Where are we going? For the past several years, the clarion call to help rural communities has become louder and louder. The General Assembly has established numerous committees and passed legislation aimed at shoring up economic prosperity within Georgia’s rural towns.
While the issues are complex, and each town is unique, rural communities share similar challenges including loss of population, insufficient access to healthcare, limited educational resources, inadequate infrastructure (broadband connectivity), slow job growth, and an expanding level of poverty.
In this issue, we are introducing a new section titled “Navigating Change,” which will serve as the backdrop for current and future articles that examine how South Georgia communities are bridging the urban-rural economic divide.
Where is the help? Sprouting up in South Georgia, there are several groups ready to provide guidance and resources. Understanding who they are and how they can assist is the focus of “Georgia Has Rural Prosperity on Its Mind,” starting on page 20.
While it is difficult for most of us to imagine life without the internet, there are numerous areas across the state where high-speed broadband access is limited or nonexistent. In the first of a series of articles focused on internet connectivity, we look at how private investment is helping eliminate broadband disparity in some rural areas.
One of my favorite parts about publishing South Georgia Business + Culture Magazine is discovering communities where there is an obvious synergy that is igniting positive change. Last year, I ventured over to Bainbridge to showcase Taurus USA, a leading firearms manufacturer that is creating 300 new jobs and investing $22.5 million in infrastructure and operations. While there, I kept hearing about the revitalization of Downtown Bainbridge. On my first visit downtown, I knew something exciting was happening.
After spending time with Amanda Glover, executive director of the Bainbridge Downtown Development Authority, I immediately knew this is a South Georgia town on the move. On page 44, find out how Downtown Bainbridge has used the state’s Rural Zone credits to sell 32 downtown properties, creating approximately $2 million in sales. From the properties sold, seven new businesses were established, adding 55 jobs to downtown. All this in the first year!
Another new feature is “At the Table,” a look at how locally-owned restaurants are gaining the attention of avowed foodies while using regionally sourced products. On page 54, read about Chef Tyler Thomas at The American, who is putting a twist on some southern classics. Start your meal off with the Heirloom Tomato Pie, and then give the Cornbread Fried Chicken with a drizzle of honey sriracha glaze a try.
In the fall issue, we will highlight small businesses. Do you have a suggestion for a small business profile? Is there someone in your community that is making a positive impact? We want to continue to tell the compelling stories of growth and success in South Georgia. Go to our website at sgamag.com and share your ideas or email [email protected]
“The plans of the diligent lead to profit; as surely as haste leads to poverty.” –Proverbs 21:5