Weekly Wage. As shown in Table 6 and Figure 3, counties in the South
               Georgia region lags behind the State of Georgia and the United States in average weekly
               wages. Table 7 shows the average weekly wages for various economic sectors and compares
               the counties in South Georgia and the region to the State of Georgia. Wages are lower in
               every sector in the region than the State of Georgia.

               Part of this discrepancy of wages may be due to a lower cost of living. However, this trend
               may also be an indicator of underemployment. While unemployment may be low in South
               Georgia, meaning that residents are able to find jobs, they may be unable to find jobs that pay
               the wages they need or are used to if they lost a higher paying job.

                                         Table 6: 2004 Average Weekly Wage
                                            Ben Hill                514
                                             Brooks                 445
                                              Cook                  407
                                             Echols                 313
                                              Irwin                 444
                                             Lanier                 442
                                            Lowndes                 482
                                               Tift                 510
                                             Turner                 404
                                               State                728
                                             Nation                 757
                                       Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2006



                                       Figure 3: 2004 Average Weekly Wage

                                 800
                                 700
                   Weekly Wage




                                 600
                                 500
                                 400                                                  Dollars
                                 300
                                 200
                                 100
                                   0
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                                                         Area

                                       Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2006




                                                                                                           16
South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                                    Page 17




                                  Table 7: 2001 Average Weekly Wage by Economic Sector.
                          Ben Hill Brooks Cook Echols Irwin Lanier Lowndes          Tift Turner Region State
     All Industries        $476      $386   $365    $275   $415   $411     $456    $478   $379     $405    $676
     Agri, Forestry,
     Fishing                426      290     228    235    299    360       258     199   479      308     417
     Mining                 NA        NA     NA     NA      NA    NA        NA      NA     NA      NA      876
     Construction           437      369     298    NA     522    330       520     502   416      424     687
     Manufacturing          574      419     512    NA     403    NA        588     515   374      484     711
     Transportation,
     Comm, Utilities        460       NA     365    NA     331    NA        586     559    NA      460     808
     Wholesale              525      548     461    NA     422    NA        554     533   434      497     1,022
     Retail                 300      328     326    236    292    316       345     362   291      311     433
     Financial,
     Insurance,
     Real Estate            569      583     618    NA     658    575       638     599   541      598     1,051
     Services               363      381     331    229    380    393       408     463   318      363     680
     Federal Gov            621      570     718    461    548    551       596     814   613      610     893
     State Gov              533      520     432    457    496    502       439     511   465      483     605
     Local Gov              437      415     400    NA     457    451       517     533   544      469     571
                                        Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

                   5.      Employment by OccupationIn 2000, Professionals and Technical Specialty groups
                   employed the largest percentage at 16 percent, which is less than the state (19.0 percent) and
                   the nation (20.8 percent). This employment group is the highest occupation group for the
                   state, nation and all regions except Southeast. This can be easily recognized on the Figure 4
                   where the lead bar exceeds all others except the aforementioned. The second largest
                   occupation is a close group of Clerical (14.2%), Service Occupations (12.8%) and Precision
                   Production, Craft and Repair (12.3%) This occupation grouping is somewhat consistent with
                   the state and the nation. However, Service Occupations is the third largest employment sector
                   classification in the region, while it ranks fourth in the State. While South Georgia has a
                   higher percentage of workers in Sales than other regions, the State and the Nation, it also has
                   a higher percentage of service occupations than surrounding regions, the State, and the
                   Nation. The significance of this is that higher level of service jobs is possibly indicative of an
                   increasingly service-oriented economy for the region and that this high percentage of the
                   Service Occupations classification could be partly responsible for influencing the lower
                   wages in the region.

                   The Machine Operators, Assemblers classification is sixth for the region (11.7) as well as the
                   state (11.0%). It is interesting to note that the top six aforementioned occupational categories
                   are the top six for all regions even though ranks of the six differ in each region. The state
                   differs from the region’s top six in that the Administrative and Management classification
                   (which is seventh for each of the regions) is ranked third in the state. Please see Table 8 for
                   more information and Figure 4 for a graphical representation.




                                                                                                                   17
South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                                                                          Page 18




        Table 8: Regional Comparisons Occupation of Residents Percent of Employed Persons for 2000
                                       South           Southeast             Southwest               Mid Flint           Heart of GA    State    Nation

Exe. Adm. & Managerial                  9.9%              8.7%                  11.0%                 10.1%                  9.1%       14.3%    13.8%
Professional/Technical Specialty       16.0%             13.0%                  17.1%                 17.5%                 15.8%       19.0%    20.8%
Sales                                  12.0%             10.5%                  11.1%                  9.7%                  9.2%       11.9%    11.6%
Clerical & Admin. Support              14.2%             13.7%                  14.1%                 13.4%                 13.3%       15.4%    15.9%
Service Occupations                    12.8%             11.8%                  12.4%                 11.2%                 11.6%       11.7%    12.4%
Farming, Fishing, Forestry              2.1%              3.1%                   2.4%                  2.7%                  3.3%       0.7%     0.8%
Precision Prod., Craft & Repair        12.3%             14.5%                  12.5%                 13.9%                 14.6%       9.2%     8.7%
Machine Operators, Assemblers          11.7%             14.3%                  11.1%                 12.1%                 14.2%       11.0%    9.7%
Transportation & Material Moving        9.1%             10.5%                   8.3%                  9.4%                  9.0%       6.8%     6.3%
                                   Source: U. S. Bureau of Census 2000. Analysis: South Georgia Regional Development Center, 2003.




                                                                                                                                                     18
South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                                               Page 19



                                               Figure 4: South Georgia Area
                                                         Regional Comparisons



                25.0%




                20.0%




                                                                                                     Exe. Adm. &
                                                                                                     Managerial
                                                                                                     Professional/Technical
                                                                                                     Specialty
                15.0%                                                                                Sales

                                                                                                     Clerical & Admin.
                                                                                                     Support
                                                                                                     Service Occupations

                                                                                                     Farming, Fishing,
                                                                                                     Forestry
                                                                                                     Precision Prod., Craft &
                                                                                                     Repair
                10.0%
                                                                                                     Machine Operators,
                                                                                                     Assemblers
                                                                                                     Transportation &
                                                                                                     Material Moving




                 5.0%




                 0.0%
                        South   Southeast    Southwest    Mid Flint   Heart of GA   State   Nation


                                            Source: US Bureau of the Census

               Table 9 shows the county comparisons for the percentages of residents who are in each
               occupational category. Professional & Technical Specialty occupations were the largest
               group for four counties and second largest for three other counties. The percentages ranged
               from 17.9 percent in Lowndes to 15.8 percent in Turner. Precision production & Repair
               ranks first in three counties: Ben Hill-21.9 percent; Cook-17.3 percent; and Berrien-15.7
               percent. This occupational group ranks eighth in Lowndes with 8.5 percent and third in Tift


                                                                                                                                19
South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                                                                                Page 20


                         at 11.6 percent. The Service occupations are the fifth largest group in six counties, sixth in
                         one county, fourth in two counties and third in one county. They range in percentages from
                         15 percent in Lowndes to 10.2 percent in Echols. Ben Hill is at 11.3 percent; Berrien at 10.8
                         percent; Brooks at 12 percent; Cook at 11.6 percent; Irwin at 11.4 percent; Lanier at 12.6
                         percent; Tift at 11.9 percent; and Turner at 10.8 percent. Rankings of occupational groups
                         vary greatly from county to county with Ben Hill, Brooks, Cook, and Irwin counties sharing
                         the same top four and even they differ in the top four rankings. Please see Figure 5 for a
                         graphical representation of this data.

                    Table 9: 2000 County Comparisons Occupation of Residents Percent of Employed Persons
                Category                    Ben Hill Berrien        Brooks      Cook      Echols        Irwin   Lanier   Lowndes    Tift    Turner   Region    %
Exe. Adm. & Managerial                         656        625         604        680        123         434      327      3766     1767      338     9320     9.9%
Prof. & Tech. Specialty                       1042       1005        1037        867        124         537      333      6824     2745      595     15109    16%
Sales                                          592        830         689        710        192         342      223      5356     1941      426     11301    12.0%
Clerical                                       849        959         861        864        188         642      384      5931     2240      530     13448    14.2%
Service                                        747        770         780        764        173         455      364      5714     1949      408     12124    12.8%
Farming, Fishing, Forestry                     107        158         184        132        339          97      78        231      524      108     1958     2.1%
Precision Prod. & Repair                      1592       1125         811       1141        146         595      394      3240     1967      563     11574    12.3%
Mach. Operators, Assemblers                    916        925         889        788        274         479      485      4059     1906      359     11080    11.7%
Trans.& Material Moving                        773        751         640        639        137         416      311      3036     1404      449     8556     9.1%
Total All Occupations                         7274       7148        6495       6585       1696         3997    2899      38157    16443    3776     94470    100.0%


                                                                 Percentage Comparisons
                Category                    Ben Hill Berrien        Brooks      Cook      Echols        Irwin   Lanier   Lowndes    Tift    Turner   Region
Exe. Adm. & Managerial                        9.0%       8.7%          9.3%      10.3%           7.3%   10.9%    11.3%      9.9%    10.7%     9.0% 9.9%
Prof. & Tech. Specialty                      14.3%       14.1%        16.0%      13.2%           7.3%   13.4%    11.5%     17.9%    16.7%    15.8% 16.0%
Sales                                         8.1%       11.6%        10.6%      10.8%      11.3%        8.6%     7.7%     14.0%    11.8%    11.3% 12.0%
Clerical                                     11.7%       13.4%        13.3%      13.1%      11.1%       16.1%    13.2%     15.5%    13.6%    14.0% 14.2%
Service                                      10.3%       10.8%        12.0%      11.6%      10.2%       11.4%    12.6%     15.0%    11.9%    10.8% 12.8%
Farming, Fishing, Forestry                    1.5%       2.2%          2.8%       2.0%      20.0%        2.4%     2.7%      0.6%     3.2%     2.9% 2.1%
Precision Prod. & Repair                     21.9%       15.7%        12.5%      17.3%           8.6%   14.9%    13.6%      8.5%    12.0%    14.9% 12.3%
Mach. Operators, Assemblers                  12.6%       12.9%        13.7%      12.0%      16.2%       12.0%    16.7%     10.6%    11.6%     9.5% 11.7%
Trans.& Material Moving                      10.6%       10.5%         9.9%       9.7%           8.1%   10.4%    10.7%      8.0%     8.5%    11.9% 9.1%
Total All Occupations                       100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%                              100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Source: U. S. Bureau of Census 2000. Analysis: South Georgia Regional Development Center 2003.



                         6.     Trends in Employment. As a percentage of the work force, more south Georgians
                         are employed in manufacturing than any other employment sector. South Georgia (24%) and
                         each of the adjacent regions (23-29%) have a higher percentage of persons in manufacturing
                         than the state (20%) or the nation (18%). The professional and technical specialty industry
                         which employs the largest percentage for the state and nation (19% and 21% respectively) is
                         the second largest in south Georgia at 16 percent and is followed by clerical at 14 percent.
                         The South Georgia region is compatible with adjacent regions, state and nation, with
                         manufacturing, professional and technical specialty, service, and clerical being the key
                         employment sectors. In South Georgia these sectors account for 68 percent of the area's
                         employment. This compares to a high of 70 percent in Heart of Georgia and a low of 67% in
                         Southeast. All of the other employment sectors are compatible.



                                                                                                                                                                   20
South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                                                      Page 21




                                       Figure 5: South Georgia Area
                                                           County Comparisons


             25.0%




             20.0%




                                                                                                           Exe. Adm. &
                                                                                                           Managerial
                                                                                                           Prof. & Tech.
             15.0%                                                                                         Specialty
                                                                                                           Sales


                                                                                                           Clerical


                                                                                                           Service
             10.0%
                                                                                                           Farming, Fishing,
                                                                                                           Forestry
                                                                                                           Precision Prod. &
                                                                                                           Repair
                                                                                                           Mach. Operators,
                                                                                                           Assemblers
              5.0%
                                                                                                           Trans.& Material
                                                                                                           Moving




              0.0%
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                                  en




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                                                                                                                               21
South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                                             Page 22




             Table 10: Regional Comparisons % of Total Employment By Economic Sector for 2000
                   Category            South   Southeast      Southwest         Mid Flint   Heart of GA    State    Nation
                                      100.0%     100.0%         100.0%          100.0%        100.0%       100.0%   100.0%
  Exe. Adm. & Managerial               9.9%       8.7%          11.0%            10.1%         9.1%        14.3%    13.8%
  Professional & Tech. Specialty       16.0%     13.0%          17.1%            17.5%        15.8%        19.0%    20.8%
  Sales                                12.0%     10.5%          11.1%            9.7%          9.2%        11.9%    11.6%
  Clerical                             14.2%     13.7%          14.1%            13.4%        13.3%        15.4%    15.9%
  Service                              12.8%     11.8%          12.4%            11.2%        11.6%        11.7%    12.4%
  Farming, Fishing, Forestry           2.1%       3.1%           2.4%            2.7%          3.3%         0.7%    0.8%
  Precision Prod. & Repair             12.3%     14.5%          12.5%            13.9%        14.6%         9.2%    8.7%
  Mach. Operators, & Assemblers        11.7%     14.3%          11.1%            12.1%        14.2%        11.0%    9.7%
  Transp. & Material Moving            9.1%      10.5%           8.3%            9.4%          9.0%         6.8%    6.3%
                                         Source: U. S. Bureau of Census 2000.




                                                                                                                             22
South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                             Page 23




       B.      Population
               An understanding of the nine-county South Georgia regional past and future population
               changes, characteristics, and spatial distribution provides insights for economic development
               and triggers the provision of utilities, streets, schools, housing, public safety, emergency
               services, recreation and other public services and facilities. The counties and cities of the
               South Georgia Region have prepared and adopted local comprehensive plans, which included
               demographic analysis and projections. Two items addressed in this section include: total
               population and educational attainment. (note: data listed in each table listed by county
               includes all cities)

               Various methods have been used to predict population changes. Most of them take a known
               base year population and apply formulas representing assumptions about rates of change to
               the base year number. Usually the most current U.S. census count, taken nationwide every
               ten years, is used as the base year population. Generally, the larger the study area, the more
               reliable the forecasts will be. This is true because unpredictable changes over a broad area
               tend to counterbalance each other.




                                                                                                          23
South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                                                                                         Page 24




                             TABLE 11: 1980 - 2025 TOTAL POPULATION FOR REGIONS
                                                                                                                                                # Change       % Change
                       1980                 1990                 2000                 2010                 2020                 2025            1980-2025      1980-2025
  Nation          227,226,000 249,464,000 282,125,000 310,519,000 341,658,000 358,301,000 131,075,000                                                            57.7%
  State               5,484,440            6,506,530            8,229,820            9,349,660          10,550,700           11,185,100            5,700,100    103.9%
  SGRDC                  185,979              195,717              227,421              232,085              255,122              267,460            81,481      43.8%
  SWRDC                  321,799              320,499              353,396              376,313              402,262              416,459            94,660      29.4%
  SERDC                  114,397              120,132              138,365              169,440              185,308              194,084            79,687      69.7%
  HGRDC                  111,386              120,615              273,287              289,220              307,631              317,700           206,314     185.2%
  MFRDC                   92,846               92,402              102,977              106,867              111,685              114,462            21,616      23.3%




                                     POPULATION CHANGE PER TEN YEAR INTERVALS

                   # Change             % Change             # Change             % Change             # Change             % Change             # Change      % Change
                  1980-1990            1980-1990             1990-2000            1990-2000            2000-2010            2000-2010            2010-2020 2010-2020
  Nation            22,238,000              9.8%              32,661,000             13.1%              28,394,000             10.1%              31,139,000     10.0%
  State               1,022,090            18.6%                1,723,290            26.5%                1,119,840            13.6%               1,201,040     12.8%
  SGRDC                     9,738           5.2%                     31,704          16.2%                      4,664           2.1%                 23,037      9.9%
  SWRDC                    -1,300          -0.4%                    32,897           10.3%                     22,917           6.5%                 25,949      6.9%
  SERDC                     5,735           5.0%                    17,750           14.7%                     31,075          22.5%                 15,868      9.4%
  HGRDC                     9,229           8.3%                   152,672          126.6%                     15,933           5.8%                 18,411      6.4%
  MFRDC                       -444         -0.5%                    10,575           11.4%                      3,890           3.8%                   4,818     4.5%


  Source: Woods & Poole Economics, Inc. and South Georgia Regional Development Center, 2006.



  NOTE: SGRDC (South Georgia Regional Development Center) includes ten counties: Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier,
  Lowndes, Tift, and Turner. After 2000, Berrien in SERDC.

