Blakely designated as rural to spark economic development

The city is working on a 5-year plan to revitalize the community.
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 7:58 PM CST
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BLAKELY, Ga. (WTVY) - The city of Blakely is working on a 5-year plan to revitalize the community.

Downtown Development Authority of Blakely Executive Director Susanne Reynolds knows firsthand the challenges facing rural areas like Blakely. Challenges like sparking economic growth.

“A lot of rural communities do get in a period of being stagnant, so this is really a catalyst for that development and for bringing people downtown,” Reynolds said.

That catalyst is the Rural Zone Designation from the Department of Community Affairs.

Having these zones allows businesses and investors to obtain tax credits for activities happening in the city.

“The intent is that we will see some job creation, businesses moving into the downtown area, as well as revitalizing our historic buildings here that we have seen in the past become dilapidated,” Reynolds added.

The area of most importance, according to Reynolds, is job creation.

“To be able to tap into any of those tax incentives, the job creation component has to be there. We want quality jobs in our county, in our city, so this is a great way to bring jobs to downtown Blakely,” Reynolds said about the job tax incentive.

Through this designation, entrepreneurs will be able to use the tax credits for a high return on investments. Reynolds is hopeful for a big change in Blakely’s economy thanks to the designation.

“We have seen this designation be very successful in other parts of our region, and that is our hope here that this is going to be a turning point for downtown Blakely,” Reynolds said.

There will be informational sessions on this rural zone for citizens and anyone interested in bringing their business to Blakely.

The 5-year designation will officially begin on January 1.

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