Valdosta draws in retirees - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta draws in retirees

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January 26, 2006

Valdosta - Bill and Sandy Prentiss moved to Valdosta a little over a year ago, and couldn't be happier with their new home. "We love it, we've met some wonderful people here," said Bill Prentiss.

They're part of a growing trend in this area. More and more retirees are passing on Florida as a retirement community and settling down in South Georgia. "A number of our friends that retired to Florida are looking to come up here and look at our place and in fact, we've had three or four already successfully relocate," said Prentiss.

The Prentiss' were recruited to this area by the Chamber's Triple Crown Hometown Program. It's mission is to make Valdosta a premier retirement community, and its working. "We've relocated 80 retiree households," said Allison Stokes, Triple Crown Hometown Director.

And that success is getting attention all over the state. Hundreds of economic developers from Georgia are in Valdosta this week for a retirement community workshop. "We're trying to profile this area," said Rick Duke, Workshop Organizer.

They're learning how they can attract more retirees to their cities and experience the economic success that we're seeing. "It's estimated that one retiree household creates 1.5 jobs in the community and they spend locally, so they contribute to our tax base, our sales tax money, and it helps the community," said Stokes.

Retirees who've made their home here say it was an easy choice.  Good weather, great health care, and affordability are just a few of the attractions. "We got so much more house for our money here than we would've got down in Florida," said Prentiss.

Now these business leaders will take those thoughts back home, in hopes of making their communities a hot spot for retirees.

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