  SWRDC (Southwest Regional Development Center) includes fourteen counties: Baker, Calhoun, Colquitt, Decatur, Dougherty, Early Grady,
  Lee, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas, and Worth.
  SERDC (Southeast Regional Development Center) included eight counties in 1980-2000, and nine counties after 2000 with Berrien added;
  Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Charlton, Clinch Coffee, Pierce, and Ware.

  HGRDC (Heart of Georgia-Altamaha Regional Development Center) included eight counties in 1990: Bleckley, Dodge, Laurens, Montgomery,
  Pulaski, Telfair, Treutlen, Wheeler, and Wilcox. In 2000, Pulaski was in another region and nine counties were added- Appling, Chandler,
  Emanuel, Evans, Jeff Davis, Johnson, Tattnall, Toombs, & Wayne.

  MFRDC (Middle Flint Regional Development Center) includes eight counties: Crisp, Dooly, Macon, Marion, Schley, Sumter, Taylor, and Webster.




                                                                                                                                                                           24
South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                   Page 25


                                        Figure 6:
                  1980 - 2025 PERCENT POPULATION CHANGE FOR REGIONS




     200.0%




     180.0%




     160.0%




     140.0%




     120.0%




     100.0%




      80.0%




      60.0%




      40.0%




      20.0%




       0.0%
                Nation        State       SGRDC        SWRDC    SERDC   HGRDC   MFRDC




                                                                                          25
South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                              Page 26




               The overall percent change of population from 1980 to 2025 is clearly shown on Figure Six.
               The ranking order of percent change is Heart of Georgia Regional Development Center, State
               (Georgia), Southeast Regional Development Center, Nation, South Georgia Regional
               Development Center, Southwest Regional Development Center, and Middle Flint Regional
               Development Center. Among the various reasons for differences between the regional
               development center regions was their ability to adapt from an agrarian to an industrial/service
               economic base. Twenty-eight of the 48 counties in the five regional development center
               regions had larger populations in 1940 than they had by 2000. Based upon past trends, 22 of
               these 28 counties will not recover their 1940 population base during the 1990 to 2025 period.
               The relatively small total population in 1980, in part can explain the high percentage increase
               for the Southeastern Regional Development Center; and the addition of one county in 2003;
               and the fact that the forestry economic base has expanded while row crop farming played a
               minor role in their economic base.

               1. Total Population. Between 1940 and 2000, the ten counties comprising the South
               Georgia Region, gained a total of 82,276 persons, a 56.7% increase in total population.
               During this sixty-year period two counties, Lowndes and Tift, became the growth centers
               and increased by 80,530 persons, while the balance of the region increased by 1,746
               persons. Three Counties namely, Brooks, Irwin, and Turner did not regain their 1940 total
               population by 2000. Ben Hill, Berrien, Cook, Echols, Lanier, Lowndes and Tift Counties
               increased their total populations between 1940 and 2000, and 97.8% of the population gain
               resides in Lowndes and Tift Counties. Subsequent analysis will provide insight into the
               reasons for these population changes.

               Table 12: 1980 - 2025 South Georgia Region Population summarizes the more recent trends
               in population and the forecasts for the future. Each individual county and city prepared a
               local comprehensive plan and each unit of government has approved their forecasts and
               methodologies. Figure Seven: County Population Change From 1980 to 2025 illustrates that
               Lowndes and Tift Counties will continue to be the growth centers of the South Georgia
               Region. The South Georgia Region is projected to gain 40,039 persons (17.6%) from 2000
               to 2025. This projection was arrived by using the population and economic projections
               provided by Woods & Poole, Inc.

               The mapped location of the 2000 total populations and density of persons per square mile is
               shown on Maps 3 and 4, respectively. The population density in Map 4 depicts the
               concentration of population along the Interstate 75 corridor, the major urban areas, and the
               very low-density areas (0 - 24 persons per square mile) along the eastern, northern, and
               southwestern quadrants of the South Georgia Region.




                                                                                                           26
South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy   Page 27




                                                                          27
South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy   Page 28




                                                                          28
South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                                                                                      Page 29




     TABLE 12: 1980 - 2025 SOUTH GEORGIA REGION POPULATION
              County                   1980               1990              2000              2005              2010               2015    2020         2025

     Ben Hill                         16,049            16,215            17,495             18,294            19,041            19,933   20,800       21,732

     Berrien                          13,570            14,163            16,245

     Brooks                           15,252            15,374            16,461             16,638            16,764            16,996   17,292       17,524

     Cook                             13,503            13,457            15,782             16,281            16,756            17,339   17,923       18,551

     Echols                            2,284             2,351             3,756              3,918             4,077             4,237    4,396        4,580

     Irwin                             8,961             8,626             9,937             10,586            11,302            11,969   12,715       13,512

     Lanier                            5,656             5,534             7,246              7,527             7,826             8,155    8,466        8,811

     Lowndes                          68,167            76,268            92,553             98,513           104,596           110,999   117,613      124,516

     Tift                             33,038            35,036            38,436             40,173            41,996            43,949   45,979       48,106

     Turner                            9,499             8,693             9,510              9,584             9,727             9,784    9,938       10,128

                                     101,205           111,304           130,989            138,686           146,592           154,948   163,592      172,622
     Growth Centers
                                      84,774            84,413            96,432             82,828            85,493            88,413   91,530       94,838
     Balance of Region

     Region                          185,979           195,717           227,421            221,514           232,085           243,361   255,122      267,460

     State                          5,457,566 6,478,216 8,186,453 8,784,650 9,349,660 9,940,380 10,550,700 11,185,100
     Nation                        224,810,192 248,032,624 281,421,920 296,135,000 310,519,000 325,658,000 341,658,000 358,301,000


     Source: Woods & Poole Economics, Inc., 2002; U. S. Bureau of Census, 1940.

     Analysis: South Georgia Regional Development Center, 2003.

     NOTE: "Growth Centers" - Lowndes and Tift Counties.

     Balance of Region" - Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier and Turner Counties. After 2000 Berrien not in Region.




                                                                                                                                                                 29
South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                                                                                          Page 30




                                                                   TABLE 12 Cont.
                                                        NUMERICAL AND PERCENTAGE ANALYSIS
                                 # Change               % Change            # Change          % Change             # Change           % Change      # Change     % Change
                                 1980-1990              1980-1990           1990-2000         1990-2000            2000-2010          2000-2010     2010-2025    2010-2025
 Ben Hill                             166                  1.0%                1,280              7.9%                 1,546             8.8%         2,691       14.1%
 Berrien                              593                  4.4%                2,082             14.7%
 Brooks                               122                  0.8%                1,087              7.1%                  303              1.8%          760         4.5%
 Cook                                 -46                 -0.3%                2,325             17.3%                  974              6.2%         1,795       10.7%
 Echols                               67                   2.9%                1,405             59.8%                  321              8.5%          503        12.3%
 Irwin                               -335                 -3.7%                1,311             15.2%                 1,365            13.7%         2,210       19.6%
 Lanier                              -122                 -2.2%                1,712             30.9%                  580              8.0%          985        12.6%
 Lowndes                             8,101                11.9%               16,285             21.4%                12,043            13.0%        19,920       19.0%
 Tift                                1,998                 6.0%                3,400              9.7%                 3,560             9.3%         6,110       14.5%
 Turner                              -806                 -8.5%                 817               9.4%                  217              2.3%          401         4.1%
 Growth Centers                     10,099                56.9%               19,685             57.6%                15,603            63.2%        26,030       64.5%
 Balance of Region                   -361                 43.1%               12019              42.4%                -10,939           36.8%         9,345       35.5%
 Region                             9,738                  5.2%               31,704            16.20%                4,664              2.1%         35,375      15.2%
 State                            1,020,650               18.7%             1,708,237           26.37%              1,163,207           14.2%        1,835,440    19.6%
 Nation                          23,222,432               10.3%            33,389,296           13.46%             29,097,080           10.3%       47,782,000    15.4%



                                                       # Change             % Change          # Change             % Change           # Change      % Change
                                     1940              1940-2000            1940-2000        2000 - 2025           2000 -2025         1980-2025     1980-2025

 Ben Hill                           14,523                 2,972               20.5%              4,237               24.2%              5,683        35.4%
 Berrien                            15,370                  875                 5.7%
 Brooks                             20,497               -4,036.0             -19.7%              1,063                6.5%              2,272       14.9%
 Cook                               11,919                 3,863               32.4%              2,769               17.5%              5,048       37.4%
 Echols                             2,964                   792                26.7%               824                21.9%              2,296       100.5%
 Irwin                              12,936                -2,999              -23.2%              3,575               36.0%              4,551       50.8%
 Lanier                              5,632                 1,614               28.7%              1,565               21.6%              3,155       55.8%
 Lowndes                            31,860                60,693              190.5%             31,963               34.5%             56,349       82.7%
 Tift                               18,599                19,837              106.7%              9,670               25.2%             15,068       45.6%
 Turner                             10,845                -1,339              -12.3%               618                 6.5%               629         6.6%
     Growth Centers                 50,459                80,530              159.6%             41,633               31.8%             71,417        70.6%
   Balance of Region                94,686                 1,746               1.8%              -1,594                -1.7%            10,064        11.9%
 Region                            145,145                82,276               56.7%             40,039               17.6%             81,481        43.8%
 State                           3,123,723             5,062,730              160.1%           2,998,647              36.6%            5,727,534     104.9%
 Nation                         132,164,569           149,257,351             112.9%          76,879,080              27.3%           133,490,810    59.4%
 Source: Woods & Poole Economics, Inc., 2002; U. S. Bureau of Census, 1940.

 Analysis: South Georgia Regional Development Center, 2003.

 NOTE: "Growth Centers" - Lowndes and Tift Counties.

 Balance of Region" - Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier and Turner Counties. After 2000 Berrien not in Region.
                                                                                           "




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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                               Page 31




                     Figure 7: 1980 - 2025 COUNTY POPULATION CHANGE

          60,000




          50,000




          40,000




          30,000




          20,000




          10,000




              0
                   Ben Hill   Brooks   Cook    Echols    Irwin   Lanier   Lowndes   Tift   Turner




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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                                                       Page 32




             TABLE 13: 1940 - 2025 PERSONS PER SQUARE MILE SOUTH GEORGIA REGION

                         Total
                         Land
                        Area in     1940       1950     1960     1970      1980      1990      2000      2010      2020       2025
                        Square
                         Miles

     SG Region          3,430.4      42.3      42.9     43.8       46       54.2      57.1      66.3      77.9      85.7         89.8

     Ben Hill            251.8       57.7      59.1     54.1     52.3      63.5       64.5      69.5      75.6      82.6         86.3

     Berrien             452.5        34       30.9     26.6     25.5      29.9       31.3      35.9

     Brooks              493.7       41.5      36.8      31      27.8      30.9       31.2      33.3       34        35          34.9

     Cook                229.1        52       53.3     51.6     52.9      58.9       58.7      68.9      73.1      78.2         81

     Echols              404.2       7.3        6.2      4.6      4.8       5.7       5.8       9.3       10.1      10.9         11.3

     Irwin               356.8       36.3      33.6     25.8     22.5      25.2       24.2      27.9      31.7      35.6         37.9

     Lanier              186.8       30.1      27.6     27.3     26.9      30.3       29.6      38.7      41.9      45.3         47.2

     Lowndes             504.3       63.2      69.8     97.7     109.3     134.8     150.7     183.5     207.4     233.2     246.9

     Tift                265.1       70.1      85.4     88.6     102.9     123.9      132       145      151.5     165.8     181.5

     Turner              286.1       37.9      36.6     28.5     30.7      33.2       30.4      33.2       34       34.7         35.4


     Source: Georgia County Guide, 2000; (Total land area in square miles excludes rivers, lakes and ponds). The South Georgia
     Region total land area decreased to 2,977.9 square miles after 2000.




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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                              Page 33




                       2. Educational Attainment. Residents in the State and the South Georgia Region
                       have lagged behind the Nation in educational attainment. A common measurement of
                       educational attainment is the percentage of adults 25 years and older who completed
                       high school with a diploma. Tables 14 and 15 show the educational attainment levels
                       from 1980 - 2000 for the nation, state, adjacent regions, and the ten South Georgia
                       counties. The computations for this educational attainment measurement include all
                       persons that graduated high school. Educational attainment in the United States rose
                       from 68.6% in 1980 to 80.3% in 2000. Georgia rose from 56.4% in 1980 to 78.6% in
                       2000. The educational attainment in the South Georgia region rose from 47.1% in
                       1980 to 71% 2000 and leads all four adjacent regions in the percent of persons
                       completing high school.

                       Within the South Georgia Region the nine county trends are summarized by rank of
                       percent of adults gaining a high school diploma and post high school training and
                       college. The percentage numbers in Table 15 indicate that Lowndes and Tift
                       Counties ranked number one and number two since 1980; Echols went from fourth to
                       ninth in twenty years; Irwin and Turner were sixth and fifth respectively in 1980 and
                       tied for third in 2000. Brooks County rose from seventh in 1980 to fourth in 2000;
                       Berrien County was fourth in 1980 and rose to fifth in 2000; and Cook was eighth in
                       1980 and was eighth in 2000.

                       The map presentation of 2000 educational attainment is shown on three maps, namely
                       1) Map 5: Percent No High School Diploma by Block Group; 2) Map 6: Percent High
                       School Diploma by Block Group; and 3) Map 7: Percent College Degree by Block
                       Group. Every block group in each map has ranges from lower percentages of persons
                       in white to higher percent categories in the two darker tones. Since a block group can
                       range from 106 to 4,942 persons         These three maps are indicative of location
                       concentrations.

                       All ten joint local comprehensive plans in the South Georgia Region recognized these
                       trends in educational attainment and tried to develop coordinated strategies with their
                       respective boards of education. The lagging educational levels in the rural regions of
                       Georgia, including SGRDC and the four adjacent regions presents a serious problem
                       for economic development in these areas.




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 South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                                                                                               Page 34




                                                          TABLE 14:                  REGIONAL EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT - 1980-2000

                                   1980 Educational Attainment                                                    1990 Educational Attainment                                                      2000 Educational Attainment
                                                       High School                 College                                            High School                  College                                          High School             College
                    Adults Age Elementary            No                       No                   Adults Age Elementary            No                        No                  Adults Age Elementary            No               No
          Unit     25 and Over Grades 1-8 Diplomas Graduates Degree Graduate 25 and Over Grades 1-8                              Diplomas Graduates Degree Graduate 25 and Over Grades 1-8                      Diplomas Graduates Degree      Graduate
   United States   144,384,211        17.5%        13.9%        36.8%       14.8%       17.0%      158,868,436       10.4%        14.4%         30.0%       24.9%      20.3%     182,211,639        7.5%         12.1%     28.6%   27.3%        24.4%
        Georgia       3,569,283       23.7%        19.9%        28.5%       13.3%       14.6%        4,023,420       12.0%        17.2%         29.6%       22.0%      19.3%        5,185,165       7.6%         13.8%     28.7%   25.6%        24.3%
        SGRDC           100,797       29.6%        23.2%        26.9%       10.4%       9.8%            115,803      16.1%        21.6%         32.3%       17.9%      12.0%          137,989       9.9%         19.1%     33.1%   23.3%        14.6%
        SWRDC           174,406       29.4%        22.5%        26.9%       11.0%       10.2%           192,374      17.6%        21.4%         31.4%       17.5%      12.1%          220,284      10.7%         18.7%     33.6%   23.3%        13.8%
        SERDC             63,161      32.4%        23.3%        27.2%        9.2%       7.9%             72,976      18.4%        22.9%         35.0%       15.0%       8.7%           87,403      12.1%         20.7%     38.6%   19.2%         9.3%
        HGRDC             63,732      34.0%        23.7%        24.8%        9.3%       8.2%             70,161      19.9%        22.1%         33.2%       14.9%       9.9%          174,403      12.4%         20.8%     37.3%   18.8%        10.8%
        MFRDC             49,866      34.8%        24.9%        21.7%        9.2%       9.4%             55,338      19.8%        23.0%         31.1%       15.0%      11.1%           63,885      12.3%         20.8%     34.3%   19.2%        13.4%

Source:            U. S. Bureau of Census, 1980, 1990, 2000; Analysis: South Georgia Regional Development Center, 2006.

Note:              SGRDC (South Georgia Regional Development Center) includes ten counties: Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Tift, and Turner.

                   SWRDC (Southwest Regional Development Center) includes fourteen counties: Baker, Calhoun, Colquitt, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas, and Worth.

                   SERDC (Southeast Regional Development Center) includes eight counties: Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Charlton, Clinch, Coffee, Pierce, and Ware.

                   HGRDC (Heart of Georgia Regional Development Center) includes seventeen counties: Appling, Bleckley, Chandler, Dodge, Emanuel, Evans, Jeff Davis, Johnson, Laurens, Montgomery, Tattnall, Telfair,
                   Toombs, Treutlen, Wayne, Wheeler, and Wilcox.

