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Valdosta plans on revitalizing the historic Southside district; neighbors tell us why its needed

The Griffin Ave. corridor has been fixed up, and a new grocery store has opened in the middle of the neighborhood.
Posted at 6:10 PM, Oct 18, 2023
  • The city has fixed up the Griffin Avenue corridor, and a new Dollar General grocery store has been added to the area.
  • The city plans on investing $2 million for the south side.
  • Watch the video to see how south side neighbors are reacting to the changes.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT

It may be abandoned now, but south side neighbors wish to restore it to its former glory.
I'm Malia Thomas at Valdosta, and I took a trip over to the South side to see how the city plans on revitalizing the area.

"We're not seeing it happening much on the south side of town."

This is Valdosta neighbor Tarnesha Baker.
Her family has lived on the south side for generations.
She tells me her great grandparents, who owned several businesses, were. displaced by the construction of the back overpass.

"Do you know how the overpass affected them?"

"Well from what I was told by my grandparents and their brothers and sisters that their parents originally had several shoe shops and different businesses here. And once they decided that they were going to put up this bridge they didn't have an option."

John Hogan a lifelong neighbor on the South side agrees with Tarnesha. He tells me he's seen it all.

"I guess for me, being from Valdosta, from Lowndes County and from the south side of town, I've seen a lot growing up here. A lot of good, a lot of bad. And I've seen the ugly."

Tarnesha tells me that the overpass had good intentions but the city will have to do more than fix up the Griffin Ave corridor and put a Dollar General on the corner.

I checked with the city they've got a plan that gets in about $2 million towards housing infrastructure and neighborhood home repair here

"This was built for the black community so if they opened that funding and allowed minorities the black minority group to be able to use that funding to open up local small businesses in this area that would be more of a step in the right direction."

City Council is having their regular meeting on October 19th, and one of their agenda items is having a surveyor come down to the south side.

I'm Malia Thomas reporting for ABC 27.