Georgia Economic Development

By: Rayne McKenzie
By: Rayne McKenzie

Blakely and Early County, Georgia are in the process of revitalization, hoping to rejuvenating the area and encouraging new development.

Through the years Early County has experienced a decrease in population. However, this project may be the beginning of many positive things.

It all started with one man's passion and vision to revitalize a county. The spirit has caught on and now many residents of early county and around the country are involved in bringing the county back to life.

Director of Design-Place Makers, Susan Henderson, said, "They remember this was a lively place and they want to bring it back. Young people moved to Atlanta and energy decreased, and this about reinvigorating this place."

Visionaries from many states around the nation have converged in Early County to brainstorm and complete the vision to make early county as appealing as it was many years ago.

"Early County has many of the things it needs, culture, family community; we just want to bring real economic viability back," said Barton Rice, Rice Foundation Executive Dir.

The plan includes adding new businesses and revitalizing those that currently exist, a plan that will take years but that will allow the county to start feeling positive economic impacts in the near future.

"This process isn't about what happens in a year, but in 50 years, and we will know based on if these residents’ children and grandchildren want to make Early County a permanent home," said Nathan Norris, Director of Implementation-PlaceMakers.

Developers hope that Early County will become a model community and encourage other rural southern counties to follow their lead.

There will be a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 11 at the old First State Bank building in Blakely.

Committee members will be available for questions and to take suggestions.


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