                   MFRDC (Middle Flint Regional Development Center, includes eight counties: Crisp, Dooly, Macon, Marion, Schley, Sumter, Taylor, and Webster.
  South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                                                             Page 35

                                       TABLE 15: 1980 - 2000 EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT FOR THE SOUTH GEORGIA REGION

                          1980 Educational Attainment                                        1990 Educational Attainment                                    2000 Educational Attainment
                         Elem.       High School              College                      Elem.       High School           College                       Elem.       High School           College
           Adults, age                                                       Adults, age                                                     Adults, age
                         Grades                                                            Grades                                                          Grades
           25 and over               No                  No                  25 and over               No                  No                25 and over               No                  No
 Unit                      1-8              Graduate              Graduate                   1-8              Graduate            Graduate                   1-8              Graduate            Graduate
                                  Diploma              Degree                                       Diploma              Degree                                     Diploma              Degree
Ben Hill     11,175      32.3%    24.5%      25.2%     9.9%         8.1%        9,810      18.5%    24.8%      35.6%     23.6%     7.6%        10,990      12.9%    21.3%      37.2%     19.1%     9.6%
Berrien       9,581      32.8%    26.1%      27.9%     7.3%         5.9%        8,782      20.4%    22.1%      34.7%     15.2%     7.5%        10,451      11.8%    22.2%      34.6%     22.0%     9.4%
Brooks       10,235      36.8%    23.7%      24.5%     7.4%         7.5%        9,363      19.1%    22.3%      36.0%     13.6%     9.1%        10,445      12.0%    20.6%      37.1%     19.1%     11.3%
 Cook         9,276      34.9%    26.4%      25.7%     7.4%         5.7%        8,231      20.9%    23.9%      34.6%     14.1%     6.5%         9,876      12.9%    22.6%      36.0%     20.5%     8.2%
Echols        1,487      33.8%    25.2%      31.4%     5.8%         3.9%        1,396      18.3%    20.7%      45.3%     10.9%     4.7%         2,167      17.9%    21.7%      35.6%     16.5%     8.4%
 Irwin        6,322      34.3%    26.2%      25.1%     8.7%         5.7%        5,350      21.0%    26.0%      32.9%     11.9%     8.3%         6,196      12.6%    19.7%      38.5%     19.4%     9.8%
 Lanier       3,760      35.0%    25.7%      24.1%     10.0%        5.3%        3,332      21.9%    26.8%      29.9%     16.0%     5.4%         4,487      10.7%    22.3%      34.2%     24.0%     8.8%
Lowndes      40,400      22.3%    20.6%      30.8%     13.1%       13.2%       43,540      11.3%    18.9%      31.7%     21.7%     16.3%       54,237       6.6%    15.8%      30.6%     27.4%     19.7%
  Tift       21,073      31.5%    23.0%      22.9%     11.1%       11.5%       20,829      17.2%    21.5%      27.0%     20.3%     14.0%       23,433      11.7%    20.4%      30.3%     21.9%     15.6%
Turner        6,175      35.1%    25.0%      23.5%     8.5%         7.8%        5,170      19.2%    25.5%      35.1%     13.0%     7.2%         5,707      10.5%    21.8%      38.7%     18.5%     10.5%
United
           144,384,211   17.5%    13.9%      36.8%     14.8%       17.0%     158,868,436   10.4%    14.4%      30.0%     24.9%     20.3%     182,211,639    7.5%    12.1%      28.6%     27.3%     24.4%
States
Georgia     3,569,283    23.7%    19.9%      28.5%     13.3%       14.6%      4,023,420    12.0%    17.2%      29.6%     22.0%     19.3%      5,185,965     7.6%    13.8%      28.7%     25.6%     24.3%
South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy   Page 36
South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy   Page 37




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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy   Page 38




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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                              Page 39


       C.      Geography

              The South Georgia RDC region consists of nine counties located in the central part of
       southern Georgia, bordering the State of Florida. It has a total land area of approximately
       1,949,608 acres, or about 3,046 square miles. Most of the land is well-drained and most of the
       region is well suited for agriculture. The physical landscape is fairly homogenous with no
       outstanding physical features of major significance. Must of the land is used for agricultural
       purposes, including commercial timber production. The following natural resource areas have
       been examined and surveyed as they pertain to the South Georgia Region.

       All of the region is located in Georgia’s Southern Coastal Plain physiographic province which
       occupies the southern two-thirds of the state. A large percentage of the region is located within
       the Tifton Uplands portion of this province. The remaining portions are divided somewhat
       equally among the Vidalia Upland, Bacon Terraces, and the Okefenokee Basin. Map 8 depicts
       these areas as they pertain to the South Georgia Region. With exception of the Okefenokee
       Basin, most of the region’s land surface is nearly level to gently sloping and is dissected by
       numerous shallow rivers and streams which generally flow from north to south. The largest of
       these are the Alapaha, Ocmulgee, Suwannee and Withlacoochee Rivers. The Okefenokee
       Basin portion is flat, and poorly drained with numerous small ponds and swamps.

       Most of the region is greater than 200 feet above sea level with the lowest elevations found
       generally in the south and the highest in the north. The region’s lowest overall elevation is
       about 60 feet where the Withlacoochee River flows southward from Lowndes County into
       Florida. Other low elevations in the region along exiting rivers include the Ocmulgee River
       (135 feet) in Ben Hill County, and the Alapaha River (75 feet) and Suwannee River (85 feet) in
       Echols County. The region’s highest elevation is a little greater than 480 feet along hilltops in
       western Turner County. Elevations greater than 400 feet can be found in Ben Hill, Irwin, Tift
       and Turner counties. Only Echols County fails to reach 200 feet with its highest elevation at
       177 feet. The maximum elevation change within each county averages about 180-210 feet
       with the greatest change (265 feet) found in Ben Hill County and smallest change (100 feet)
       found in Echols County.

       The region’s topography and vegetation cover is such that notable views and vistas are not
       present. The most pronounced topography can be found in a few minor bluff areas along the
       floodplains of some of the larger rivers (such as the Alapaha, Ocmulgee, and Withlacoochee)
       where elevations can change more than 100 feet over a very short distance. The banks of some
       of these rivers may also exceed 50 feet high in some places.

       The region’s underlying bedrock is composed of Pliocene-Miocene-Oligocene sedimentary
       rocks which were formed mostly during the Cenozoic Era (up to 70 million years ago). Below
       this, the rocks are Eocene and Paleocene sedimentary rocks. The sediments which formed
       these rocks originated in the “ancient” Appalachian Mountains which have been eroded to
       form the present day Piedmont and remnant mountains.




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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy   Page 40




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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                               Page 41


       D.      Workforce Development and Use

               Workforce Development through education and training is a critical need for economic
       development for the South Georgia area. If higher paying industries are to be recruited to the
       area then higher skilled employees must be trained and made available. Education and training
       is recognized as a critical need and number of regionally significant programs have been made
       available.

               1.      Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program has been administered by the
               south Georgia RDC on behalf of their private sector board of directors, the South
               Georgia Workforce Development Board, since WIA’s reconstitution from the old Job
               Training Partnership Act (JTPA) in 2000.

               To date, WIA has brought well over $12 Million in federal job training funds to the nin-
               county South Georgia region; in addition, approximately $150,000 in summer youth
               programs have been granted in an “earn and learn” work program for disadvantaged
               youth. Those helped by WIA include over 150 teens in the summer jobs program; over
               3,000 economically disadvantaged people in year-round job training programs which
               lead to permanent private sector employment; and approximately 1,500 dislocated
               workers, who had been victims of plant layoffs or closings.

               The program offers taxpayers an excellent return on investment of over three million a
               year; this has been documented, in concrete terms of savings of welfare, food stamps,
               and unemployment insurance benefits. Approximately 25% of disadvantaged trainees
               come into the program dependent on welfare; around 85% leave with permanent jobs,
               economic self-sufficiency, and a new pride. Over 90% of formerly dislocated workers
               find immediate re-employment after participating in WIA.

               The program offers long-term vocational training at area vocational technical schools
               and local colleges; some intensive short-term occupational training; and work
               experience, work readiness skills and basic skills for youth.

               In addition, the program offers intensive aptitude testing and career counseling at its
               three Skill Centers, located in Fitzgerald, Tifton, and Valdosta. The Centers also
               feature state-of-the-art computer learning labs, and instruction in brush-up of basic
               reading and math skills, as well as GED courses. The computer labs are funded as joint
               ventures with Valdosta Tech, Moultrie Tech, and East Central Tech. Also under the
               same roof are several WIA service providers and training programs; thus forming a
               “one stop center” for those seeking training and jobs. Career counselors at the three
               Skill Centers circuit-ride all the counties of the South Georgia area, in order to provide
               services to all area residents.

               2.    Quick Start is an internationally known training program for new and
               expanding businesses and industries. Operated through the State’s technical colleges,
               Quick Start lives up to its name by going directly into the business or industry with
               customized training, at no cost to the industry, for the new employees, often on



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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                                Page 42


               company machinery. In addition to job specific skill training, Quick Start can also
               provide training in automation, productivity enhancement, and human resource
               development. In addition to manufacturing operations, Quick Start can also provide
               customized training for office operations. Quick Start could be considered an industrial
               recruitment incentive as well as a training tool because of its benefit, and no cost, to the
               industry.

               3.      Technical Colleges. Technical colleges are units of the Georgia Department of
               Technical and Adult Education whose primary purpose is to instruct men and women to
               such competency levels that they are qualified for employment and/or advancement in
               existing or potential occupational fields. Three of the thirty-four technical colleges
               have facilities and offer classes in the South Georgia area, East Central Technical
               College, Valdosta Technical College, and Moultrie Technical College.

               East Central Technical College has a thirty acre main campus located on the Ben Hill
               and Irwin County line and satellite campuses located in Douglas, Ocilla, Pearson, and
               Rochelle. East Central Technical College offers a wide range of programs including 23
               diploma programs, 69 technical certificate programs, and a variety of short courses.
               East Central Technical College has a staff of over 155.

               Valdosta Technical College has a service delivery area of Berrien, Brooks, Cook,
               Echols, Lanier, and Lowndes County. The college currently has 178,000 square feet of
               space located on 123 acres of land and a multi-million dollar construction project
               underway which will add 100,000 square feet of new classroom space to its main
               campus. In addition the college has a branch campus in Cook County, a physical
               presence at Moody Air Force Base, and plans are in place to open another branch in the
               near future in Berrien County. Valdosta Tech offers a wide range of programs
               including 135 degree, diploma and technical certificate programs, and a variety of short
               courses. Valdosta Tech has developed partnerships with area high schools for Tech
               Prep, School-To-Work, Apprenticeship, and Post-Secondary Options and Dual
               Enrollment programs, Valdosta Tech has also formed a partnership with Valdosta State
               University where VSU offers credits to graduates of Valdosta Tech towards the
               Associate or Bachelor of Applied Science degrees. With a staff of 355 full- and part-
               time faculty and staff, Valdosta Tech serves more than 4414 students annually and
               places more than 95 percent of its graduates in employment for which they were
               trained.

               Moultrie Technical College occupies a satellite facility located on their Tifton Campus.
               The technical center offers classes in patent care assisting, emergency medical, medical
               assisting, cosmetology, criminal justice, nursing, commercial truck driving, fire science,
               management and supervisory development, horticulture, ornamental ironworks, early
               childhood care and education, public works civil technology, accounting, business
               office technology, computer information systems, welding/joining technology,
               industrial systems technology, drafting, and design technology. The facility also offers
               adult education and developmental studies classes, complimenting the main campus
               that offers 63 degree and technical certificate programs, and a variety of short courses.



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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                               Page 43




               4.       Valdosta State University. Established in 1906 as a teachers’ college,
               Valdosta State is a regional university of the University System of Georgia. It has a
               mission to serve a 41-county area stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Alabama
               state line. A pioneer in Distance Learning technology, the University offers off-campus
               programs in several locations, including Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base and Moody
               Air Force Base. As a cultural and higher education center, Valdosta State University
               offers many free opportunities to the public.

               VSU is located on three campuses (168 acres) less than two miles apart and is one of
               Georgia’s most beautiful universities with its consistency of Spanish Mission-style
               architecture. Approximately 11,000 students are members of the VSU student body
               representing 47 states and 63 countries. VSU offers undergraduate, Master’s, and
               doctoral degrees, with a comprehensive curriculum that includes five colleges: Arts,
               Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, and Nursing. East year, all VSU departments
               and hundreds of faculty members and students are involved in research.

               During 2005, VSU was awarded over $5.5 million in research grants and contracts, for
               a broad array of projects. A recent visitor to the campus was Sir Harry Krono, Nobel
               Prize winner and nanotechnology pioneer. A small sampling of current and recent
               scientific research at VSU: West Nile Virus research, nanotubes and nanotechnology;
               various microbiological projects; DNA sequence analyses; various ecological research
               projects; electron microscopy of materials; analysis of a compound for the national
               Cancer Institute; cellulose testing; testing of termite repellents; studies of soil-borne
               fungal pathogens; chemical reductions in solution and on surfaces; strain and
               deformation properties of paper and other structural materials; molecular closing of the
               bovine MASH2 gene; electronic structure calculations of potential energy surfaces;
               short term soil formation and carbon sequestration; qualitative determination of
               dimensional instability of porous materials; tracer study of intracellular kinetics by
               13CNMR – and more.

               5.      ABAC. Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, located in the south central
               Georgia town of Tifton, is known worldwide for its specialized curriculum in forestry,
               wildlife, environmental horticulture and agriculture, as well as strong programs in
               nursing, criminal justice, and education. The Second District Agricultural and
               Mechanical School opened its doors as an area high school in 1908 and in 1924 became
               South Georgia A & M College. From 1929-33, it was a senior college called the
               Georgia State College for Men. In 1933, the college assumed its present name – after a
               signer of the U.S. Constitution and the first president of the University of Georgia – and
               joined the University System of Georgia.

               The college offers 40 college transfer programs in which students move on to four-year
               colleges and universities after their ABAC careers are complete. Students can also
               choose from 15 two-year career technological degrees which propel them into the job
               market when their ABAC days are behind them. Another option is the certificate
               program, where ABAC offers 12 selections, each of which can be completed in one



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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                            Page 44


               year. Beginning in the fall semester of 2007, ABAC plans to offer its own four-year
               degrees in Diversified Agriculture and in Turf Grass and Golf Course Management.

               The combination of traditional associate-level programs and specialized agriculture
               programs – together with on-campus housing – gives the college a distinctive character
               which attracts a culturally diverse student body. The 3,400 students are a mix of
               traditional and non-traditional enrolled in day and evening classes. They come to
               ABAC from 17 countries, 16 states, and 149 Georgia counties.

               ABAC’s nearly 100-year-old campus is one of the largest in the University System and
               covers 390 acres. Students may participate in Georgia Junior College Athletic
               Association/National Junior College Athletic Association intercollegiate sports in
               men’s and women’s tennis; men’s basketball and baseball; and women’s volleyball and
               softball. ABAC’s intercollegiate rodeo team for men and women is the only one of its
               kind in Georgia. Students also find entertainment in movies, concerts, an annual Spring
               Fling, and performing groups such as the jazz ensemble, concert choir, and the
               Fabulous Golddusters dance team.

               6.      GMC Community College. Georgia Military College (GMC) was created by
               act of the Georgia legislature in 1879 for the purpose of "...educating young men and
               women in an environment which fosters the qualities of good citizenship...." The
               founding act provided for a location on the old capitol square in Milledgeville. This
               twenty-acre tract, sitting on a knoll above the Oconee River and the surrounding
               Georgia Piedmont, has been designated Statehouse Square when Milledgeville had
               been designated as Georgia’s capital city in 1803. From its inception in 1879 until
               1952, GMC served as a high school for the city of Milledgeville and Baldwin County.
               In 1930, the Board of Trustees added the junior college program and GMC began
               offering associate degrees. In 1971, with the development of distant learning centers
               across Georgia, Georgia Military College began a new era as a key educational
               presence in career and transfer programs for the citizenry of Georgia.

               The college continues to fulfill its original purpose by embracing the philosophy that
               education is two dimensional, involving development of the intellect along with
               elevating the qualities of character of the student. Today, GMC is none of the fastest
               growing two-year colleges in Georgia. The college, in addition to its campus in
               Milledgeville with extension centers in Sandersville, Madison, and Gray, has distant
               learning centers in Augusta, Atlanta, Columbus, Warner Robins, and Valdosta. The
               total enrollment for the college exceeds 4800 traditional and nontraditional students,
               who study in day, evening, and weekend programs.

