The vision for Early County 2055 came together in the spring of 2006 when town planners, architects, artists, economists, and strategists came together to collect the ideas and dreams of area residents and shape the results into a 50-year Master Economic Development Plan
An ongoing effort
Barton Rice, a key player in the establishment of Early County 2055, continues to champion the efforts of the initiative's primary mission to attract diverse, new industry to the area, preserve the areas rich history, improve the quality of life and create quality jobs. EC2055 is a model project of collaboration, with private and public leadership joining together to maximize existing assets, strengths and opportunities of the region, and driving growth and development.
EC2055 Initiatives in progress:
•Modifying existing zoning ordinances to encourage walkable, mixed-use, sustainable neighborhoods and easy destination access
•Expanding policies governing transportation and land use planning
•Renovating historic Blakely Square
•Providing affordable housing to neighborhoods in Early County through land acquisitions and federal grant dollars
•Providing incentives to attract new industry and inviting relocation of business
•Integrating modern regional broadband technology into the region
•Partnering with universities and state agencies to provide workforce education and training
Advancing Early Initiative 2012
The Advancing Early Initiative 2012, directed by National Community Development, Inc., is Early County 2055's five-year capital campaign to stimulate economic development through new job creation, increased retail shopping options, historic restoration, and community clean-up of dilapidated structures. The four targeted capital campaign projects are well on the way to completion and planning for the next initiative is on track.
Because of the success of Advancing Early 2012 there is a solid foundation for the future execution EC2055âs long term goals:
•There is an aggressive business recruitment and marketing strategy that focuses on best fit industry targets: Food Processing, Bio-fuel Manufacturing, Mobile Entrepreneurs, Federal Government Facilities, Shared Call Centers and spin-offs from local power companies.
•The community has new housing options for new and relocating workers, and many dilapidated structures have been removed.
•A state-of-the-art economic development/conference/mixed-use facility is being planned on the Blakely town square.
•The East Gateway project, an attractive entrance into the city, is under construction. When completed, it will draw people into the charming downtown square of Blakely, creating additional revenue for the city.
•Additional shopping options are available for residents and visitors.
•The goals of Early County 2055 are being achieved through the commitment and leadership of the local community. Early County is open and ready for business.