"Heart and Soul" Bus Tour

The "Heart and Soul" bus tour has made a stop in southwest Georgia for the first time ever. Thomasville was one of the 12 cities selected to show off its beautiful historic downtown to state leaders.

State lawmakers and business leaders left behind the hustle and bustle of the big city and got a taste of the simple life in downtown Thomasville, and they were quite impressed.

"The growth and the explosion of the quality of the development has been unbelievable," comments Susan Peacock, an economic development consultant.

The Heart and Soul bus tour brought these folks here. City officials escorted state leaders through downtown, showcasing the city's revitalization and economic development initiatives.

"A lot of downtowns have struggled to survive and it's a real effort to maintain them and attract people and customers to come back downtown. Each of the communities that they have visited have done a real good job of that," says John Bulloch, (R) Ochlocknee.

"One of the beauties of taking trips like this is to see the way that people have been able to implement and leverage local and state dollars and private dollars as well, and share that success with communities that are struggling," adds Peacock.

State officials touted the city's dedication to preserving its downtown, which they say makes it a unique venue that brings back refreshing memories of the past.

"How they have restored the facilities back to the original colors and designs and maintained the integrity of what downtown is," says Bulloch.

Bainbridge, Cairo and Moultrie were all among the cities that got a visit from state leaders Thursday. Another benefit of the tour is to show lawmakers the results of funding downtown development, which may help them decide on future funding of such projects.