Valdosta Continues Its Business Friendly Development

Barbara Kieker

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Public safety improved in Valdosta last year with the local police department outperforming state and national averages in terms of solving the most serious crimes, according to City Manager Larry Hanson.  The Valdosta Police Department solved 100 percent of murder cases and 79 percent of aggravated assaults in 2012.  

“Public safety is important to our citizens.  2012 was a very good year for both our police and fire departments,” said Hanson.   

Other 2012 highlights include the completion of the Mud Creek wastewater treatment plant expansion.  The plant’s capacity is now more than double its previous level.

“The wastewater treatment plant is located on the east side of town where we expect a lot of industrial growth,” Hanson said.

“We’re also completing construction of a $3.5 million elevated water storage tank.  It’s visible on our skyline now and it will add another two million gallons of water to improve water quality, pressure and fire protection services.”

The city also has transportation projects under way to alleviate congestion along east-west roads.  The projects will also help move traffic into the city center including more than 250,000 customers each year that visit the South Georgia Medical

A Look Ahead

The new health sciences building at Valdosta State University is scheduled to open in 2013, according to Hanson.  Built with strong support from SGMC, the city, VSU and other community partners, the facility will be a boon to the community and attract students and medical professionals to the area.  “Our state legislative delegation was amazing in making this a reality.”

“We’re also working on expanding Enterprise and Opportunity Zones and pursuing economic development opportunities,” Hanson said.

“We’ve had good success in the retail area and we’re looking to bring in additional retail businesses.  We have plans to see our downtown grow.  And we work closely with the Industrial Authority to pursue industrial expansions as well as new targeted industries,” Hanson said.

“We also have opportunities to further develop and strengthen our community partnerships.  Our mayor has been in office for a year.  We have a new president at VSU, a new director at the Valdosta-Lowndes County Conference Center/Tourism Authority, and our County Commission has a new Chairman and new members. Both Mayor Gayle and Chairman Slaughter are committed to bringing these entities, along with Wiregrass College, our Industrial Authority, the Chamber of Commerce and others together in the near future.  It’s a good time to work together to develop relationships and a collective vision for Valdosta.”

A Good Place to Live and Work

According to Hanson, lowering unemployment and raising per capita income are two of the key challenges the city of Valdosta faces.  Unemployment in the Valdosta MSA has historically been lower than the national and state average and is currently about 8 percent.

“It’s been a difficult economic environment with all the uncertainty in Washington.  Lots of businesses have been on the sidelines but are now starting to invest.  Manufacturing is returning to the United States.  We want to attract some of the higher-paying jobs they are and will be created,” Hanson said.

Many businesses that want to serve customers based in Florida choose to locate in Valdosta, according to Hanson. Lower insurance rates and more business friendly development standards are part of the attraction, as is Valdosta’s location on I-75.  Other strengths include SGMC, which draws large numbers of patients and professionals to the area each year.  Downtown Valdosta and Wild Adventures Theme Park are also strong attractions to our area.

“We believe we are poised for good things to happen.  Valdosta is a great community and a good place to start a business,” Hanson said.

More information on the City of Valdosta is available at

About Barbara Kieker

Barbara Kieker is a freelance writer who writes on business-related topics for a number of web-based properties. She also provides communications services to Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.