               The Valdosta Campus recently had a ribbon cut on a new facility. The new area offers
               nearly double the space afforded the pervious location. In addition, the site is now
               more centrally located between Valdosta and Moody Air Force Base. The new
               building offers 15 classrooms, science and computer labs, and office space for more
               than 30 full-time employees.




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               Georgia Military College awards three degrees: the Associate in Arts, the Associate in
               Science and the Associate in Applied Science, with concentrations in multiple
               disciplines. Each degree is organized on the liberal arts tradition of higher education
               with a core curriculum of humanities, natural sciences, mathematics and social
               sciences. The curriculum is learning based, placing great emphasis on the student
               learner’s mastering a broad set of educational objectives and developing proficiency in
               those objectives.

               7.      Apprenticeship. Youth Apprenticeship program is part of the National School
               to Work Opportunities Act with the goal of helping students transition from high school
               to a successful career. Under this program students are assigned to work with various
               employers/employees to gain experience, knowledge, and an understanding of skills
               needed in the workplace. Examples of programs under Youth Apprenticeship are:
               Future Physicians where students are “shadowing” local physicians, Teacher Cadets
               where students work as apprentice teachers and Trade and Industry Internship where
               students are employed part-time with various businesses and industries.

               8.      Tech Prep. Tech Prep is a collaboration between high schools, technical
               colleges, colleges/universities and local businesses and industries to guide students on a
               career path that will provide the necessary skills for employment in the new global
               economy. The program spans a six-year training period beginning with a wide range of
               course study in the ninth grade and culminating with occupational specific degree or
               certificate. Course study curriculum is being modified based on input from businesses
               and industries in the planning and implementation process.

       E.      Transportation Access

               The CEDS Strategy committee has a goal for a continued partnership within the South
               Georgia Workforce Development Board to build municipal and community based
               coalitions that provide informed advocacy for town-to-town employment of
               transportation that serves the needs of low income and/or traditionally marginalized
               communities with significant percentages of zero-vehicle households. The CEDS
               committee will work with transportation planning staff at the South Georgia Regional
               Development Center to understand opportunities that exist for input into the
               transportation planning processes.

               One way to contribute is to recommend criteria for use by the Metropolitan Planning
               Organization (MPO) to screen proposed infrastructure projects for their relevance and
               importance to regional economic development. Their criteria will be used in screening
               infrastructure projects proposed for transportation improvement programs that show
               consistency with regional transportation plans. The CEDS committee will continue in
               its efforts to address the transportation needs of low-income residents, families, the
               elderly, the disabled and the general public. Efforts of the CEDS committee will seek
               to identify the kinds of transportation services the communities within the service area
               need and develop them, while working to build broad-based support and equitable
               representation for public transportation planning, implementation and management.



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       F.      Resources

               1.     Joint Development Authorities and local development authorities were both
               considered regionally significant because, when they are successful in their industrial
               and economic development mission, they often impact nearby counties and
               communities. There are three multi-county development authorities. One serves
               Lowndes, Lanier, Berrien, Echols, Clinch, Brooks, and Cook counties. All counties
               except Echols are served by a local development authority.

               There are a number of regionally significant statewide economic development agencies
               which work directly with the regional and local development authorities. Some of
               these statewide economic development groups have full time staffs which work toward
               the goal of recruiting new industries as well as retention and growth of existing industry
               and other businesses into Georgia, both nationally and internationally. The statewide
               economic groups include: Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia
               Power Company, Oglethorpe Company, MEAG Power Company, Norfolk-Southern
               and CSX Railroad, Georgia natural Gas, NationsBank and others.

               Downtown development authorities, which exist in four counties, are considered
               significant economic development agencies but targeted to more local impact. Table 16
               provides a listing of all registered authorities within the South Georgia area.

                                             TABLE 16
                             Registered Local Authorities - South Georgia Area

   BEN HILL                    Ben Hill-Irwin Area Joint Development Authority
                               Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County Development Authority
                               Downtown Development Authority of Fitzgerald
                               Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County Regional Solid Waste Authority
                               Hospital Authority of Ben Hill County, Georgia
                               Housing Authority of the City of Fitzgerald

   BROOKS                      Lowndes, Lanier, Berrien, Echols, Clinch, Brooks & Cook Development
                               Authority
                               Brooks County Development Authority
                               Development Authority of Brooks County, Georgia
                               Quitman Development Authority
                               Housing Authority of the City of Quitman

   COOK                        Tift-Turner-Worth-Cook Joint Development Authority
                               Lowndes, Lanier, Berrien, Echols, Clinch, Brooks & Cook Development
                               Authority
                               Adel Industrial Development Authority
                               City of Lenox Development Authority
                               Cook County Airport Authority
                               Housing Authority of the City of Adel, Georgia


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   ECHOLS                      Lowndes, Lanier, Berrien, Echols, Clinch, Brooks & Cook Development
                               Authority

   IRWIN                       Ben Hill-Irwin Area Joint Development Authority
                               Ocilla-Irwin County Industrial Development Authority
                               Hospital Authority of Irwin County
                               Housing Authority of the City of Ocilla, Georgia

   LANIER                      Lowndes, Lanier, Berrien, Echols, Clinch, Brooks & Cook Development
                               Authority
                               Development Authority of Lanier County
                               Tri-County E-911 Joint Development Authority
                               Housing Authority of the City of Lakeland, Georgia

   LOWNDES                     Lowndes, Lanier, Berrien, Echols, Clinch, Brooks & Cook Development
                               Authority
                               Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority
                               Development Authority of Lowndes County
                               Central Valdosta Development Authority
                               Downtown Development Authority for the City of Hahira, Georgia
                               Hospital Authority of Valdosta and Lowndes County, Georgia
                               Housing Authority of the City of Hahira, Georgia
                               Deep South Regional Municipal Solid Waste Management Authority
                               Valdosta Housing Authority
                               Valdosta-Lowndes County Airport Authority
                               Valdosta-Lowndes County Land Bank Authority

   TIFT                        Tift-Turner-Worth-Cook Joint Development Authority
                               Tift County Development Authority
                               Downtown Development Authority of the City of Tifton
                               Housing Authority of the City of Tifton, Georgia
                               Tifton-Tift County Airport Authority
                               Tift County Hospital Authority
                               Tift County Water & Sewer Authority

   TURNER                     Tift-Turner-Worth-Cook Joint Development Authority
                              Turner County Development Authority
                              Housing Authority of the City of Ashburn
______________________________________
Source: 2006 Listing of Registered Local Government Authorities. Georgia Department of Community
Affairs.


               2.     South Georgia Regional Development Center has regional significance with a
               number of programs that directly relate to regional economic development. The RDC’s
               purpose is to assist local governments on a regional basis to promote and assist in
               planning and development. In addition to its role as the state’s designated regional
               planning entity, the RDC is also a federally funded Economic Development District
               (EDD). As the designated planning organization for the EDD, the RDC provides



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               economic development technical assistance and grantsmanship to local governments
               and development authorities.

               3.      University of Georgia Small Business Development Center is one of the
               ways that Georgia attempts to meet the needs of small business owners and prospective
               business owners when they have questions about the fundamentals of business
               operations. Examples of the kind of assistance provided include: business plan
               development, market research, record keeping and accounting, cash flow analysis,
               financing alternatives and international trade. The University of Georgia System also
               provides specialized information and assistance to businesses on topics ranging from
               agriculture to industrial engineering. The SBDC’s are referral sources for this
               specialized assistance. One is located within the South Georgia region in the Valdosta
               State University north campus. Another maintains a satellite office in Tifton on three
               days of the week.

               4.     Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute The Georgia Tech Enterprise
               Innovation Institute helps companies, entrepreneurs, economic developers and
               communities improve their competitiveness through the application of science,
               technology and innovation. One of the most comprehensive university-based programs
               of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization and economic
               development in the nation, the Enterprise Innovation Institute provides programs that:

               •       Help entrepreneurs launch and build successful companies.
               •       Improve the competitiveness of established companies.
               •       Commercialize technology developed in Georgia Tech research labs.
               •       Help local and state governments adopt innovative practices.
               •       Assist economic developers with innovative approaches.
               •       Serve as a bridge to Georgia Tech resources.

               The Enterprise Innovation Institute seeks to redefine the service role for universities
               and how they support local, state, regional and national economies. This effort is part of
               Georgia Tech’s overall goal of defining the technological university of the 21st century.

               In the future, the ability to develop and apply innovation will drive the success of all
               types of enterprises. The Enterprise Innovation Institute will be a source of that
               innovation, drawing on the experience and expertise of Georgia Tech and affiliated
               organizations.

               5.     Southwest Georgia Chamber. The Southwest Georgia Chamber Council is an
               organization represented by Chambers of Commerce executive director/president,
               Economic Development Directors, and RDC representatives.

               The organization meets regularly to discuss issues that affect the Southwest Georgia
               Region as well as individual communities. Also, it is an opportunity for individual
               communities to share success and failure stories.



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               The SWGCC promotes Southwest Georgia as a region. The SWGCC, Albany
               Chamber of Commerce and Georgia Chamber of Commerce sponsor the annual Fall
               Feather Hunt. This event attracts over twenty industrial CEO’s world wide to hunt in
               Southwest Georgia. Each community with its membership in SWGCC is given an
               opportunity to participate and sponsor a hunt.

               6.      State of Georgia Regional Staff. Team Georgia is the Georgia Department of
               Community Affairs’ new, coordinated approach to delivering community assistance
               services. The department has reorganized its field staff to better facilitate crossing
               functional or divisional lines within the agency. This reorganization will help
               Georgia’s communities receive enhanced levels of service from DCA. Now staff from
               a broad range of specialties will be working together to bring a more comprehensive,
               holistic approach to helping Georgia cities and counties achieve their community
               improvement goals.

               A key aspect of Team Georgia is grouping delivery regions into “super-regions” that
               share common growth and development issues. Creating these super regions has
               enabled more effective delivery of DCA’s services, since local governments within the
               same super-region should have a number of community development issues in
               common.

               Each super region has available staff specializing in the following DCA service
               functions: Community Development (CDBG), Leadership Development, Economic
               Development, Environmental Assistance, Quality Growth, Affordable Housing
               Assistance, Comprehensive Planning, Volunteerism and Community Service, and
               Downtown Development. All of these diverse skill sets can now be combined to help
               local governments with their local community development efforts. The Team Georgia
               staff will also play an important role with implementation of exciting new community
               assistance programs that are currently under development at DCA.

               The Department of Economic Development is also available with staff regionally
               known as Existing Industry Representatives to assist local communities in their
               industrial and commercial needs. Assistance to businesses includes:

               •       Expansion Assistance
               •       Export Assistance
               •       Site Selection
               •       New or Available Buildings
               •       Georgia Tax Credits and Exemptions
               •       Freeport Exemption on Inventories
               •       Workforce Recruiting Options
               •       Labor Training and Retraining
               •       Financing Options
               •       Utility Availability and Costs
               •       Building Layout and Other Industrial Engineering Services
               •       International Trade Missions



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               These individuals also provide the following assistance to communities:

               •       State of Georgia Expansion and Retention Assistance
               •       Existing Business Contact Programs
               •       Business Retention and Expansion Process (BREP)
               •       Business Insight Interviews
               •       Existing Business Council Start Up
               •       Prospect Package Development
               •       Export Development Strategies
               •       Supplier Attraction Strategies

               Regional staff are also present through the Georgia Department of Economic
               Development for small business and entrepreneurs, as well as communities wishing to
               serve these individuals better. The effort provides a community-based program that
               helps create an entrepreneur environment, building entrepreneur and small business
               strategy into the community’s overall economic development strategies.

               Known as the Entrepreneur Friendly Initiative, the GDEcD Regional Project Managers-
               Entrepreneur & Small Business (RPM-ESB) will take a community through proven,
               key success methods designed to establish an entrepreneur support program, help them
               better understand their existing entrepreneur environment and develop sustainable,
               effective local strategies.

               7.      Agriculture Center of Innovation. Innovative companies can accelerate
               growth with Georgia’s unique public and private assets, its broad menu of business
               resources and its stable of strategic industries through the Centers of Innovation
               program. Created by Governor Sonny Perdue in 2003, the Agriculture Center of
               Innovation in Tifton, Georgia provides support to researchers and entrepreneurs in the
               areas of aerospace, agriculture, life sciences and maritime logistics.

               The center creates an environment where businesses can connect with state leaders,
               academic and business experts and government organizations to nurture ideas and forge
               new relationships. This joint collaboration provides unparalleled opportunities for
               creating innovative technology solutions to industry-led challenges. This program also
               features regional entrepreneur outreach specialists who provide hands-on technical
               expertise and business development mentoring to entrepreneurs and new businesses.

               Companies and researchers looking to grow their agricultural capabilities and develop
               progressive industry technologies are provided the talent, expertise and resources of
               Georgia’s Agriculture Innovation Center in Tifton. The center bridges the worlds of
               industry, academia and federal and state resources to agribusiness, bolstering the state’s
               already significant technology capabilities.

               Joint industry-university applied research and incubation facilities as well as



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               entrepreneurial training and outreach are coordinated through the Agriculture
               Innovation Center. New businesses and inventive minds are encouraged by the
               unparalleled breadth and depth of resources regarding issues facing farmers and
               agribusiness. Forward-thinking industry leaders focus on progressive technologies in
               areas such as irrigation, which attracted Bayer CropScience Corporation to the center’s
               incubator facility.

               Collaboration among private sector entities, university system partners and local, state
               and federal government organizations speeds the innovation process. University
               partners include the University of Georgia, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and
               the Georgia Institute of Technology. State and local government organizations such as
               the One Georgia Authority, Tift County Development Authority, Chamber of
               Commerce, Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Department of
               Economic Development’s Office of Science and Technology, as well as the U.S.
               Department of Agriculture work to adapt current technologies and create jobs.

               Pioneering companies benefit from access to the 10,000-square-foot laboratory and
               office space in the business incubator on the University of Georgia’s Tifton Campus as
               well as the ongoing research right next door in the National Environmentally Sound
               Production Agriculture Laboratory (NESPAL). Additionally, non-resident companies
               and individual entrepreneurs are nurtured by the attentiveness of Entrepreneur Outreach
               Specialists who provide technical expertise beyond the focus of the agriculture center to
               speed their overall economic success.

       G.      Environment

               Consideration of natural resources is an important item in planning future growth
               patterns. The characteristics of the natural environment including soils, topography,
               climate, water supply, and wildlife habitats is essential information in defining the
               region’s existing attributes and possible shortcomings. All understanding of these will
               guide regional and community leaders in maintaining a high quality of life and
               protecting the region’s future.

               The region’s climate is classified as humid-mesothermal (Cfa) according to the Koppen
               climate classification system. Winters are short and mildly cook with periodic cold
               spells moderating in 1-2 days. Summers are hot and humid. Annual precipitation
               typically ranges form 45 to 55 inches and is spread evenly throughout the year (2-5
               inches each month). Measurable snowfalls are very rare with a less than 5% probability
               each year. When they occur, snowfall amounts are most always less than one inch and
               melt quickly. In winter, the average minimum daily temperature is 39 F. In summer,
               the average maximum daily temperature is 90 F. The region’s growing season ranges
               from 8-9 months with an average of 250 days that have daily minimum temperatures
               greater than 32 degrees. The first winter freeze typically occurs in early November and
               the last freeze typically occurs in mid-March.




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               Annual precipitation runoff for the South Georgia Region si about 10 inclues, which
               equals approximately 81 billion cubic feet (606 billion gallons) of water. This
               represents the volume of water directly entering the region’s rivers and streams. The
               remaining water either evaporates or is absorbed by the ground. Surface drainage
               within the region is directed by a dendritic (branching tree-like) patters which flows
               generally southward. The region can be divided into 7 major drainage basins for major
               reivers in southern Georgia. Map 9 depicts these drainage basins within the South
               Georgia Region. These basins can be divided into two groups: one which drains
               eastward to the Atlantic Ocean (Ocmulgee and Satilla), and the other which drains
               generally southward toward the Gulf of Mexico (Apalaha, Aucilla, Flint, Swannee, and
               Withlacoochee). Both the Alapaha and the Withlacoochee flow southward into Florida
               and actually tributaries of the Swannee River. Together these rivers form part of the
               overall Suwannee River basin which comprises approximately 90% of the region.




