VSU Helps Moultrie Organization Plan Brighter, More Prosperous Future
VALDOSTA — When the Moultrie-Colquitt County Parks and Recreation Authority needed an economic impact analysis to quantify its value to the region it serves, Valdosta State University stepped in to help.
Now the organization is armed with the information necessary to help drive economic and community development in its rural community.
Greg Icard, executive director of the Moultrie-Colquitt County Parks and Recreation Authority, said he had heard about the services offered through VSU’s Center for South Georgia Regional Impact — and VSU’s commitment to help drive community and economic development and shape the future of South Georgia.
Icard reached out to Darrell Moore, executive director of VSU’s Center for South Georgia Regional Impact.
Moore introduced Icard to Dr. Matthew Kolakowski, an assistant professor in the VSU Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration’s Department of Management and Healthcare Administration.
“The focus of the economic impact analysis was specifically related to our baseball and softball tournaments, as well as our diving and swimming meets,” Icard shared. “These four areas of effort bring thousands of families each year to our community, and it was important that we assess their impact on our community, which is the direct result of our efforts as an organization.”
“The economic impact analysis allows our organization to seriously consider what we do on a yearly basis and how that benefits the citizens of our county,” he added.
Kolakowski said the analysis took him about 60 hours, spread out over three weeks, to complete.
“I usually take a three-step approach to completing an economic impact analysis,” he explained. “The first step is gathering historical data on hotel prices, food prices, and average number of event participants.
“The second step is aggregating the data to come up with reasonable impact analysis points.
“The third step is combining the data points with written analysis specific to the events — baseball, softball, diving, and swimming in this case — and how those events generate economic activity, i.e. money flowing into the community.”
The Moultrie-Colquitt County Parks and Recreation Authority plans to utilize the results of the analysis when making future decisions about facilities, programs, and other activities planned for its local community. Icard said the information will help “demonstrate our value to our citizens and elected officials” and provide important information for better decision-making about the community’s economic future.
“Our experience working with VSU was fantastic,” he continued. “All parties involved were extremely courteous, responsive, and knowledgeable. There was a desire to assist and a willingness to get good data so that we would receive reliable and accurate information back to us within our time frame.”
Kolakowski said that the most enjoyable part about completing this economic impact analysis for the Moultrie-Colquitt County Parks and Recreation Authority “is seeing the potential for growth and positive change for the area. If VSU can be a change agent in growing our 41-county service area’s economic activity, then we have achieved significant progress.”
The Center for South Georgia Regional Impact was created in 2018 to support VSU’s unwavering commitment to being a catalyst for regional comprehensive progress and serving as a resource for industry, healthcare, arts, education, athletics, and other changing economic needs that support the growth of the region. The center works with community leaders in VSU’s 41-county service area to identify issues they want to confront and then connects those community leaders to VSU faculty, staff, and students with the knowledge and skills needed to develop solutions and accelerate progress toward a better tomorrow.
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