More new jobs are coming to South Georgia. A new private shooting facility will be built just north of Blakely.
It will initially create 100 news jobs, and it will likely mean up to 400 jobs when the facility is fully operational.
The American International Marksmanship Academy will be used for training military, law enforcement, and civilians.
A new venture broke ground today in Blakely that will serve as an important foundation for Early County 2055's ongoing Economic Development Initiative.
The American International Marksmanship Academy will forever change the financial future of Early County, creating hundreds of jobs and bringing in millions of dollars.
"Our economic output will be at least $73 million," says Lisa Collins, Economic Development Director.
Governor Nathan Deal says it's good news for the entire state.
"Anytime that you have job opportunities being created while you're the Governor, that's always good news. And our state has suffered with a significant reduction in jobs, we have still an unemployment rate that is above the national average, we have seen it drop but we want it to continue to drop," says Nathan Deal. Georgia Governor.
Founder and CEO of the Academy, Marc Masoner says the idea is to train customers in real world scenarios, so they know what to expect and how to handle themselves in situations that require defense training.
"This area right here, this goes into our military training. We've got a little bit of everything," says Marc Masoner, AIM Founder and President/CEO.
The training site which is going to be featured right here on this 2,300 acre plot, will feature up to 1,500 meter shooting ranges, along with shooting houses.
It will also offer professional and corporate membership packages, event opportunities and world-wide shooting competitions.
"We are going to put cabins in for lodging so that people can come down here and make Blakely a weekend retreat. Which I think will definitely enhance Blakely as far as the economy and everything," says Masoner.
And for a town of 5,000 people, Blakely Mayor says it will bring much needed population to the area.
"Fantastic! We've got plenty of available housing, all of the restaurants will benefit from having new folks here, as well as all the other businesses that we have here so we are excited," says Ric Hall, Blakely Mayor.
He says surrounding cities, such as Albany and Dothan might not understand how monumental this opportunity is for a community such as Blakely.
The company chose Early County, out of six possible sites, partly because of the prime location to military bases, such as Fort Benning in Georgia and Fort Rucker in Alabama.
But it was the charm of the community that ultimately sold them.
Early County 2055 is a non-profit organization created to sustain the 50 year vision, providing Early County with a prosperous economic future.
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