Georgia sees plenty of economic growth around the ports and in Atlanta, but many rural communities have lost people and businesses to larger towns.
One group hopes to help small towns find their niche and grow. These communities once looked for one large industry to come in, pay all the taxes, and employ generations to come. Leaders from Georgia Chamber of Commerce say you can’t look at that one-size-fits-all model anymore.
A meeting was held Thursday in Vidalia with local community leaders to talk about the needs of rural Georgia. CEO Chris Clark talked about the infrastructure small communities need to keep younger people and attract new business. Clark stressed that quality schools and medical care are key factors companies look for in prospective homes, but he also said large industries should not be the key for everyone.
“You can’t expect a white knight to come in and fix everything and change the economy,” said Clark, CEO Georgia Chamber. “If you’re an ag community, let’s do ag. Let’s bring value-added processing. If you’re a tourism community, what can we do to bring even more people into your community.”
The visit in Vidalia is one of 30 stops on the chamber’s statewide tour to stress its priorities leading into a statewide election where new people will fill almost all the statewide offices.
Clark also praised Governor Deal’s appointment of a first-ever deputy commissioner for rural Georgia in the Department of Economic Development.