Valdosta ranks in top 100 best small cities in the country - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta ranks in top 100 best small cities in the country

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Mayor John Gayle Mayor John Gayle
Jessica Newman Jessica Newman
Shops along Patterson Street in downtown Valdosta Shops along Patterson Street in downtown Valdosta
Valdosta City Hall Valdosta City Hall
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VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

The city of Valdosta now ranks number 51 out of 179 on the Milken Institute's latest list of best performing small cities in America.

Last year, the city ranked number 101. Nine other cities from Georgia made the list, and of them only one, Gainesville, which ranked number 49, was higher.

"It makes us proud to realize that there was only 10 cities in Georgia that were cited out of [the] 535 cities in Georgia and Valdosta is the second-ranked city," said Valdosta Mayor John Gayle.

Gayle believes continued job growth in the city is a big reason for the ranking.

"We have seen the jobs grow here in Valdosta, we've seen our gross domestic product grow," said Gayle. "Valdosta continues to attract new jobs."

On top of the overall ranking of 51, the Milken Institute's list ranks the city in the top 100 in several specific categories. The list ranks Valdosta number 33 in job growth from 2011-2012. That's up from the previous ranking of 128. The list also ranks Valdosta number 84 in short term job growth from 2012-2013.

Local business owners are encouraged by these numbers as well.

I think that it's a great achievement for Valdosta," said Jessica Newman, owner of City Market in downtown Valdosta.

"I think the more people find out about this local community, it's gonna'' cause people to come here. The more people that come, the better it is for all small businesses," Newman continued.

Mayor John Gayle said he expects the city to continue to rise in the rankings in the future, adding that companies that employ 200 ore more employees coming to Valdosta would go a long way towards making sure that happens.

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