Douglas is on the comeback trail

Commission Chairman Frank Johnson
Commission Chairman Frank Johnson
Mayor James Dennis
Mayor James Dennis

DOUGLAS, GA (WALB) - Douglas has been on a roller coaster of growth, with the past few years being a high point.   Community leaders are confident that progress will continue as long as they continue working together.

The recession hit the City of Douglas with one of the hardest blows in South Georgia. But it's bounced back, and is continuing to grow.

"Our unemployment rate reached 19% at one time," said Joanne Lewis of the Chamber of Commerce. "Now it's down below 10%, that doesn't sound real good, but we've made great strides."

Nearly 4,000 jobs were lost when the Pilgrim's Pride plant shut down in May 2009.   But the plant re-opened the following year.

"That's one of the happiest things that I've done in my life in the last year, the last two years is employ 1,000 people with Pilgrims," said Coffee Co. Commission Chairman Frank Johnson.

The city of about 11,500 people is also seeing development elsewhere.   "We've got a Marriott that should break ground in June over here. We've got three new restaurants going in. As well as we're seeing our existing businesses and industry's expand," said Lewis.

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But bringing visitors into Douglas is a challenge community leaders have been facing.

"Whenever we take the combined events that we, the city of Douglas host, along with some of the other community partners who host events as well, we estimate that we draw 100,000 people each year to this community," said Georgia Henderson of the City of Douglas.

Mayor James Dennis says they hold at least four events every year to boost tourism. A community that has become successful from teamwork.   "We have a great community effort, community spirit, togetherness, corporative effort where everybody works together for a common goal," said the mayor.

True to their motto: "working together to serve you better."

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