Valdosta Daily Times

November 4, 2012

A passionate advocate for the library

Kay Harris
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — As Chairman of the Lowndes County and South Georgia Regional Library Boards, yes, I am a big proponent of SPLOST. I haven’t tried to hide that, as I’ve spoken to a number of organizations throughout the election period to advocate for the referendum.

As the local newspaper editor, my politics stay neutral and unspoken, and most who try to guess my “leanings” are usually way off the mark. But in matters of economic development, education and illiteracy, I have no issue demonstrating my full support publicly. I’ve been involved in literacy initiatives here in Valdosta since 2002 and was certified as an adult literacy tutor more than 20 years ago. I am a voracious reader, and think it’s extremely important that others have the same opportunity.

I certainly believe in education, continuing my own, and believe that without education and opportunities, the cycle of poverty will never be broken. As for economic development, I’m the biggest cheerleader for business in the community, writing this column for more than a decade promoting local businesses.

So when asked why I support the library and SPLOST, my answer is that it’s my way of promoting the community and helping those in need. What good does it do to simply talk about the importance of these issues without actually putting your own personal time, energy and effort behind them?

SPLOST will generate jobs, infuse money into our local economy, and keep our community on a progressive track. A new library will enable our community to have a place for reading and learning, in addition to all the new uses available through technology, which allows individuals to fill out job applications online, file for Social Security online, register for classes, do research, write papers, or simply explore the Internet and read news, sports, or entertainment items.

Combining the library with the new auditorium allows for the land they are currently on to be utilized by SGMC for future growth. The project brings vitality to the Five Points area, and gives two very well used facilities room to expand, offer essential services, and contribute to the cultural and educational needs of our community while creating jobs.  How you choose to vote is your business. All I ask is that you make your decision based on what will benefit the community as a whole.

Business Roundup

Interesting phone call this week and great segue from the above comments. I received a call from a man representing a national brand trying to purchase some property close to Five Points to bring a well known business to town, solely because of the development in that area with the library and auditorium. If they’re already trying to get in on the ground floor, so to speak, it seems likely others will follow. I’ll have more on this when the company is closer to making a deal.

Exciting news for Lakeland residents as Jet Food Stores opened a location there on Friday. And over in Hahira, the new Slice Pizzeria officially opened this week.

The Valdosta Mall is getting another new store, very exciting, called Valdosta Vault, a jewelry store. They expect to be open in mid-November.

The former Huddle House restaurant that’s been closed for some time on St. Augustine Road has a sign saying Korea Garden restaurant coming soon.

No word yet on the former Moe’s location near Home Depot and Kohls. No signs up, no one contacted me this week.

The site being cleared near the Winn Dixie is supposedly going to be a new doctor’s office, but that’s not official confirmation yet.

And the Beall’s grand opening for its new and much enlarged location in the Winn Dixie plaza is set for Nov. 17.

The new HeritageBank of the South location on Inner Perimeter is still underway, with a possible opening by year’s end. And the Publix across the street is also still moving along, with an eye still towards a February/ March opening.

Glad to see the resurfacing project on N. Valdosta Road going well, and also the new entrance/ road/ exit to the Olive Garden/ Starbucks area off St. Augustine. Hopefully that roadway will be done before the holiday season gets fully underway, as traffic will be unpleasant in that area otherwise.

There’s a new store locating downtown by Miller Hardware that I hope to have information about next week for you.

That’s all for now, but if there’s anything I missed, please let me know!