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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                               Page 54




               Typical of coastal plain areas, most of the South Georgia Region’s consumer water
               comes from underground aquifers which are porous underground rock layers containing
               water. The main aquifer beneath the South Georgia Region of the Floridan aquifer
               which consists of confined limestone, dolostone, and calcarious sand. The aquifer
               serves as the water supply watershed for all of the reigion’s municipal water systems as
               well as many agricultural irrigation systems. Beneath the Floridan aquifer are the
               Claiborne and Clayton aquifers. The Floridan aquifer is principally recharged
               immediately south of the Fall Line which stretches across central Georgia from
               Columbus to Macon to Augusta. This immediately south of the Fall Line which
               stretches across central Georgia from Columbus to Macon to Augusta. This is the point
               at which streams from harder rock formations of the Piedmont cross into softer rock
               formations of the Coastal Plain. Most sedimentary rock formations of the Coastal Plain
               begin at the ground surface just south of the Fall Line, therefore this is where most
               aquifer water originates. Recharge can also occur at other points where the aquifer
               undips to become closer to the surface allowing water from streams, sink holes, and
               ponds to permeate through more shallow ground into the aquifer. Groundwater
               recharge areas in the South Georgia region are mostly limited to narrow strips running
               parallel to banks of the major rivers and streams as well as the limesink depressional
               areas of Lowndes and Lanier Counties. Map 10 depicts the groundwater recharge areas
               within the South Georgia Region. All aquifer recharge areas are vulnerable to both
               urban and agricultural development. Pollutants form stormwater runoff in urban areas,
               excess pesticides and fertilizers in agricultural areas, and septic tank drainfields in all
               areas, can access a groundwater aquifer more easily through these recharge areas. Once
               in the aquifer, pollutants can spread uncontrollably to other parts of the aquifer thereby
               decreasing or endangering water quality for an entire region. Therefore development of
               any kind in these areas, including installation of septic tanks, should be restricted or
               carefully managed.




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                  Freshwater wetlands are defined by federal law to be “those areas that are inundated or
                  saturated by surface or ground water at frequency and duration sufficient to support,
                  and that under normal circumstances support, a prevalence of vegetation typically
                  adapted for life in saturated soil conditions.” Wetlands generally include bogs,
                  marshes, wet prairies, and swamps of all kinds. Under natural condition, wetlands help
                  maintain and enhance water quality by filtering out sediments and certain pollutants
                  from adjacent land uses. They also store water, reduce the speed and magnitude of
                  flood waters, and serve as an important and viable habitat for plant and animal species.


                  Based on the state’s 2000 water usage report, total water consumption in the South
                  Georgia Region averages a little more than 115 million gallons per day. Approximately
                  76,000,000 gallons (66%) of this comes from groundwater and the remaining
                  39,000,000 gallons (34%) is from surface water. Table 17 depicts the breakdown of
                  water consumption in groundwater and surface water for each of the region’s nine
                  counties. These numbers were calculated from the million-gallons-per-day (mgd)
                  numbers in the 2000 Georgia Water Use by County report. They reflect data from state
                  water withdrawal permits which includes public water supplies and larger private users.
                  They do not include the numerous small water users, which are exempt from state
                  permitting. Therefore, water consumption is actually greater than indicated in the
                  tables below but this is the only available data that is consistent across county/regional
                  lines.


                                              TABLE 17
                   2000 Average Daily Water Consumption by County (number of gallons)
                              Groundwater                  Surface Water                Total Consumption
         County               number      %               number        %                number             %

 Ben Hill                    8,360,000         9.2         2,800,000          7.4           11,160,000            8.7
 Brooks                      4,930,000         5.4         1,390,000          3.7            6,320,000            4.9
 Cook                        7,850,000         8.7         4,040,000         10.7           11,890,000            9.3
 Echols                      6,070,000         6.7           530,000          1.4            6,600,000            5.1
 Irwin                       7,540,000         8.3         5,120,000         13.6           12,660,000            9.9
 Lanier                      2,300,000         2.5           440,000          1.2            2,740,000            2.1
 Lowndes                    29,610,000        32.7         3,060,000          8.1           32,670,000           25.5
 Tift                       16,990,000        18.7        10,580,000         28.1           27,570,000           21.5
 Turner                      6,980,000         7.7         9,680,000         25.7           16,660,000           13.0
 TOTAL                      90,630,000     100%           37,640,000        100%          128,270,000        100%




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                Total Consumption                    Groundwater Consumption                Surface Water Consumption



                                 Ben Hill                                                                      Ben Hill
                     Turner                                    Turner   Ben Hill
                                      Brooks                                                  Turner                Brooks
                                                                              Brooks
                                                        Tift                                                              Cook
                                        Cook                                       Cook

              Tift                                                                                                         Echols
                                            Echols
                                                                                   Echols
                                                                                                                           Irwin
                                       Irwin
                                                                               Irwin
                                                                                                                      Lanier
                                    Lanier                                  Lanier
                                                        Lowndes                                    Tift
                       Lowndes                                                                                      Lowndes




       H.      Other Pertinent Information

               Agriculture and rural development are cornerstones of the South Georgia region and
               one unique set of activities are located in close proximity to one another in Tifton.
               They are: National Environmentally Sound Production Agriculture Laboratory, Coastal
               Plan Experiment Station, Georgia Agrirama and the University of Georgia College of
               Agricultural and Environmental Sciences – Tifton Campus.

               National Environmentally Sound Production Agricultural Laboratory, or NESPAL, was
               formed in 1991. Today, NESPAL has evolved into an interdisciplinary research and
               education effort aimed at building a better environment for agriculture and rural
               America. NESPAL’s structure is a hybrid between the standard academic unit and the
               private sector partners it strives to help.

               The mission of the NESPAL Technology Center (TDC) is to foster the growth of
               agriculture-related technology companies in southern Georgia. This is a multifaceted
               economic development project with support from partners throughout the state. These
               partners include the Tift County Development Authority, the University of Georgia,
               and the Advanced Technology Development Center.

               The short-term expectations are that NESPAL Technology Development companies
               will deliver products and services that will increase the efficiency of Georgia’s
               agricultural producers thus making them more competitive. The long-term expectations
               are that these companies will create attractive employment opportunities for the young
               people of southern Georgia while acting as a magnet for other companies.

               The following are some divisions and projects at NESPAL:

               1. Center for Emerging Crops and Technologies
               2. Cotton Molecular Breeding Lab
               3. The Ozias-Akins Biotechnology Lab




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               Two of NESPAL’s research directions include apomixis gene discovery and plant
               biotechnology in peanut and grasses. Sustainable Agricultural systems research
               programs are focused in two areas. The first deals with utilizing by-products, such as
               animal waste, as a resource that benefits growers economically and environmentally.
               NESPAL’s team of researchers have come up with some clever, low maintenance ways
               to “process” by-products and add additional value to what was before considered waste.
               In some of these research programs processing occurs through plant and soil systems,
               in others, through insects.

               The sustainable ag programs have evolved to the point where additional partners, in
               both the public and private sector, are needed to carry them further towards
               implementation. Other areas include:

               1. Precision Agriculture.
               2. Water Use & Quality
               3. Native Plants
               4. Biotechnology & Plant Breeding


               Georgia Agrirama is the state’s official agriculture and living history museum. The
               Agrirama Village opened on July 4, 1976. The ninety-five acre site consists of four
               separate areas: a traditional farm community of the 1870’s, a progressive farmstead of
               the 1880’s, an industrial site complex, and a rural town. The historic site has more than
               45 buildings – everything from a train depot to the home of Tifton’s founder – that have
               been relocated to the museum. A railroad track with a 100 year old steam engine train
               circles the site. Other site attractions include authentic farmhouses, a one-room school,
               water-powered grist mill, sawmill, print shop with an operating flat-iron press,
               tutpentine still, cooper’s shed, blacksmith shop, feed and seed store, and a drug store
               with original marble-top soda fountain.

               The newest additions to the Agrirama include a 28,000 square foot Museum of
               Agriculture which houses 9,000 square feet of exhibit space, a Conference Center, and
               a new Country Store; also, Agrirama’s 42-site RV Park with full hook-ups is opened 7
               days a week, 24 hours a day. The museum caters to both students and tourists. More
               than 60,000 people visit every year, and about half of these visitors are schoolchildren.

               University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences – Tifton
               Campus is a multi-purpose conference facility offering complete continuing educational
               program services and facilities to organizations. is one of three main campuses of
               Georgia’s Agricultural Experiment Stations. The mission of the UGA Coastal Plain
               Experiment Station is to conduct both applied and basic research bearing directly and
               indirectly on the establishment, maintenance and improvement of economic and
               successful agriculture in Georgia, to improve the quality of life and our environment
               and to protect and improve our water and soil resources.




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               The station was established by an act of the Georgia General Assembly in 1918 and
               began operation in 1919. Research on agricultural commodities began on a 206-acre
               tract of land donated to the state by Captain H.H. Tift. Over the years the need for
               research has grown, and studies are carried out today on approximately 7,000 acres.

               Georgia Experiment Station researchers were pioneers in the worldwide success of
               turngrasses. “Tifway” and “TifGreen”, two Bermuda grass hybrids developed at the
               Coastal Plain Station in Tifton, cover more golf courses, athletic fields and lawns than
               any other variety in the world.

               UGA scientists perform research on more than 7,000 acres in South Georgia. Their
               projects include work on peanuts, cotton, corn, small grains, vegetables, fish, tobacco,
               forages, dairy and beef cattle, soybeans, tree fruits and nuts, turf grasses, hogs and
               ornamental horticulture crops.

               At the Tifton campus, almost 100 UGA scientists work with researchers from the U.S.
               Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Technical and support staff and student
               workers help them accomplish their research. Research departments include:

                   •   Agriculture and Applied Economics
                   •   Animal & Dairy Science
                   •   Biological & Agricultural Engineering
                   •   Crop and Soil Sciences
                   •   Crop Genetics and Breeding
                   •   Crop Protection and Management Research Unit
                   •   Entomology
                   •   Horticulture
                   •   Plant Pathology
                   •   Southeast Watershed & Research Laboratory

               The Tifton Campus has become an integral research component of the University of
               Georgia college of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and it has grown right
               along with agriculture. The campus now includes 7,000 acres in south Georgia with
               research farms and centers at Alma, Attapulgus, Camilla, Midville, Lyons, Midville and
               Plains. UGA researchers also collaborate with USDA Agricultural Research Service
               scientists based on the campus, a partnership that dates to 1924.

               Specialists with the UGA Cooperative Extension housed on the campus create dynamic
               extension programs that take the research to the people who can use it. They help them
               apply it to improve their lives and spark economic development. The UGA
               Cooperative Extension south district office and the Rural Development Center are also
               major parts of the campus.

               The Tifton Campus Conference Center currently provides 12,000 sq. ft. of flexible
               meeting space, with conferencing services that include classrooms and meeting



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               facilities for educational and non-profit organizations, including youth groups, farmers,
               homeowners and extension agents. This also includes a new 2,000 seat auditorium.

               The campus now has a growing teaching program. College-level instruction on the
               campus is aimed at undergraduate and graduate-degree level study. Students attending
               classes on the UGA Tifton Campus can earn a UGA Bachelor of Science in Agriculture
               degree without attending classes in Athens.

       D.      Strategic Findings from External Forces

               1. Problems. The impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement upon the
                  rural South has been far-reaching. This has been most keenly felt in the textile
                  industry, as many large textile companies began to report low earnings, job layoffs,
                  or plant closings. The demise of the textile industry is not just a matter of lost jobs
                  or shuttered factories to the South Georgia region, it has meant a lost way of life.

                   A surge in imported cotton products to the United States has decimated U.S. textile
                   mills. U.S. textile mills are now struggling just to stay in business. A recent
                   analysis from the National Cotton Council of America (NCC) shows that the entire
                   U.S. cotton infrastructure is being undermined because of the textile industry’s
                   economic crisis. The U.S. textile industry is virtually vanishing from the economic
                   landscape. This decline is not only harming textile workers and ancillary industries,
                   it is damaging cotton farmers within this rural economy.

                   Imports of foreign-manufacture textile and apparel products made from foreign
                   cottons are growing at a staggering rate, according to the NCC report. As the
                   industry’s infrastructure is dependent on the volume of business conducted between
                   these sectors, U.S. cotton prices have fallen amidst this decline in usage. The report
                   also states that the decline in U.S. mill demand for raw cotton directly affects the
                   economic health of other U.S. cotton industry sectors.

               2. Opportunities are found within rising oil prices. Across the country, consumers
                  are facing the highest gasoline prices in memory, while oil companies are reporting
                  record profits. The profits at ExxonMobil alone exceeded $25 billion in 2004 with
                  every expectation that they will continue to increase. The Wall Street Journal
                  recently reported, “Exxon Mobil Corporation is gushing money. Amid soaring
                  crude-oil prices, it recently reported a fourth-quarter profit that amounted to the
                  fattest quarterly take for publicly traded U.S. company ever: $8.4 billion. That
                  translated into $3.8 million an hour.” Sources report that oil companies continue to
                  import high priced crude oil from the Middle East and everywhere, engage in
                  mergers that further reduce already constrained competition, and avoid, wherever
                  possible, blending their gasoline with alternative fuels like ethanol.

                   In the past, some consumers have expressed skepticism of blending ethanol into
                   gasoline. But in the face of rising gasoline prices that skepticism is beginning to
                   wane. Many critical public officials now point to the benefits of building local



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                   production capacity in their jurisdictions to create jobs and markets for farmers and
                   lower gas prices.

                   Contributing to the changing attitude toward ethanol is the fact that prices for
                   ethanol have declined while prices for gasoline now exceed $3.00 per gallon in
                   many parts of the country. As Business Week recently reported, “…since the start
                   of the year, the wholesale price of ethanol has fallen more than 20%, to around
                   $1.20 a gallon, while black gold is soaring to record highs.” Given the decline in
                   ethanol prices, it was expected that oil companies would increase their purchases of
                   ethanol beyond what is required by the Clean Air Act. However, oil companies are
                   not expanding their purchases of lower-priced ethanol, but are continuing to
                   purchase expensive crude oil and raising gasoline prices to consumers. This is
                   contrary to popular expectations. Frustrated, some ethanol producers are beginning
                   to export their product. This creates a situation of lower-priced ethanol leaving the
                   country while higher-priced oil enters it-hardly an indication of rational economic
                   behavior.

                   Changing consumer perceptions about the benefits of ethanol are reinforced by
                   several recent developments:

                       •   Rising gasoline prices amidst declining ethanol prices.
                           At a time when the price of gasoline all over the country is increasing, the
                           price of ethanol has been declining in part because of increased production,
                           but in part because oil companies are refusing to purchase the available
                           supplies to blend with their gasoline.

                       •   Major oil companies cost consumers as much as 8 cents a gallon by
                           boycotting lower cost ethanol
                           With today’s price differential between the wholesale price of ethanol and
                           the average wholesale price of gasoline, consumers summers who purchase
                           gasoline blended with 10% ethanol could be saving as much as eight cents a
                           gallon if oil companies purchased ethanol instead of importing more
                           expensive foreign oil.

                       •   Terminal and other infrastructure exists to handle additional ethanol
                           supplies in markets across the country.

                           Companies have built capacity- terminals, storage tanks, blending
                           equipment – to use ethanol. But even though this capacity exists, oil
                           companies have chosen to purchase more expensive petroleum instead of
                           ethanol.

                   The consumer implications of the refusal to use more ethanol are clear. While
                   gasoline refiners are using as much ethanol as required, the same refiners are not
                   buying lower-cost ethanol in other gasoline markets. Thus, consumers in many
                   parts of the country where ethanol can be delivered to existing storage and terminal


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                        facilities are not receiving lower cost supplies and are paying as much as 8 cents a
                        gallon more at the pump than they would if oil refiners purchased ethanol to blend.

                        If local entrepreneurs have their way, it will not be too late to change the course of
                        our consumption levels. A local biofuel company is planning to use this renewable
                        resource for energy. Two other groups in South Georgia have expressed interest in
                        having ethanol plants located with the immediate region.

                        Other opportunities can be found in the Students in Free Enterprise Program at
                        Valdosta State University. Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) is a nonprofit
                        international student organization. VSU SIFE students work as teams to design
                        educational outreach programs that help people develop the skills needed to succeed
                        in the free enterprise system. In 2004-05, VSU SIFE completed 46 service-learning
                        projects and volunteered over 12,000 community hours. Their projects ranged from
                        one-time programs to 9-month undertakings.



           J.        Economic Development Investments
                     1.   Past
                          a.      Industrial Parks have become essential as a tool for economic
                          development. The old days of just showing any piece of property are gone as
                          the competition for industry has increased. All counties, except Echols, have
                          designated industrial properties. Listed below are the area industrial parks as on
                          file with a Economic Development Administration-funded website,
                          http://www.gisweb.com/eda and the Georgia Power Company.




