Grant & Loan Awards: Early County
Equity funds to assist with the development of a regional comprehensive marketing/tourism plan to effectively position the Hwy 27 corridor and the associated 18 counties as a travel and tourism â€œdestination of choice.â€ The Hwy 27 Association was formed to promote economic development, tourism and the protection of cultural and scenic resources along US Hwy 27, which runs 352 miles along the western portion of the State. The Association's 18 member counties seek to build on their existing tourism industry and develop additional products. The group has provided $52,000 of in-kind work/investment to-date, and they recognize the value of developing key partnerships and alliances. These include working with GA DOT on their plans to four-lane Hwy 27. Add 18 counties
BRIDGE funds to construct a wireless broadband system across the 5-county area. A feasibility study conducted by TechSmart reflects a great demand for high speed connectivity in the counties of Baker, Calhoun, Early, Miller and Mitchell. The backbone of these rural counties is agriculture and, more recently, nature-based tourism. Wireless broadband provides an opportunity to support their economy while protecting their valuable resources. This project supports a system that will allow farmers to implement precision agricultural practices increasing profits, preserving natural resources and decreasing chemical and water usage. There will be multiple benefits to the counties in the area of business development, tourism, education and local government efficiency.
Equity funds to assist White Oak Pastures, Inc. (WOP), with construction of a 5,329 square-foot facility and required machinery and equipment to operate Harvest House. With a private investment to-date of nearly $1.5 million, the facility, located along US Hwy 27, will support the expansion of White Oakâ€™s organic beef processing business, a retail store promoting Georgia-grown products and agri-tourism opportunities in Southwest Georgia. Research indicates that the continued growth of the all-natural beef market among consumers creates a real opportunity for farmers in Georgia. Currently, WOP produces and harvests the cattle into a value-added product and markets it in one-pound packages that are currently sold in over 220 Publix supermarkets and Tree of Life natural food stores. WOP, an approved supplier of grass-fed beef, seeks to expand to additional Publix supermarkets in Florida in addition to Whole Foods supermarkets.
BRIDGE funds to assist with a five-county (Baker, Calhoun, Early, Miller, Mitchell) regional technology assessment, TECHSMART. Georgia Tech staff will conduct a series of community-wide meetings to assist the local leadership and stakeholders in identifying the regionâ€™s technology assets/needs as well as opportunities. This current technology benchmark will serve as the basis for the development of an integrated plan, the Digital Development Plan or â€œroadmapâ€ for future technology development and utilization within the region. In addition, grant funds are awarded to assist with site study, engineering and preliminary system design for development of a high-speed wireless broadband access system to support a number of agricultural applications, including remote pivot irrigation, as well as to community residents and businesses located within the five counties.
EDGE funds to purchase equipment for expansion efforts of Golden Peanut Company, an international conglomerate that processes and sells various peanut products worldwide. The company will construct a 65,000 SF building for the production of peanut flour and a 25,000 SF facility for processing peanut oil on a 15.7-acre tract in the Blakely-Early County Industrial Park. This expansion will retain 30 jobs and create an additional 20 jobs. Blakely is in competition with Headland, Alabama.
Equity funds for improvements to 60,000-SF industrial facility located in 187-acre Early County industrial park. The building, damaged by a tornado, requires renovation in order to be marketable.
Equity funds to infrastructure improvements to serve new industry located at the Early County Airport and expand capacity for future growth.