Press Releases

Early County 2055 Gives Annual Briefing on Economic Revitalization Efforts

Atlanta – A room full of prominent Georgia leaders from the state legislature, various state agencies and influential businesses were brought up to date on the progressive economic revitalization program that is underway in Early County.  The meeting and luncheon, held at the Commerce Club in Atlanta, was hosted by Georgia State Senator John Bulloch, Georgia State Representative Gerald Greene, and Early County 2055, an economic revitalization project.

The 'Early County 2055' program began two years ago as an economic revitalization initiative whose sole purpose was to develop and implement a plan that would create a healthy business climate for the area. The Atlanta-based Charles and Catherine B. Rice Foundation originated and funded the initial planning process with a gift to the county.  Now in Phase Two, EC2055 is focusing on a five-year capital campaign that will stimulate economic development through new job creation, increased retail shopping options, historic restoration and more.

"Early County 2055 has made extensive progress in two short years," Lisa Collins, EC 2055 program manager told the group of over 100 attendees. "We have moved from a great idea and one man's vision to a compelling program that is surpassing its goals and making history in southwest Georgia," she said. "In many ways we have you to thank for the significant progress we have made over the last year, as well as a committed community that is working to build the economic future of Early County."  

Ms. Collins added that the area received a number of state grants to improve transportation and establish a state-of-the-art wireless fiber network.  In addition business development efforts are paying off with new industry and businesses either expanding or relocating into the area.  

Guests attending the luncheon included: Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle; Honorable Ross Tolleson, Chairman, Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee; Honorable Vance Smith, Jr., Chairman, House Transportation Committee; Honorable Dan Moody, Chairman, Senate Republican Caucus; Honorable Richard Royal, Chairman, House Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight Committee; Tommy Irvin, GA Commissioner of Agriculture; Noel Holcomb, Commissioner, GA Department of Natural Resources; Mike Beatty, Commissioner, GA Department of Community Affairs; Kenneth Stewart, Commissioner, GA Department of Economic Development; Albert Murray, Commissioner, GA Department of Juvenile Justice; Steven Meeks, State Director, U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss; Dr. Ray Luce, Director, Historic Preservation Division, Georgia Department of Natural Resources; and Dr. Karen Holt, Director, Fanning Institute, University of Georgia

The featured luncheon speaker, Executive Director of Early County 2055, Barton Rice, said that in the past few months, "Through the implementation of a well-honed, strategic economic master plan developed by the community and professional planning and development experts, Early County 2055 (EC2055) has seen remarkable progress."

"It has been an amazing and exciting year and you have been a great help in our efforts," Rice told the luncheon attendees. "We are continuously seeing our hard work pay off and I'm certain that building this foundation will help to sustain a healthy economic future for everyone in Early County. We continue to need your help to continue the momentum that we are seeing today."

Specific economic strategies that are targeted for completion in this phase include:
• aggressive business recruitment focused on targets such as film industry, bio-fuels, agribusiness and spin-offs from local power companies,
• development of housing options for new and relocating workers and families,
• preservation and renovation of historical downtown buildings into viable commercial real estate.

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Lisa Collins
Project Manager
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Celia Doremus