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Saturday, July 3, 2010 - 5:49am

Rural Development Money Goes to Cities

A fund intended to help the state’s most economically challenged areas was used to help woo NCR to Columbus and expand Mitsubishi in Savannah. Cities are tapping the funds for economic development as other resources have dried up.

Governor Perdue announced $18 million in One Georgia fund awards Wednesday.

The fund was set up in 2000 as a result of a settlement with tobacco companies to give money to rural communities hit by the decline in tobacco production.

Half of the money is going to projects in Columbus, Savannah and Augusta.

Head of the One Georgia Nancy Cobb says economic development authorities are using the resources more now than before the recession.

"That’s primarily because we are there to spur economic development and there is a scarcity of money elsewhere," says Cobb.

Cobb says money given to the cities will create jobs for people in surrounding rural areas.

"Jobs do not happen in a vaccuum. County lines begin to blur when you are looking for a job."

The money awarded this year is expected to create over 2,000 jobs in the state and retain a few hundred more.

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