PDA to launch One Sumter initiative
Published 2:00 pm Sunday, January 25, 2015
AMERICUS — The Americus-Sumter Payroll Development Authority (ASPDA) has had a tremendous impact in the past for Sumter County — helping to create thousands of new and expanded jobs, resulting in a direct increase of additional payroll, and hundreds of millions in new capital investment. Current competition for attracting and retaining new opportunities calls for a bold initiative if Sumter County is to lead once again. Therefore, the ASPDA is embarking on a new, five-year economic and community development initiative — “One Sumter” — that will shape the future of the area and improve the quality of life throughout Sumter County. This bold five-year program expands and enhances the mission of the ASPDA and re-energizes collaboration among Sumter County’s private corporate community, education and community leaders as well as elected officials for the good of the entire community.
The mission of One Sumter is simple: To create sound economic growth by defining and addressing Sumter County’s needs and opportunities. One Sumter will dedicate resources to help the communities of Americus, Andersonville, DeSoto, Leslie, Plains and all of Sumter County.
When One Sumter’s Campaign General Chair, Brad Lafevers, was asked the reason for his involvement, Lafevers said, “I believe it’s now time for us to take charge of this community and to take charge of our future. Every demographic study you look at indicates that within 20 years the population of Sumter County will be much smaller than it is today; it will be older and it will be poorer. That tends to lead to the slippery slope that ultimately creates the demise of the community. I think that today is the day that we step forward as a community, come together and dictate our own future.”
Rick Whaley, a member of the One Sumter leadership, added to Lafevers’ sentiments.
We’ve lost some of the momentum and I think that the One Sumter initiative will help recharge that effort and move us forward,” Whaley said.
Over the next five years, One Sumter will focus on issues of critical importance that will benefit all citizens of Sumter County. The One Sumter initiative has four interrelated and supporting components. They are economic development, workforce development, marketing/communications and transportation.
Stated within the goals of One Sumter is the targeting of new business to complement Sumter County’s existing business community. This initiative will create 2,500 new and expanded jobs and $125 million in additional payroll over the next five years. This translates into increased capital investment and enhanced profitability for all businesses in Sumter County.
Americus City Council member Juanita Wilson is hopeful for the future.
“What excites me about the One Sumter initiative is the possibility of new jobs and maybe one of my children might decide to come home to take one of these high-quality jobs,” she said.
The men and women who are leading One Sumter are strongly committed to the long-term economic vitality and educational excellence of Sumter County. This initiative is community driven and the success of One Sumter is dependent on the strong leadership and pace-setting financial commitment of Sumter County’s public and private sector leaders.
Looking forward, One Sumter’s Bill Harris Sr. said, “What I picture is a very vibrant community with all aspects of the community growing and offering opportunities for everyone to come back here to realize the potential that we do have in this community.”
One Sumter’s Paul Hall continued Harris’ vision.
“And building on that I think our goal through One Sumter’s initiative is to create jobs, broaden our tax base and insure a greater quality of life and certainly we can say at this point in time, that we have taken control of the true direction for our future,” he said.
Lafevers’ message was clear.
“One Sumter is a move in the right direction; we need your help to get there. It’s time for you to decide, will you lead with us?”
For more information contact One Sumter Campaign Project director, Gary Lightfoot or Campaign coordinator, Rindy Phillips in Americus at 229-924-3042.