News from Around the State – District 8

We are showcasing exciting projects and progress from GPA District 8. For questions, contact GPA District 8 Director, Matt Martin, AICP.

A New Downtown Park with an Amphitheater

The City of Valdosta is proud to announce the grand opening of its “Unity Park Amphitheater”, located on the corner of North Lee Street and East Central Avenue, diagonally across from the Valdosta City Hall. The Park was developed by the City as a place for the community to host various activities and events such as movie nights, outdoor concerts, food truck events and downtown festival space. City staff collaborated with the University of Georgia Civil and Environmental Engineering Department on this project during the fall 2019 and winter 2020 semesters. Three (3) senior students prepared a preliminary site design as part of their Capstone Project requirement for graduation.  Final design amenities included a theater with storage, sidewalks, landscaping, a stormwater bio-retention pond, park benches, and ample parking for food trucks.

The grand opening event will be held Saturday, August 20th from 4:00 – 10:00 pm. This is a family-friendly event with free admission for the entire community. There will be live bands, food trucks, kid zone, a splash zone, and more. For more information, please contact the Valdosta Main Street office at (229) 259-3577, or visit their website.

City of Valdosta Local Transit System

The City of Valdosta has completed its first full year of its own “Valdosta On Demand (VOD)” public transit system.  The City has partnered with “VIA” to operate a custom-marked fleet of 10 minivans that operate daily on-demand from 5:30am to 9:00pm from their central base at Valdosta City Hall.  Citizens can schedule their own individual pick-up/drop-off rides online using a custom App on their cellphone with the costs being just $2 per trip and $1 for each extra passenger.  There are no set routes like a regular transit system; instead, there are customized pick-ups and deliveries, much like a taxi or Uber system.

In its first year, this new micro transit system exceeded all expectations, with more than 65,000 trips being completed throughout the community.  This is particularly amazing for a City that only has about 60,000 total population.  The system has received very positive reviews from both citizens and businesses alike, and the City is now looking at options to expand the fleet even further.