The Lions Club here in LaGrange and Troup County are continuously getting involved in their community and striving to not only stay up to date on their city, but also to help as many people as they can. Through various fundraisers and events, the Lions always try and give back to one of the best cities and communities in all the United States. That community is in the midst of a great time of growth and prosperity, with the population expected to reach the 90,000 plus by the year 2025. This past Tuesday afternoon, August 29th, Scott Malone, the President of the Downtown Lagrange Development Authority, spoke to the Lions on all of the various projects that are currently happening here in LaGrange.
Malone has been the President of the DLDA since early 2016. In his time, several projects have been kicked off the ground and LaGrange has entered its biggest period of growth that it has ever seen. The signs of growth are clear and developments are popping up all across the city and the county. From industrial to retail and even the food service industry, there is so much happening right now. Malone’s talk that day provided a lot of information and insight into several of these projects.
To start with, Malone touched on many of the very noticeable projects springing up out of the ground. Among these are the Great Wolf Lodge (a 170 million dollar investment), the quickly approaching groundbreaking for the new Sentury Tire facility (530 million), and even expansions on industries that have been in the community for a while such as Duracell (100 million). The other big projects over the past few years include Sweetland Amphitheater, now in its second year, the new Wild Leap Brewery in downtown, opening this September, and the new Courtyard Marriott hotel on the square, also opening later this year.
Malone also spoke on the Callaway Foundation, stating that there are areas and communities that are much larger than us that do not have an asset like the foundation. Over the past several years, the foundation has invested over 50 million dollars into downtown LaGrange. Also wrapping its way near the downtown, specifically near Granger Park, is the Thread, a new multiple mile trail system that will eventually, after many years and a lot of investment, wrap together the entire community. The first section at Granger opened just a month or so ago and phase two at Calumet Park is set to begin very soon.
Scott also went into detail on some other less known projects but projects that are equally as important. He claims that the number one thing needed in the community is affordable housing. In fact, there are currently five developers working on seven neighborhoods, with houses being sold as quickly as they are built. He also touched on the excellence of our school system, revealing that one of our schools, Rosemont, is one of only nine blue ribbon schools in the state of Georgia.
All in all, there has been over one billion dollars worth of investment closed in La-Grange over the past year and over 2,000 new jobs created. LaGrange is ranked the number one place in the state for business, the number one micropolitan in the state, number 11 micropolitan in the country for job production, and the number one micropolitan in the country for Fortune 500 companies. We are also sixth in the state for people employed by international companies. As such, the stretch of road from the KMMG plant back towards the city limits of LaGrange will soon be labeled as the Georgia International Business Park, with more information and an official announcement on this coming later this year.
Perhaps the biggest take away from Malone’s presentation to the Lion’s Club that afternoon was all about the mindset that we all have about our city and our county. We have a tendency to be negative and criticize many things in and around the community. Instead, Malone says that La-Grange is no longerAmerica’s best kept little secret. No, in fact we are the fastest growing area in the state of Georgia outside of the metro Atlanta/ Georgia Tech area. We are quickly on the rise with change coming, and coming fast.