The future is certainly promising for Valdosta, especially after being recognized as a metropolitan area.
"We draw from 12 counties, 250,000 come and eat and shop and go to the university and the medical center, all of these go into saying we're a metro city," says Valdosta Mayor, James Rainwater.
Being named a metro region means Valdosta, along with Lowndes, Brooks, Echols and Lanier Counties will be eligible for more federal funding to help deal with growth and other expenses of an expanding region. Now that Valdosta is an official metro area, many large national retailers are expected to show more interest in setting up shop.
Local commercial real estate experts say the change will open up some doors, but metro status will not magically bring new stores and services to the Azalea City, but on the other hand, Minchew says the Valdosta metro area has a lot of factors working in its favor to help attract major companies.
"I think the fact that Valdosta has such a diversified economy makes all the difference in the world."
The Valdosta metro area officially includes Lowndes County and three surrounding counties because so many of the residents in those counties work in Valdosta. All the local governments could see additional federal funding thanks to this designation.