b'With the completion of eight apartments in the new Belk Hudson Lofts, downtowns residential inventory jumps to nearly 40 units. Its exciting to see that people, of all ages, want to live downtown, says Johnson. They want to be able to walk to dinner and shop, and enjoy the activities downtown. Welcome to MoultrieWhile Colquitt County is widely known as an agricultural hubthe largest vegetable and row crop region in Georgiathe community also has a diverse mix of industries and tourism opportunities. Colquitt Countys tourism highlights include the Sunbelt Ag Expo, which brings more than 80,000 visitors to the region; and the Moss Farms Diving Center, regarded as one of the top outdoor diving centers in the country. Colquitt County also has several agribusinesses on Georgia Grown Trail 37, the states first official agritourism highway.With all of these activities, plus numerous events and festivals, it comes as no surprise that tourism helps generate a $59 million economic impact in Colquitt County.Johnson says Moultrie will soon have a place to welcome all its visitors. The center, which is in the pre-construction phase, will convert another abandoned downtown building into usable space.The multi-level welcome center will feature interactive displays and information about Moultrie and Colquitt County, public restrooms, meeting room space, and administrative offices. An Economic DriverMore than a place to eat, shop, and attend festivals, Johnson says Downtown Moultrie is a significant employer in Colquitt County.There are approximately 800 people who work in the downtown area, she says. We represent one of Colquitt Countys leading economic drivers. An incubator for small businesses, the downtown area, has become home to several new boutiques and eateries.We are laying a foundation that is critical for us to attract entrepreneurs and developers to be part of downtown, says Johnson. With eateries and a mix of retail and professional offices, we are also becoming the boutique capital of South Georgia. Johnson, who started with the City of Moultrie in 1998, says she has learned change doesnt happen overnight. Some of the projects have taken years to complete. I have learned a lot about being patient, and understanding that working in downtown development is more of a marathon than a sprint.58 SG MAGAZINE| FALL 2019 BUSINESS + CULTURE59'