                                                 Table 18
                                              Site Summary
                                South Georgia RDC Industrial/Business Sites
                                           Report Date: 2006
                                                                  Excess          Excess
     Industrial/                              Total    Remain.
                             City/County                          Water           Sewer            Rail
    Business Site                             Acres     Acres
                                                                  (mgd)           (mgd)
Colony City                                                                                       CSX
                          Fitzgerald/Ben Hill    450         50         3.04        3.24
Industrial Park                                                                               Transportation
Forward Fitzgerald                                                                                CSX
                          Fitzgerald/Ben Hill    450        85.9        3.04        3.24
Industrial Park                                                                               Transportation
Millennium                Fitzgerald/Ben Hill
                                                 212         212        3.04        3.24
Technology Pointe             Ocilla/Irwin




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                                                                    Excess   Excess
     Industrial/                                Total     Remain.
                            City/County                             Water    Sewer          Rail
    Business Site                               Acres      Acres
                                                                    (mgd)    (mgd)
                                                                                           CSX
Airport Tract            Fitzgerald/Ben Hill      20         20      3.04     3.24
                                                                                       Transportation
Massee Tract             Fitzgerald/Ben Hill     147         147     3.04     3.24
                                                                                           CSX
Pioneer Tract            Fitzgerald/Ben Hill     111         111     3.04     3.24
                                                                                       Transportation
                                                                                           CSX
Ross Tract               Fitzgerald/Ben Hill     162         162     3.04     3.24
                                                                                       Transportation
Brooks County                                                                              CSX
                           Quitman/Brooks        245         239     0.37
Industrial Park                                                                        Transportation
Adel                                                                                  Norfolk Southern
                             Adel/Cook            40         40      1.51     1.57
Industrial Park                                                                            Corp.

Montgomery Property          Adel/Cook            90         90      1.51     1.57    Georgia & Florida

South Cook Mega                                                                       Norfolk Southern
                             Adel/Cook           2000       2000     1.51     1.57
Industrial District                                                                        Corp.
Southern Paper –
                             Adel/Cook           162         162     0.05     0.07
Corbit Property
Ocilla-Irwin North
                             Ocilla/Irwin        100         35      0.16    0.125
Industrial Park
Lakeland-Lanier
                           Lakeland/Lanier       44.8       44.8     0.35     0.27
County Industrial Park
Azalea East                                                                           Norfolk Southern
                          Valdosta/Lowndes       103         73      2.94     1.35
Industrial Park                                                                            Corp.
Azalea West
                          Valdosta/Lowndes       261         138     2.94     1.35
Industrial Park
Perimeter East                                                                        Norfolk Southern
                          Valdosta/Lowndes       116         43      2.94     1.35
Industrial Park                                                                            Corp.
Perimeter West                                                                        Norfolk Southern
                          Valdosta/Lowndes       248         245     2.94     1.35
Industrial Park                                                                            Corp.
Hahira
                          Valdosta/Lowndes       164        47.9     0.17      0
Business Park
Lake Park
                          Valdosta/Lowndes       153         116              0.12
Industrial Park
Valdosta Airport Site     Valdosta/Lowndes       189         189     2.94     1.35
Magnolia
International                                                                         Norfolk Southern
                              Tifton/Tift        946         615     3.36     3.78
                                                                                           Corp.
Business Park
Union Road Industrial
                              Tifton/Tift        100         70      3.36     3.78
Park



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                                                                       Excess     Excess
     Industrial/                                Total     Remain.
                            City/County                                Water      Sewer              Rail
    Business Site                               Acres      Acres
                                                                       (mgd)      (mgd)
The Crossings                                                                                   Norfolk Southern
                              Tifton/Tift        420         100        3.36       3.78
Distribution Park                                                                                    Corp.
Ashburn                                                                                         Norfolk Southern
                           Ashburn/Turner        650         200        0.97       0.33
Industrial District                                                                                  Corp.
North Ashburn
                           Ashburn/Turner        214         214        0.97       0.33
Industrial Site
Ashburn-Turner
                           Ashburn/Turner        120         120        0.97       0.33
North Industrial Park
U. S. Highway 41                                                                                Norfolk Southern
                           Ashburn/Turner        430         430        0.97       0.33
North Property                                                                                       Corp.

    ______________________________________
    Source: 2006 Listing of Available Industrial Properties. Georgia Power/South Georgia RDC.




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                       b.     Speculatively built buildings and other available buildings are as
                       important to industrial recruitment as are industrial parks. Many times a
                       prospect’s visit to examine an available building turns into an opportunity to
                       show the community and other industrial properties and new construction
                       options. Table 19 shows the available buildings currently listed with the
                       Georgia Department of Economic Development.


                                                    Table 19
                                   Available Buildings in South Georgia RDC
 City/County               Size             Name                Construction                  Use                Acres
 Fitzgerald/Ben Hill     210,000     Interstate Warehouse     Masonry & Metal   Warehouse & Distribution.         17

 Fitzgerald/Ben Hill      40,000     Kaminsky Building        Masonry           Textiles                           5

 Quitman/Brooks           31,654     Brooks Co. Sausage       Masonry & Metal   Meat Processing                   10

 Quitman/Brooks           2,000      North Jefferson Street   Metal             Retail                             0

 Adel/Cook                36,000     Bassford (YB #2)         Metal             Warehouse & Distribution.

 Adel/Cook                36,000     RAN Manufacturing        Masonry & Metal   Plastics

 Lakeland/Lanier          34,000     Bi-State Building        Masonry & Metal   Misc. Manufacturing

 Valdosta/Lowndes        120,000     Clay Road Spec #2        Metal

 Valdosta/Lowndes        120,000     Clay Industrial Spec.    Metal

 Valdosta/Lowndes         75,000     Azalea City Ind. Park    Metal             Warehouse & Distribution.

 Valdosta/Lowndes         62,665     West Building Supply     Masonry & Metal   Retail                             3

 Valdosta/Lowndes         60,000     M.E. Thompson #7         Metal             Warehouse & Distribution.

 Valdosta/Lowndes         60,000     Clay Industrial Spec.    Metal                                                3

 Valdosta/Lowndes         57,265     Orvis Building           Metal                                                3

 Valdosta/Lowndes         55,000     Clay Industrial Spec     Metal

 Valdosta/Lowndes         50,000     Clay Industrial Spec     Metal

 Valdosta/Lowndes         46,302     Elec-Tec Building        Metal             Electronics                        4

 Valdosta/Lowndes         40,000     Clay Industrial Spec     Metal

 Valdosta/Lowndes         36,000     Letica #1                Metal             Plastics                           2

 Valdosta/Lowndes         36,000     TI Group                 Metal             Transportation Equipment           2

 Valdosta/Lowndes         36,000     Bassford Building        Metal                                                3



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 City/County               Size             Name                Construction              Use                  Acres
 Valdosta/Lowndes         36,000     Total Supply            Metal

 Valdosta/Lowndes         36,000     Letica #2               Metal             Transportation Equipment          2

 Valdosta/Lowndes         30,000     Clay Industrial Spec.   Metal

 Valdosta/Lowndes         30,000     Clay Industrial Spec.   Metal

 Valdosta/Lowndes         14,738     Tucker Road Bldg.       Masonry & Metal

 Valdosta/Lowndes         11,150     Business Pkwy. Bldg.    Masonry & Metal

 Valdosta/Lowndes         10,000     Hasco Bldg. #2          Metal                                               1

 Valdosta/Lowndes         7,500      True Cut                Metal

 Tifton/Tift             109,728     Tifton Building         Masonry           Textiles                          8

 Tifton/Tift             101,047     Tifton Wal-Mart         Masonry & Metal   Retail                           20

 Tifton/Tift              21,000     Bowen Square            Masonry           Textiles

 Ashburn/Turner           44,000     Warehousers             Metal             Lumber & Wood Products           10

 Ashburn/Turner           40,420     Buddy Cohen Bldg.       Masonry           Apparel                           7

 Ashburn/Turner           26,400     Triple H Properties     Metal                                               5




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               3. Present

                       a.     SEEDS Center. At the celebration of the SEEDS Center’s first year in
                       business last October, SEEDS Center officials announced a $10,000 grant to the
                       Chamber from Georgia Power that makes it possible for the Valdosta-Lowndes
                       Chamber to take the SEEDS Center regional. Now known as the SEEDS
                       Center of South Georgia, the Chamber serves five additional surrounding
                       counties through participating chambers in Adel-Cook, Nashville-Berrien,
                       Echols, Lakeland-Lanier, and Quitman-Brooks. SEEDS stands for Sowing
                       Entrepreneur and Economic Development Success.

                         To guide the SEEDS Center of South Georgia, a regional advisory board
                         under the leadership of Terri Lupo, Georgia Power Vice President of the
                         South Region, is working to provide the services local entrepreneurs need to
                         grow and prosper. “We have great potential in the palm of our hands,” stated
                         Lupo. “The SEEDS Center of South Georgia will provide invaluable research
                         and demographic information as well as innovative programs and publications
                         to assist entrepreneurs and existing businesses. This program holds the power
                         to take our region to the highest levels of economic development success.”

                         The list of services provided by the SEEDS Center of South Georgia makes
                         the center, which is located within the Valdosta-Lwondes Chamber but is
                         accessible through each local chamber, a first-stop resource center for
                         entrepreneurs and existing businesses. These services are available without
                         cost to anyone in the six-county area, regardless of chamber membership.
                         The ABC’s of Starting a Business is an all-inclusive resource guide of how to
                         start a business including worksheets, guides, and contact information
                         necessary to start a business.

                         The Center can also generate customized reports for any location in the United
                         States through a program called DecisionData, including the most up-to-date
                         population demographics, income levels, general employment information,
                         household information, mature market information, consumer expenditures,
                         disposable income, and traffic counts. An enhanced feature of DecisionData
                         is MOSAIC which can provide detailed information for geographic
                         subgroups. This service is free.

                         A program known as FranChoice provides information regarding franchising
                         opportunities in the South Georgia Region and across the globe. It ‘matches’
                         potential franchisees with the franchise that’s right for them.

                         The SEEDS Center of South Georgia also provides information on
                         franchising, business guides, and reference materials to meet your business
                         needs. They are also making plans to expand the services to include Dodge




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                         Construction Reports and GIS mapping capabilities. The Center served 392
                         clients in 2005, with plans to serve many more in the years ahead.

                         b. Triple Crown Hometowns. Retiree attraction has been a regional priority
                         in Valdosta-Lowndes County and the Quitman-Brooks County for the past
                         seven years. In 1999, an evaluation committee was formed to determine the
                         feasibility of marketing the communities to affluent retirees. Ronald J.
                         Manheimer, director of the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement at
                         the University of North Carolina at Asheville, provided the group with input
                         stating that the area was extremely positive in terms of having the amenities
                         retirees are looking for in a retirement destination. He also cited the asset of
                         Valdosta State University, the availability of cultural activities, its location
                         and climate, the quality healthcare facilities, the attractive housing and
                         recreational amenities, and the reasonable cost of living.

                         The committee went to work, and in 2001 a retirement development
                         partnership was formed. In 2005, Lakeland-Lanier County was added to the
                         partnership. The current organization of Triple Crown Hometowns for the
                         three communities is provided through a joint agreement between the
                         respective Lowndes and Brooks Boards of Commission, Lakeland City
                         Council and the Chambers of Commerce. The vision of the initiative is to
                         provide diversification of the local economy with additional income resources
                         through retiree attraction. The Chambers of Commerce in the three
                         communities have enlisted over 40 sponsoring businesses that have provided
                         funding commitments this year in the amount of $80,000. The local
                         governments can provide commitments, in addition to the in-kind
                         contributions of facility use and staffing provided by the sponsoring chambers
                         of commerce, estimated at $20,000.

                         The investment takes place both within and outside of the identified three
                         county area. Magazine advertisements purchased will have a circulation over
                         the entire southern area of the United States, and the billboard placements will
                         be invested along the Interstate 75 corridor. These advertising efforts are
                         expected to have tremendous results, as evidenced from responses from
                         existing tools. The Triple Crown web site, www.georgiaretire.com, has had
                         over 243,510 hits during the past 12 months. A single advertisement in Where
                         to Retire magazine resulted in 342 retiree newcomer prospect leads. The
                         program currently has over 2,436 prospect leads, with inquiries from 48 states.
                         Ninety retiree households have been assisted in relocating to the area. Based
                         upon the profile of the typical retiree with $33,000 of disposable income
                         annually and $320,000 in liquid assets, these ninety relocations bring $28.8
                         million in liquid assets to the area and $3 million in disposable income
                         annually. The economic impact is the equivalent of 135 new industrial jobs.
                         The multiplier effect of these relocations in terms of new job creation is 1.5
                         new jobs.




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               4. Future

                       a.      Millennium Technology Pointe. Local officials in the cities of
                       Fitzgerald and Ocilla and the counties of Ben Hill and Irwin have been
                       collaborating on the concept of a technology park for the past several years.
                       That idea has now almost become a reality. The local governments formed the
                       Ben Hill-Irwin Area Joint Development Authority (JDA) to spearhead the
                       management and funding of the named Millennium Technology Pointe (MTP).
                       The Fitzgerald Water, Light and Bond Commission (FWLB) will owns the
                       water and sewer utilities extended to MTP. Through the receipt of two state
                       funding sources, a OneGeorgia Authority (OGA) grant for $500,000 and a State
                       of Georgia Regional Assistance Program grant for $500,000, the 212-acre site
                       for the MTP was purchased in.

                       The benefits to the project are The first benefit is the will be the tenants whod
                       will create high-skilled, high-paying jobs. Future tenants will be served with
                       trained employees through the second major benefit, a $10 million-dollar Rural
                       Telecommunications Technical Center at the neighboring East Central
                       Technical College (ECTC). The State of Georgia has approved the construction
                       of this center in their current budget. The JDA proposes to bring high capacity
                       bandwidth to this rural area of the state at prices that will attract commerce.

       K.      Economic Clusters

               The Partnership for Metropolitan Development (PMD) is a four-county organization
               promoting the development of the Valdosta-Lowndes metropolitan statistical area
               (MSA). The MSA and PMD counties are Brooks, Echols, Lanier, and Lowndes.
               Working with the South Georgia Regional Development Center, the PMD secured
               funding to contract with Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EII) to conduct
               research to help the PMD with its objectives.

               The PMD formed a task force in 2004 called the “Targeted Business Clusters Task
               Force.” The purpose of the task force was “to develop a new economic development
               strategy for our community,” according to the minutes of the first meeting on
               September 13, 2004. This was to be accomplished in two phases. Phase I would
               conduct a research study to identify business clusters that drive the regional economy,
               offer the best opportunity for further growth of quality jobs, and have the ability to hire
               graduates Valdosta State University (VSU). Phase II would develop a marketing
               strategy to accomplish the Phase I recommendations.

               The Economic Cluster Report contains the methods, data, results, and recommendations
               of Phase I. EII staff employed a methodology it has used several times for other
               metropolitan areas in the state. All of these metropolitan areas desired to diversity their
               economies, raise their average wages, and grow technology-based clean industries.




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               Each of these goals is compatible with what the PMD ultimately wanted to accomplish
               for its region.

               EII’s research plan for this type of project involved two major efforts: (1) an asset
               inventory to find underutilized assets in the region that could be leveraged to meet these
               goals, and (2) an examination of the region’s existing industries to identify high-wage
               industry sectors that provide opportunities for further growth and development.

               Defined Study Region

               This study refers to several different multi-county regions in south Georgia, and overlap
               may cause some confusion. For example, there is the four-county MSA comprising
               Brooks, Echols, Lanier, and Lowndes, a designation of the Federal Office of
               management and Budget. Elsewhere appears the Georgia Department of Labor’s
               (GDOL) 10-county workforce investment area (WIA), which contains the Valdosta-
               Lowndes MSA. And in the section on an existing industry and trends, the study region
               is defined as the MSA plus Berrien and Cook counties, based on 2003 job data and
               commuting patters from the 2000 census. Throughout the report, the latter six-county
               region was EII’s study region.

               Recommendations of the Cluster Strategy

               The primary goals of the research were to help the PMD assess what opportunities
               existed for: (1) strengthening selected high-wage basic industries, (2) growing selected
               high-wage non-manufacturing firms, and (3) working with VSU and Valdosta Tech to
               gear degree programs to the needs of these targeted industries. As one strategy to grow
               selected non-manufacturing industries, the PMD wants to foster entrepreneurial activity
               that taps the strengths of VSU and VTC graduates and faculty.

               The study discussed the results of EII’s investigation into the region’s assets as they
               relate to fostering high-wage and high-technology industry. That exercise served two
               purposes. One, it collected, into one document, what the region has to work with in
               infrastructure, and information technology. Two it determined whether any specialized
               assets exist that offer unrealized opportunities to leverage into new high-wage job
               growth.

               The asset inventory also looked at how well the education system is preparing students
               for an increasingly technical future, and how well basic institutions like local
               government are making use of information technologies to offer services more
               efficiently, as well as connect the community through public websites that offer
               avenues to opportunities for recreational activities, learning, arts, and more.
               Government regulations such as permitting-that require businesses to submit
               applications, documentation, plans, and other date-can be done over advanced websites
               and reduce the time it takes to get approval. This helps business start-ups where time
               and money determines success.




