Hugging the west central edge of the state, Georgia’s Three Rivers Region gets its name from the waterways that border or run through it – the Flint, Chattahoochee and Ocmulgee rivers. But plentiful water resources are just one of many attributes that make this 10-county area a logical choice for economic development.
The area is already home to such diverse port customers as Kia Motors, Interface Flooring Systems, Powertech America and Norcom Inc.
Daniel Jackson, president and CEO of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, has worked in development in the region for more than two decades and has seen Three Rivers grow into a vibrant multi-cultural region with an emerging role in the state’s international economy.
Among the area’s strengths, Jackson said, are available and reasonably priced land, workforce development in higher education and a strong transportation and logistics corridor.
“We have great interstate access with I-20, I-75, I-85 and I-185, putting both Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta and the Port of Savannah within easy reach,” he said, adding that an extensive rail freight infrastructure provides convenient access to markets worldwide.
The area’s 10 post-secondary institutions – a mix of liberal arts and technical schools - offer a wide variety of workforce training, as evidenced by the number of high-tech manufacturers that have chosen to locate in the region.
Then there are the “intangibles,” ranging from quality of life to forward-thinking leadership in many of the 43 municipalities that make up the region, said Kirk Fjelstul, executive director of the Three Rivers Regional commission, adding that the commission is working to support the expansion of Georgia’s Export/Import Highway from I-85 in LaGrange to I-75 near to Macon.
Development and industrial authorities within the region also play an integral role in both local and regional economic development, said Kyle Fletcher, executive director of the Thomaston-Upson County IDA, whose diversified industrial base includes food processing, printing, injection molding and textiles.
“There is a strong sense of regionalism that unifies all of Three Rivers,” she said.
Other region advantages, Jackson noted, include an exceptional healthcare system, a strong workforce draw from both Alabama and Georgia and a moderate climate that is rarely given to such business-disrupting extremes as snow, ice, hurricanes and flooding.
Among the region’s success stories:
· Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia has produced over 1.5 million vehicles since 2009. Its $1.1 billion plant is responsible for the creation of more than 14,000 jobs in West Point and the Three Rivers Region.
· Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation of America, located 30 minutes south of Atlanta in Newnan, employs more than 1,000 people manufacturing four recreational product lines, including golf carts, ATVs and personal watercraft.
· Sentury Tire North America will break ground this fall on a new 400-acre, 1.4 million square foot tire manufacturing operation in LaGrange. When complete next year, the $530 million facility will bring another 1,000 jobs to the Three Rivers Region.