Georgia Trend Magazine published a feature article in its March issue on Douglas County. The feature article describes the evolution and development of Douglas County from a “19th century ‘New South’ town with its railroad, cotton mill, hotel, bank, and commercial district” , attract billions of dollars in investment, and house “the likes of Google, Amazon, Switch, Microsoft, and more.
Along with data center migration to the county, the article discusses new investment and mixed-use development and also gives equal time to the city of Villa Rica.
“The Georgia Trend Magazine feature is a great opportunity to showcase Douglas’ progress and the partnerships that are making it a reality,” Douglas County Chamber Speaker Sara Ray said in an emailed response. “The Douglas County Chamber has some very exciting initiatives we are rolling out this year to move us forward as a community where partnerships and businesses thrive. »
The economic development of Douglas County is central to the GT article, which acknowledges the formulation of Elevate Douglas.
Ray says Elevate Douglas has been in the works for three and a half years.
“It streamlines a lot of processes and allows us to hire even more qualified staff because we share the cost of salaries. We work smarter, not harder,” she told Georgia Trend.
Chris Pumphrey leads Elevate Douglas, a public-private partnership that creates “one voice” for county economic development, connecting the city, county and Chamber.
Pumphrey said Douglas County has become a nationally recognized location for data centers, which has helped improve community prospects.
He pointed out to GT that while data centers may not employ as many people at a particular site, they have helped improve the salary profile of the community.
Villa Rica Mayor Gil McDougal worked to connect the town to Douglas County. Part of Villa Rica, about 40%, is in Douglas County.
McDougal is proposing to use a Tax Allocation District (TAD) to construct a $140 million mixed-use development and infrastructure that would bring the Mirror Lake Connector into the picture. He says the long-term tax revenue benefit comes from the math.
McDougal hopes the 60-acre project will kick off later this year with construction expected in 16 to 18 months. The entire TAD is approximately 240 acres and the road and infrastructure are estimated at $9-15 million.
“I think it’s a game-changer for the city,” he said. “It’s not just that I want to do this big thing, but it’s also the responsible thing to do for the community,” McDougal told GT.
In Douglasville, the Town Green is a project that should be completed next year. Douglasville City Council has approved just over $12 million for the project which will include a 500-seat amphitheater and a mixed-use development with parking.
And on the county’s radar, the local Arbor Place Mall and associated traffic cluster and other activities from years gone by are being treated to the largest road project in the county’s history, according to communications director David Good. SPLOST, also quoted in Georgia Trend.
The widening of Lee Road from the I-20 bridge south to Highway 92 has recently begun.
“SPLOST revenues that passed in November 2016 help fund this project,” Good said. “Over $19 million was just approved at the last meeting of the Board of Commissioners for construction.”
And while managing economic development, future growth and infrastructure expansion is vital, quality of life has at least as much to do with the human side of the equation.
GT’s focus on the local community extends to recognizing the efforts of Douglas County Superior Court Chief Justice William H. “Beau” McLain and a non-profit organization he has co-founded and called Faith in Action.
Judge McClain, also responded via email to a request for comment on GT’s article,
“Georgia Trend’s recognition of Douglas County, Douglasville and Villa Rica is due in large part to the hard work, vision and creativity of our business, civic and political leaders,” McClain said. “But we also have a diverse church and ministry community that meets nearly every physical and spiritual need in a holistic and cooperative way. I’m sure when one of our volunteers brings food to a homeless person, it has as much impact as when Chris, Sara and others bring Microsoft and Google. God blesses us when we serve those in need, and there’s an untold story about many who do it well in Douglas County.
The Georgia Trend report concludes by noting that Douglasville and Douglas County are “changing the narrative” from being a “bedroom community” to “fast becoming a destination for those who want to live, work and play without s to venture away from their own backyards.