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               Industry Recommendations

               McRae Communications conducted a study in 2004 of the Valdosta MSA region. The
               study reported results from interviews with local, regional, and statewide leaders.
               McRae researchers reported that local leaders thought the following were best suited
               for the region:

                   •   Technology Manufacturing
                   •   Light Industrial
                   •   Businesses that recruit from VSU and VTC
                   •   Service Industry

               Asked the same question, state leaders gave these results:

                   •   Distribution
                   •   Agribusiness
                   •   Technology
                   •   Manufacturing
                   •   Food processing
                   •   Plastics

               Businesses that have relocated to the region gave these responses:

                   •   Distribution
                   •   Manufacturing
                   •   Businesses that recruit from VSU and VTC

               Some form of manufacturing or light industrial is found in each group’s
               choices(plastics and food processing are also manufacturing). But local leaders and
               relocated businesses mentioned firms that can hire the graduates from VSU and VTC,
               which the PMD task force has declared as its most important goal in devising a
               business growth strategy.

               Manufacturing Recommendations
               Basic industries are the engines of regional growth. Through their ability to inject
               “new” money into the regional economy, additional employment and income impacts
               result. EII examined the regional manufacturing sector for industries that are
               concentrated in the region, pay relatively high wages, and are forecast to grow
               nationally. Several five-digit NAICS industries were selected in transportation
               equipment, food manufacturing, and wood products, as listed below:

                   •   Transportation Equipment
                          o NAICS 33637 – Motor Vehicle Stamping
                          o NAICS 33661 – Ship Building
                   •   Food Manufacturing
                          o NAICS 31122 – Starch and Vegetable Fats and Oils


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                   •   Wood Products
                         o NAICS 32121 – Veneer, Plywood, and Engineered Wood Products

               Non-Manufacturing Recommendations
               Most of the resources in this project were focused on high-wage non-manufacturing
               firms. These firms primarily service the regional basic industries, but they also may be
               selling services outside the study region, and therefore qualify as basic industry to some
               extent. Thirty-five, 5-digit NAICS industries were selected initially because their
               average weekly wages met the high-wage criterion. From that list, 10 were chosen as
               targets by considering whether the industry has a significant presence in the region
               (high location quotient), pays very high-wages, or requires occupations that could be
               filled by VSU graduates. These 10 targets are as follows:

                   •   Finance and Insurance
                          o NAICS 52312 – Securities Brokerage
                          o NAICS 52391 – Miscellaneous Intermediation
                          o NAICS 52412 – Direct Insurance (except Life, Health, and Medical
                              Carriers)
                   •   NAICS 55111 – Management of Companies and Enterprises
                   •   NAICS 56221 – Waste Treatment and Disposal
                   •   NAICS 62151 – Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories
                   •   Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
                          o NAICS 54131 – Architectural Services
                          o NAICS 54134 – Drafting Services
                          o NAICS 54151 – Computer Systems Design and Related Services
                          o NAICS 54171 – Research and Development in Physical, Engineering,
                              and Life Sciences.

               Action Recommendations

               Although the goals of this research project do not include development of a strategic
               plan, recommendations are provided below that should be part of that process. This list
               is not meant to be exhaustive. More brainstorming by the local Targeted Business
               Cluster Task Force will be needed, and that will help infuse local knowledge into an
               action plan that only those who live and work in the region can provide.

                   •   Get to know the businesses targeted. Interview these businesses to find out why
                       they are located in the study region, what they need to grow and stay
                       competitive, who their clients are, and whether their supply chain (if relevant) is
                       regional.
                   •   Foster the presence of networks within the selected industries. These networks
                       should help facilitate the development of strategic relationships or partnerships,
                       collaborations, information sharing, and knowledge building, all key ingredients
                       for success in further development of the industry.
                   •   Consider designating an “industry manager” to be in regular contact with
                       members of the industry network to understand current and emerging needs


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                       (workforce, infrastructure, technology, etc.), help identify training needs for
                       VSU and VTC, connect members with appropriate resources, and provide other
                       needed support.
                   •   Foster technology adoption among these firms to increase their productivity and
                       enhance their competitiveness.
                   •   Create a technology alliance to help firms across industries adopt technology
                       and use it effectively.
                   •   Consider what occupations these businesses need to meet their workforce needs
                       (through the interview mentioned in the first bullet). Match these occupations
                       with degrees at VSU and VTC and look for gaps in occupation/degree matches.

               Whether VSU can change its degree programs to accommodate what the last bullet
               would reveal is difficult for this project to assess. Only through discussions with VSU
               administrators can it be determined. VTC’s administration has stated that the school is
               continually adapting courses and degrees to the needs of local business. However, its
               two-year degree/certification programs are probably not as well-suited to the targeted
               non-manufacturing sectors as are VSU’s degrees. Still, VTC should be able to fulfill
               many of the workforce needs of the manufacturing industries recommended above.

               A few additional recommendations that are not directly a result of the industry
               recommendations are:

                   •   Researchers found one instance of a business spin-off by a faculty member of
                       VSU. There may be more opportunities for such spin-offs from VSU and also
                       from VTC. This should be encouraged and facilitated.
                   •   Push intellectual capital/research out of VSU and into local business. VSU is
                       not a research university, but there may still be some opportunities for
                       commercializing faculty inventions, patents, or licenses material. These
                       opportunities should be investigated.
                   •   Create entrepreneurial programs at VSU and VTC that help graduating students
                       start businesses in the region. Valdosta has been designated an “entrepreneurial
                       friendly community” by state government, so this should be a natural for the
                       study region.
                   •   Sixty-nine percent of Lowndes High School graduates who attend college in
                       Georgia go to VSU, and 31 percent go elsewhere in the state. Similarly, Sixty-
                       five percent of Valdosta High School Graduates who attend college in Georgia
                       go to VSU, and 35 percent go elsewhere in the state. Encourage students who
                       attend other colleges to return to the study region to start businesses or join
                       existing businesses. A targeted marketing campaign may help with this.

II.    PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS

The RDC operates under the authority of a 36-member board of directors, who meet monthly. The
Board of Directors is responsible for setting overall policy for the RDC. The Board of Directors
consists of the chief elected official of each county seat, city, and county plus one representative. The
at-large representative is either from the private sector or an elected official from a small member city.


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The “bottom up” approach provides the mechanism which ensures that the goals, strategies, and
objectives of the regional agenda are created from the local level.

Two other Boards are an integral part of the goals and objectives set forth by the RDC Board. The
RDC Board Vice-Chairman chairs the Workforce Development Board created from the Workforce
Investment Act. This Board actively seeks minority business involvement and provides input to the
RDC Board and regional CEDS committee. The Board of Directors for the South Georgia Area
Resource Development Agency, Inc. (ARDA) is a non-profit corporation made up of private
businessmen, bankers, and elected officials that consider in-house revolving loan funds and Small
Business Administration (SBA) loan fund applications. This Board also provides input to the RDC
Board and regional CEDS committee.

With the assistance of RDC support staff, each member unit of government prepares a comprehensive
plan that identifies the Short-term Work Program (STWP) for that area. The local CEDS committee is
actively involved in this process and transfers the local STWP information to the regional CEDS
Committee. The regional CEDS committee issues the regional comprehensive plan or “regional
agenda” that identifies the regional goals and objectives along with the individuals strategies. Support
staff of the RDC assists in the preparation of this regional agenda that is adopted by the RDC Board of
Directors. This regional agenda is the annual update to the CEDS. The anticipated development
projects list identifies the economic development direction of the region and the probably funding
sources.

The South Georgia Workforce Development Board serves as the Strategy Committee for the
Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy of the South Georgia Economic Development
District. This committee is diverse, and represents the main economic interests of the region. It also is
comprised of Private Sector Representatives that make up a majority of its membership. The
Workforce Development Board is made up of public officials, community leaders, institutions of
higher education, minority and labor groups, as well as private individuals. Three meetings were held
during the year of 2006 by the Strategy Committee to bring the CEDS from concept to completion.
An Advisory Committee of Economic Development Professionals from each of the communities were
also enlisted to provide feedback to the versatility of the document.

Public comment on this proposal was also invited through the public advertisements of each Strategy
Committee meeting, through its formation and adoption by the Board of Directors of the South
Georgia Regional Development Center.




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III.         GOALS AND OBJECTIVES: DEFINING REGIONAL EXPECTATIONS

  Each local plan prepared for the region was reviewed for the purpose of identifying any implementation activities that were likely to have a
  significant impact on regional economic development.

                                                                                                                                               SFY    SFY    SFY    SFY                                Cost         Funding
             Goal                            Objectives                                   Implementation Strategies                            2007   2008   2009   2010      Responsibility        Estimate         Source
  3-1 Coordinate local, state,    3-1.1 Ongoing economic             3-1.1 Support/cosponsor and otherwise facilitate programs, projects       >>>    >>>    >>>    >>>    RDC, RAC 11,             $5,000/yr.   Local, State &
  and    federal   economic       development programs that          and activities of Regional Advisory Council 11.                                                       Local, State, Federal,                Federal
  development planning and        result in improvements in the                                                                                                            Government
  implementation.                 regional tax base and jobs.
                                  3-1.2 Adequate transportation      3.12 Facilitate coordination and cooperation between local                >>>    >>>    >>>    >>>    RDC, RAC 11,             $15,000/y    Local, State,
                                  systems to meet the needs of       development authorities, RDC’s, RAC 11, University of Georgia,                                        Local, State, Federal    r.           Federal and
                                  existing and new businesses        Georgia Tech, Georgia Department of Economic Development.                                                                                   Corporate
                                  and industries including a
                                  connection of all counties to
                                  interstate highways with four-
                                  lane roads.
                                                                     3.13 Study existing industries, special or unique economic activities     >>>    >>>    >>>    >>>    RDC, RAC 11,             Varies by    Local, State,
                                                                     and recent trends in small businesses to attempt to identify potential                                Local, State and         project      Federal and
                                                                     satellite industries or other economic development ideas or potential                                 Federal                               Corporate
                                                                     projects (research and market studies).
                                                                     3.1.4. Support regional approach to highway development including         >>>    >>>    >>>    >>>    RDC, RAC 11, Local       $5,000/yr.   State/Federal
                                                                     development of a regional transportation plan addressing transit, rail,
                                                                     air and highway development.
  3-2 Effective communi-          3.2-1 Effective utilization of     3.21 Continue to provide facilitation and technical assistance to the     >>>    >>>    >>>    >>>    RDC, RAC 11              $5,000       Local, State,
  cation     and      economic    communication technologies         SGRDC technology committee.                                                                                                                 Federal
  development marketing and       in economic development
  access to local, regional and   presentation     and      other
  statewide data bases.           marketing efforts.                 3.22 Seek resources/funding to support programs, projects and             >>>    >>>    >>>    >>>    RDC, RAC 11, Local       $5,000/y     Local, State,
                                                                     activities identified by the technology committee.                                                    State and Federal                     Federal, Private


                                                                     3.23 Continue to train local economic development professionals in        >>>    >>>    >>>    >>>    RDC, RAC 11,             $3,000       Local, State,
                                                                     the utilization of communication technologies and/or GIS.                                             Local, State and                      Federal
                                                                                                                                                                           Federal

                                                                     3.24 Continue expansion and updating of local GIS databases and           >>>    >>>    >>>    >>>    RDC, State, Federal      $10,000/y    Local, State
                                                                     making these databases available to statewide development
                                                                     organizations.
  3-3 Public services and         3-3.1 Industrial                   3.31 Assist local and regional industrial development organizations       >>>    >>>    >>>    >>>    Local, RDC               $25,000/y    DCA, EDA,
  facilities  adequate    to      Parks/properties, with all         with development of grants-in-aid applications for industrial/business                                                                      RDC
  accommodate existing and        necessary infrastructure and       development consistent with local and regional objectives. Assist
  future economic growth.         transportation links, to attract   with project implementation as requested.
                                  new and expanding
                                  businesses and industries to       3.32 Research and make available various state and federal grants         >>>    >>>    >>>    >>>    RDC, RAC 11              Varied by    State Federal
                                  the region.                        and loan programs that can be utilized for local or regional                                                                   project




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                                                       infrastructure development.
                      3-3.2 Availability of
                      speculatively build or other     3.33 Develop and implement a strategy for identifying and                  >>>     >>>   >>>   >>>   RDC, RAC 11, Local   $3,000     Local, State
                      buildings to attract new and     maintaining an up-to-date listing of available buildings for marketing                                                    start-up
                      expanding businesses and         locally and with statewide development organizations.                                                                     $1,000/y
                      industries to the region.
                                                       3.34 Research and make available various state and federal grants          >>>     >>>   >>>   >>>   RDC, RAC 11, Local   $5,000/y   Local, State,
                      3-3.3 Availability of adequate   and loan programs that can be utilized as resources or incentives for                                                                Federal, Private
                      financing and/or financial       industrial and/or business expansions.
                      incentives to attract new and
                      expanding businesses and
                      industries to the region.




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IV.    STRATEGIC PROJECTS, PROGRAMS, AND ACTIVITIES

       A.      Suggested Projects List

       Description             Location                Estimated Costs   Funding Sources

                                   ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

1.     Redevelop         Cook                          $500,000          State/Local
       Downtown Property

2.     Begin Development Cook                          $11,000,000       EDA/Local/
       of New Ind. Park                                                  State/Private

3.     Assist Expanding        Cook                    $3,000,000        State/Local/Private
       Business

4.     Redevelop         Tift                          $400,000          State/Local/Private
       Downtown Property

5.     Assist New          Turner                      $3,880,000        State/Private
       Commercial Business

6.     Construct Tech.          Ben Hill               $2,000,000        EDA/State/
       Incubator Building                                                Local/Private

7.     Locate Industrial       Ben Hill                $2,210,000        State/Local/Private
       Business

8.     Develop Industrial      Irwin                   $4,000,000        EDA/State/
       Park                                                              Local/Private

9      Construct Industrial    Cook                    $6,000,000        State/Local/Private
       Facility

10.    Begin Development Brooks                        $4,000,000        EDA/Local/State
       of New Ind. Park

11.    Construct Industrial    Lowndes                 $4,000,000        EDA/State/
       Park                                                              Local/Private

12.    Locate Industrial       Ben Hill                $2,700,000        State/Local/Private
       Business

13.    Metro Strategy          Regional                $100,000          EDA/Local/Private
       Study


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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                      Page 79


       Description             Location                Estimated Costs     Funding Sources

14.    Assist Expanding        Ben Hill-Irwin          $9,000,000          State/Local/Private
       Cargo Business

15.    Assist Retiree       Regional                   $180,000            State/Local/Private
       Attraction Marketing
       Program

16.    Extend Airport          Ben Hill; Brooks;       $6,000,000          State/Local
       Runways                 Turner

17.    Streetscape             Cook; Lowndes           $870,000            State
       Enhancement

18.    Infrastructure for      Cook                    $16,000,000         State/Local/Private
       Manufacturing
       Company

19.    Assist Dentist Office Irwin                     $400,000            State/Local/Private

20.    Redevelop old           Lowndes; Turner         $2,400,000          State/Local/Private
       Building

                                                   CDBG

21.    Complete 8 CDBGs Regional                       $4,520,000          State/Local


                                    HISTORIC PRESERVATION

22.    Historic Preservation           Regional                 $17,000            State
       Planning Program

23.    Tifton Historic Brochure        Tift                     $10,000            State

24.    Ashburn Historic Guidelines Turner                       $12,500            State

25.    Heritage Grants (3)             Regional                 $150,000           State

26.    Historic Preservation           Regional                 $20,000            State
       Funds (2)

27.    Valdosta Design Guidelines Lowndes                       $18,000            Local
       and Historic Pres. Ord. Review




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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                    Page 80


       Description             Location                Estimated Costs   Funding Sources

                        GREATER LOWNDES PLANNING COMMISSION

28.    Current/Comp.           Lowndes                 $243,000          Local
       Planning

29.    10-Year Comp.        Lowndes                    $40,000           Local
       Plan/Service Deliv./
       Solid Waste Updates

                                       REGIONAL PLANNING

30.    10-Year Comp.        Brooks                     $35,000           State/Local
       Plan/Service Deliv./
       Solid Waste Updates

31.    10-Year Comp.        Tift                       $40,000           State/Local
       Plan/Service Deliv./
       Solid Waste Updates
32.    Valdosta Housing        Lowndes                 $6,975            State/Local
       Assessment

33.    Tifton-Tift             Tift                    $27,000           Local
       Comprehensive
       Environmental
       Management Plan

34.    Metro Transportation Lowndes                    $165,000          Federal/State/Local
       Planning Initiative

35.    Trans. Planning         Regional                $61,600           State/Local
       Services Program
36.    Environmental           Regional                $75,000           State
       Planning Initiative

37.    TMDL Status 604(b) Regional                     $29,000           State
       Assessment

38.    Pre-Disaster            Regional                $30,000           State
       Mitigation Plans

39.    Ten-Year Comp.       Ben Hill                   $40,000           State/Local
       Plan/Service Deliv./
       Solid Waste Updates


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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                          Page 81


       Description               Location                    Estimated Costs   Funding Sources

                      GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS PROGRAM

40.    Douglas                   Coffee                      $32,000           Local
       Utility database

41.    GIS maintenance &         Valdosta-Lowndes            $340,000          Local
       expansion of GIS
       inventory

42.    Expansion of Tift         Tift                        $4,000            Local
       County BOE
       Campus Utility
       Database

43.    911 Address               Cook                        $6,000            Local
       Database

44.    Tifton Utilities          Tift                        $32,500           Local
       (FY 05-06)

45.    Maintenance of         Region-wide                    $25,000           Local
       existing Parcel, road,
       and various other GIS
       datasets

46.    Sex Offender              Regional                    $18,000           Local
       Mapping

47.    Tax Map Mylar             Turner, Brooks,             $16,000           Local
       Production                Cook

48.    Septic system and    Region-wide                      $24,000           GA EPD/Local
       well mapping project                                                    Private

49.    Rural Geospatial       Regional                       $185,000          USDA-CSREES
       Innovations (RGIS)
       Project - numerous objectives
       to enhance the utilization of GIS. This includes
        education/outreach, spatial data development, best
        practices documents, collaboration
       with other RGIS sites.

