Chamber awards top businesses

Asia Ashley

March 12, 2014

Three businesses were awarded for their successes over the last year during the monthly LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce Early Bird Breakfast on Tuesday.

Winning “Large Business of the Year,” EMS Consultants LTD has a total of 91 employees and is a software developer for ambulance industry across southern and eastern United States, with a client base of 250 ambulance providers. The business has been located in Troup County since 1988.

Mountville Mills and Powertech America both received the “Manufacturer of the Year” award.

Mountville Mills has been located in LaGrange since 1963 and is now global with more than 600 associates, nearly 400 of them LaGrange. Named the Georgia’s ‘Family Owned Business of the Year,’ it is the country’s largest manufacturer of rubber mats; Powertech America has been in LaGrange since 2010 with its “overcapacity of demand” has brought over 500 new jobs to the area. Powertech has also supported local education and community non-profit organizations and become “a place where employees look forward to coming to work.”

Local of “Teacher of the Year” winners were also presented with a gift on behalf of the chamber.

Following award recognitions, Speer Burdette, president of the Callaway Foundation, presented chamber guests with the progress of downtown LaGrange over the years.

Downtown renovation began before 2000, he said, and consultants’ focus was “not to lose the charm of the town,” specifically referencing the downtown area and Lafayette Square.

The plan was to increase the walk-ability of downtown and since then walkways and the city parking deck have been incorporated into the downtown area. A plan for a movie theatre and connectivity to LaGrange College was also apart of the goal.

Carmike Theatre has been a large economic driver in bringing people downtown and Broad Street Apartments have been instrumental in connecting Broad and Vernon streets to the college, Burdette mentioned.

With over $50 million in investment in downtown, the government center and Del’Avant have also become great assets to the downtown area, he said.

Burdette also reviewed a layout on the upcoming Boyd Park amphitheatre project.

The amphitheatre would become an entertainment venue and would have a public space for the community to enjoy.The amphitheatre would be equipped with 2,000 seats with renovations to the current buildings. There are currently 4,000 parking spaces within half a mile of the park and in the downtown area.

Bobby Carmichael, Executive Director for the Development Authority of LaGrange, also gave an update on the upcoming downtown hotel project.

The $15 million Marriott Courtyards hotel will be a 99 room hotel located at the former Mansour’s site.

With hopes of getting the new market tax credit approved by May, demolition would begin in May or July. Construction would then begin in July and the hotel is expected to be complete by Dec. 2015.

“It’s not a done deal yet, but all of us involved are pretty optimistic that this is a game changer for downtown and we can’t let it not happen,” said Carmichael.