Grant & Loan Awards: Miller County
Equity grant/loan funds to renovate a 4,600 square foot 1950’s era movie theater on the town square into a regional multi-use conference/meeting/performance center to be called The Woodstork Center. The Center has a seating capacity of 300 and would accommodate all types of events. This facility is seen as an enhancement and expansion of the cultural tourism initiative started in 1992 with the first production of Swamp Gravy, Georgia's Folk Life Play. Over the last several years Colquitt has hosted multiple conferences including "Building Creative Communities" Conferences (2006-2009) with the 4th scheduled for February 2010 and also three Southwest Georgia Film Festivals held each September. Colquitt has also been selected to host the 2010 "Global Mural, Arts and Cultural Tourism" Conference next October, which will bring people from all over the world. Over the years, Colquitt has expanded its performance repertoire to include May-Haw, a musical variety theater offered during the year as well as summer and Christmas Youth Theater Programs. An estimated 55,000 people visit Colquitt and Miller County annually for performances, events, festivals, mural tours, and restaurants. The project will be another asset on which to build the cultural tourism industry of the region.
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
E 9-1-1 funds to upgrade Miller Countyâ€™s E 9-1-1 system with a mapping system for wireless uses and to provide E 9-1-1 service to Baker County. Currently, Baker County does not provide E 9-1-1 service. All E 9-1-1 phone calls in the County are connected to The Thomasville State Patrol Post. The new system will allow Miller County to dispatch calls to whoever is best suited to handle them in Miller County which will enhance efficiency and possibly save lives. Additional benefits for this new regional system include realized cost savings for each county while increasing the level of service for Miller County, and the system will also allow emergency personnel to pinpoint the exact location of the caller.
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.
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.
Equity funds for construction of a 22,000 SF facility for lease to a private film/video/television production company. The company, under the guidance of Ralph Wilcox, a 30-year veteran in the television and film industry, seeks to build on the community's success as a tourism and cultural arts destination, including Swamp Gravy with over 17,000 tourists annually. Colquitt-Miller County and Mr. Wilcox have established relationships with area schools and colleges including Bainbridge, LaGrange, Darton Colleges and FSU. Bainbridge College has implemented a 1-year film, video and stage technology program, and FSU Film School has confirmed its interest in developing a similar relationship. A commitment is established with The Boys' Choir of Tallahassee, providing the choir an opportunity for exposure to the arts while promoting economic development in SW Georgia. The facility will seek to create opportunities for film and video production in a low-overhead environment while also expanding quality of life and cultural arts educational opportunities.
Equity funds to extend water, sewer, road and rail spur to serve the location of a textile manufacturer into the new 106-acre Colquitt/Miller County Industrial Park. The Company plans to construct a 20,000-square-foot building on a five-acre site in the park for the manufacture of agricultural and geotextile fabrics. The Miller County Development Authority will provide a leaseback arrangement with the company on the land, building and equipment. The company's commitment to locate in Colquitt is contingent upon the provision of a suitable industrial site and the extension of required utilities, an access road and a rail spur to the selected site. The company will then invest least $625,000 in a manufacturing facility and to create 24 new jobs.