50.    DOT Bridge/Rail           Regional                    $50,000           State
       Data Collection



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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                    Page 82


       Description             Location                Estimated Costs   Funding Sources

51.    Tifton Police Crime     Tift                    $2,400            Local
       Mapping

                          WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS

52.    Workforce Invest.   Regional                    $651,874          US DOL
       Act (WIA) Adult Job
       Training

53.    WIA Year Round          Regional                $793,422          US DOL
       Training for Youth

54.    WIA Summer Youth Regional                       $36,000           GA DOL

55.    WIA Dislocated       Regional                  $96,400            US DOL
       Worker Discretionary

56.    Worker Job Training Regional                    $342,072          US DOL


TOTAL PROJECTS:                           56

TOTAL COSTS:                           $86,834,743




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       B.      Vital Projects List

       A prioritization of vital projects, programs, and activities that address the region’s greatest
       needs or that will best enhance the region’s competitiveness including sources of funding for
       past and potential future investments.

1.     Begin Development Cook                          $11,000,000               EDA/Local/
       of New Ind. Park                                                          State/Private

2.     Assist Expanding        Ben Hill-Irwin          $9,000,000                State/Local/Private
       Cargo Business

3.     Extend Airport          Ben Hill; Brooks;       $6,000,000                State/Local
       Runways                 Turner

4.     Infrastructure for      Cook                    $16,000,000               State/Local/Private
       Manufacturing
       Company

5.     Current/Comp.           Lowndes; Brooks         $243,000                  Local
       Planning

6.     GIS maintenance &       Valdosta-Lowndes        $340,000                  Local
       expansion of GIS
       inventory

7.     Workforce Invest.   Regional                    $651,874                  US DOL
       Act (WIA) Adult Job
       Training

8.     WIA Year Round          Regional                $793,422                  US DOL
       Training for Youth




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V.     PLAN OF ACTION

       A.      Tools for CEDS Implementation

               1.      Business Development Funds are various federal, state and local financing
               programs which help provide business and industry with the often ended capital to
               make their projects happen. The following listing is not all inclusive but merely a
               listing of the most used, or best known, programs in the area. The Georgia Department
               of Community Affairs publishes an “Economic Development Financing Packet” which
               is an excellent inclusive listing of various financing programs. Copies may be obtained
               by contacting:

                               Georgia Department of Community Affairs
                               60 Executive Park South, N.E.
                               Atlanta, GA 30329-2231
                               (404) 679-4940

                      i. Incentives vary from local initiatives to statewide initiatives. State
                        incentives include:

                               1) Job Tax Credit program was designed to encourage businesses to
                               locate to expand in the state by providing tax credits for certain
                               businesses that create new jobs. The state is divided into four tiers based
                               on demographic calculation of need and the more needy counties are
                               provided a higher tax credit. It should be noted that joint authorities
                               created before a certain date are allowed to take the tax credit of the
                               highest tier of any of the counties participating but those created after
                               that date are allowed an additional $500 per job. (map 11 of job tax
                               credits)




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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                                Page 86


   2) Opportunity/Enterprise Zones In 1997, the General Assembly enacted the Enterprise Zone
   Employment Act, recognizing the need for revitalization in many areas of Georgia. The State
   Enterprise Zone program intends to improve geographic areas within cities and counties that are
   suffering from disinvestment, underdevelopment, and economic decline, encouraging private
   businesses to reinvest and rehabilitate these places.
                               The Enterprise Zone area must meet at least three of five criteria:

                           1. Pervasive poverty established using 1990 Census data. Each block group
                              must have at least 20% poverty.
                           2. Unemployment Rate (average for preceding yr.) at least 10% higher than
                              State or significant job dislocation.
                           3. Underdevelopment evidenced by lack of building permits, licenses, land
                              disturbance permits, etc. lower than development activity within local
                              body's jurisdiction.
                           4. General distress and adverse conditions (population decline, health and
                              safety issues etc.).
                           5. General Blight evidenced by the inclusion of any portion of the
                              nominated area in an urban redevelopment area.

                               The following are incentives to any potential developer:

                           •   Property tax exemption -- OCGA §36-88-3(1)
                           •   Abatement or reduction in occupation taxes, regulatory fees, building
                               inspection fees, and other fees that would otherwise be imposed on
                               qualifying business -- OCGA §36-88-9(a)

                               Three enterprise zones exist in the South Georgia region: two in Tifton,
                               and one in Ocilla.

                               In 2004 the General Assembly passed, and the Governor signed
                               legislation (2004 session's HB 984) to create a program within the
                               State's Job Tax Credit Program of "Opportunity Zone" tax credits. The
                               Opportunity Zone Tax Credit Program authorizes the Georgia
                               Department of Community Affairs to designate as a "less developed
                               area" an area that is contained by two or more census block groups with
                               20% or greater poverty, within an enterprise zone and where an urban
                               redevelopment plan exists. Opportunity Zones are intended to encourage
                               development and redevelopment in smaller geographic areas than are
                               served by existing economic development programs. State resources are
                               directed towards these "pockets of poverty" in a way that can be
                               supplemented by federal programs that DCA administers.




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                               Opportunity Zone Tax Credit Benefits:

                               •       the maximum Job Tax Credit allowed under law
                               •       use of Job Tax Credits against 100 percent of income tax liability
                                       and withholding
                               •       expansion of the definition of "business enterprise" to include all
                                       businesses of any nature

                               Opportunity Zone Tax Credits are available in the City of Ocilla. To see
                               if your location is in this zone, please contact Zone Administrator, Hazel
                               McCranie at 229-468-9114.




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                               3) Freeport Tax Exemption program allows counties to offer property
                               tax exemptions, ranging between 20 and 100 percent on certain classes
                               of business inventory. A county offering this tax exemption may have a
                               competitive advantage in attracting a new business over a county that
                               does not offer a tax incentive.




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                                                    Table 20
                                                 Freeport Status
 Count/City                      Ratified State Act         Classes of Inventory        Amount of Exemption
 Ben Hill                               1979                         All                         100%
          Fitzgerald                    1989                         All                         100%
 Brooks                                 1985                         All                         100%
          Quitman                       1985                         All                         100%
 Berrien                                1997                         All                         100%
 Cook                                   1980                         All                         100%
 Echols                                   -                           -                             -
 Irwin                                  1989                         All                         100%
          Ocilla                        1991                         All                         100%
 Lanier                                   -                           -                             -
 Lowndes                                1980                         All                         100%
 Tift                                   1984                         All                         100%
          Tifton                        1984                         All                         100%
 Turner                                 2001                         All                         100%

Source: Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism, July 1996.


                   2.   Grants are, of course, the best source of funds for the encouragement or
                        inducement of economic development as there are four primary sources of grant
                        funds, i.e. Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the OneGeorgia
                        Authority, the Economic Development Administration, and the United States
                        Department of Agriculture, Rural Development.

                        a.      Employment Incentive Program (EIP) is a pool of Community
                        Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds which have been set aside to provide
                        the funds essential to allow a local economic development project to go
                        forward. Often referred to as “gap financing”, the EIP funds are used as either a
                        grant to local governments to provide essential public infrastructure or a grant to
                        local governments who may then loan the funds to provide essential financing
                        to the company. In either case the funding must be essential to make the project
                        happen and job opportunities must be created for low- and moderate- income


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                       persons. In EIP projects where the company was made a loan by the local
                       government, the repayment of the loan, both principle and interest, may be
                       retained by the local government as capitalization for the local revolving loan
                       fund (RLF). The RLF may then fund future projects meeting the same criteria
                       as the original source of funds.

                       b.      Redevelopment Fund Program (RFP) provides flexible financial
                       assistance to local governments to assist them in implementing challenging
                       economic and community development projects that cannot be undertaken with
                       existing public sector grant and loan programs. The Redevelopment Fund will
                       reward locally initiated public/private partnerships by providing financing to
                       leverage private sector investments in commercial, downtown, and industrial
                       redevelopment and revitalization projects that need Redevelopment Fund
                       investment to proceed. While all CDBG funded projects that create jobs must
                       meet applicable low and moderate-income criteria, the Redevelopment Fund
                       will allow projects to be approved using a “eliminating slum and blight”
                       national objective. The Redevelopment Fund may support and extend DCA’s
                       existing CDBG programs in order to allow redevelopment projects with
                       “challenging economics” to be made competitive for DCA, private, and other
                       public funding investments.

                       c.      OneGeorgia Equity Fund is a community and economic development
                       tool providing financial assistance including grants and loans that promote the
                       health, welfare, safety and economic security of the citizens of the state through
                       the development and retention of employment opportunities and the
                       enhancement of various infrastructures that accomplish that goal. Eligible
                       recipients of grant and loan funds include general-purpose local governments
                       (municipalities and counties), local government authorities and joint or multi-
                       county development authorities in rural counties suffering from high poverty
                       rates. Applications from Conditionally Eligible counties will be considered
                       when proposed projects have regional impact and support. Equity funds may be
                       used for a multitude of economic development activities provided they are
                       designed to increase employment opportunities.

                       d.      OneGeorgia EDGE Fund The Economic Development, Growth &
                       Enterprise (EDGE) program is a specialized economic development tool that
                       may be used to enhance Georgia’s competitiveness in attracting significant
                       economic development projects. EDGE should not be used when other state or
                       federal programs could be used or when local funds are sufficient to accomplish
                       economic development goals. Due to the specialized nature of the program and
                       the limited resources available, potential applicants are encouraged to contact
                       the OneGeorgia Authority. Generally, EDGE funds are targeted for competitive
                       projects in rural counties suffering from high poverty. “Competitive project”
                       generally describes a situation in which a business is considering no less than
                       two communities as a site for relocation or expansion where ate least one




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                       community is outside Georgia and at least one, but not more than one, is in
                       Georgia.

                       e.      Economic Development Administration (EDA) provides grant funds
                       to help build or expand public facilities essential to industrial and commercial
                       growth such as industrial parks. These grant funds usually cover sixty percent
                       of the project cots with the respective local governments funding forty percent.
                       Over the past forty years EDA funds have been used in almost every county in
                       the region. Adel-Cook County’s recent $2 million creation of the South Cook
                       Mega Industrial District – Phase I is the latest EDA-funded project.

                       EDA also provides grants to designated economic development districts for
                       planning and economic development technical assistance.

                       f.      USDA, Rural Development Our financial programs support such
                       essential public facilities and services as water and sewer systems, housing,
                       health clinics, emergency service facilities and electric and telephone service.
                       We promote economic development by supporting loans to businesses through
                       banks and community-managed lending pools. We offer technical assistance
                       and information to help agricultural and other cooperatives get started and
                       improve the effectiveness of their member services. And we provide technical
                       assistance to help communities undertake community empowerment programs.
                       We have an $86 billion dollar portfolio of loans and we will administer nearly
                       $16 billion in program loans, loan guarantees, and grants through our programs.
                       Rural Development achieves its mission by helping rural individuals,
                       communities and businesses obtain the financial and technical assistance needed
                       to address their diverse and unique needs. Rural Development works to make
                       sure that rural citizens can participate fully in the global economy.


                                                 Table 21
                                Recent Economic Development Grant Projects
                                            South Georgia Area

 Date    Type                                                         Private           Project Activity
                  Location                     Jobs      Amount       Leverage
                  Tift/Tifton
 2003     EIP     Alliance Carpet Cushion        60       $393,842      $5,360,000      Water/Sewer
                  Ben Hill/Irwin                                                        Water/Sewer/Road
 2003    EDA      Millennium Tech. Pointe        200     $1,300,000     $3,500,000      /Telecom
                  Turner/Ashburn
 2002    EDA      North Industrial Park          50       $670,000      $1,000,000      Water/Sewer/Road
          EIP     Ben Hill County



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 2002             American Blanching             50       $500,000      $4,000,000       Direct Loan
                  DDA of Tifton
 2002    OGA      Workforce Dev. Center        6,375*     $435,615           -           Building
                  Lenox
 2001    EDA      Micro Flo                      182     $1,125,000     $6,600,000       Water/Sewer
                  Valdosta
 2001     EIP     Letica Corporation             130      $500,000      $7,000,000       Water/Sewer/Road
                  Fitzgerald
 2001    EDA      Modern Dispersions             105      $250,000      $1,500,000       Sewer
                  Cook
 2001    OGA      Workforce Dev. Center        1,293*     $500,000           -           Building
                  Tift/Tifton
 2000    EDA      Union Road Ind. Park         481**      $485,000     $1,750,000**      Water/Sewer/Road

*       Estimated number of Trained Individuals in a Two-Year Period
**      Speculative Estimations at park build-out


                3.     Loans The South Georgia RDC, through two non-profit corporations, operates a
                regional Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) (South Georgia Area Resource Development
                Agency) program and is a certified development company for the Small Business
                Administration (SBA) (South Georgia Area Development Corporation)

                       a.      RLF program began at the South Georgia RDC in 1980 with an initial
                       capitalization from EDA of $1,083,333. The fund was recapitalized with
                       $300,000 in 1992. The SGRDC has been awarded four Rural Development
                       Intermediary Relending Program funds totaling $2,899,790. In addition, we
                       have received $330,000 from Rural Development’s Rural Business Enterprise
                       Grant fund. The RLF program works in partnership with local lenders to
                       encourage business development throughout the region. Since its inception, the
                       RLF program has made 159 loans equaling $14.6 million, has leveraged from
                       the private sector $24 million and created or retained 3,252 jobs.

                       b.     SBA offers three programs which have been widely used in the south
                       Georgia region, SBA 7a, SBA 504 and LowDoc. The SBA 7a program is a
                       conventional bank loan with the SBA providing a guarantee to the local
                       financial institutions. The RDC provides the role of project facilitator and loan
                       packager on behalf of the bank and the business. The RDC staff has packaged
                       $20.5 million worth of SBA guaranteed loans which created or saved 908 jobs.

                       The SBA 504 provides direct financing for 40 percent of the fixed assets needed
                       by the new or expanding business. The SBA takes a second lien position behind
                       a conventional bank lender who provides 50 percent of the project financing.
                       The business is only required to inject 10 percent of the project. The ninety
                       percent long-term financing offered by this program has been very beneficial to



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                       the economic development of the region. The SBA 504 program has made 108
                       loans in the region totaling $64 million and creating or saving 1,995 jobs.

       B.      Integrating CEDS with State of Georgia

               South Georgia’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy will be reviewed by
               the State of Georgia for comment in accordance with requirements of the Economic
               Development Administration. This CEDS will cooperate and integrate with the State of
               Georgia’s economic priorities. The attached letter complies with State review of this
               CEDS.




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South Georgia RDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy                          Page 96


VI.    PERFORMANCE MEASURES

The quarterly and annual report of accomplishments act as the evaluation tools utilized by the local
and regional CEDS committees. This document is maintained by the support staff of the RDC under
the guidance of the regional CEDS committee and RDC Board of Directors.

This section lists the performance measures that will be used to evaluate the South Georgia Regional
Development Center’s successful development and implementation of the CEDS. These performance
measures are: the number of jobs created after implementation of the CEDS, the number and types of
investments that will be undertaken in the region, the number of jobs retained in the region, the
amount of private sector investment in the region after implementation of the CEDS, the changes in
the economic environment of the region, and the diversification of the economy.




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