Economic development is a long, tedious process and Baldwin County is well-positioned for the future, according to economic development leader Matt Poyner. Poyner, Milledgeville-Baldwin County Development Authority executive director, delivered an update to local business and community leaders Thursday morning as part of the Chamber of Commerce’s Eggs & Issues series. Location to major roadways like U.S. Highway 441 and the Fall Line Freeway, higher education opportunities and overall quality of life bring a lot to the table for Baldwin County when it comes to business prospects, said Poyner. Poyner gave an update on his six months on the job and also provided details on his six-month plan moving forward. Since taking the helm last fall, the development authority has updated its website, established a social media presence and created new marketing materials. Goals moving forward are to focus more on working with existing industries to ensure that their needs are met and aligning more closely with the local Chamber on special projects. Aesthetic improvements to the local industrial park will also continue. Grading work has been put out to bid to prep parts of the site for prospective suitors. Plans are also to develop a new main entrance to the industrial park, landscape the area and create loop access for big trucks to enter and exit. More work must also be done to enhance the appearance of entryways throughout Baldwin County, he noted, such as along the 441 corridor. Another goal moving forward is to identify target industries for Baldwin County. With that in mind, regionalism, establishing a stronger connectivity between Baldwin and surrounding counties will continue to be a factor in job creation. Regionally, the opening of new facilities like the Caterpillar plant outside Athens have the potential to create ancillary job opportunities. Baldwin County development authority officials are working closely with neighboring Wilkinson County on a joint development project — a new industrial park along the Fall Line Freeway. The local development authority if funded 50-50 by the city and county.
The development authority board meets every fourth Monday at 5:30 p.m.