Future of Lowndes County discussed at economic summit - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Future of Lowndes County discussed at economic summit

Cynthia Tori Cynthia Tori
Andrea Shruijer Andrea Shruijer

According to VSU economics professor, Dr. Cynthia Tori, Lowndes County is not performing as well as comparable counties across the southeast.

But, business leaders in the county are working to change that.

"In all of the areas for the Lowndes County community, we were pretty much in the lower part of the comparison," Dr. Tori stated as she recapped her presentation of a study she co-authored to determine the economic state of Lowndes County.

The study compared Lowndes County with 14 other similar counties across the southeast. The study looked at factors like average education level in the county, average yearly income, unemployment rate, and poverty rate.

Dr. Tori said the key to changing that is for county, city, and business leaders to communicate better with each other to help increase the education level, bring in more high tech jobs, and decrease the number of people who leave the county after graduation.

"[If] we all work together as visionaries with a central, strategic plan we can all move ourselves from the lower level of our peers and become the aspirant group," Dr. Tori explained.

The Valdosta Lowndes Development Authority's executive director, Andrea Shruijer, said part of that strategic plan is making Valdosta an inland or an intermodal port.

She said the authority has begun to collect the necessary data to prove to the port authority that Valdosta is a viable option.

 "We have to look at northern Florida and our region like Brooks, Lanier, Thomas, and all of those areas and see how much cargo that's moving out of our region," Shruijer pointed out.

A small step that will hopefully lead to a bigger, brighter future for Lowndes County.

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