We're excited to announce a new recurring segment on Morning Edition on GPB, in collaboration with Georgia Trend magazine. Each month, we'll bring you in-depth interviews and stories that highlight the dynamic developments and key players shaping the future of Georgia, from economic growth and industry insights to community initiatives and cultural milestones.

In our first segment, we dive into Georgia Trend writer K.K. Snyder’s spotlight on Douglas County. Snyder’s feature explores the recent surge in film production and economic development in Douglas County, including the opening of a major studio complex and the influx of big-name companies like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.



Pamela Kirkland: It's Morning Edition. I'm Pamela Kirkland. There's a lot happening in Douglas County right now, from major companies investing in the area to film projects. It's becoming a hub of innovation. Here to talk to us about it is K.K. Snyder. She's a writer for Georgia Trend, our partner, and joins me now. K.K., thank you for being here.

K.K. Snyder: Thank you for having me.

Pamela Kirkland: Let's start off with what is attracting all of these different things to Douglas County in the first place.

K.K. Snyder: Okay. Well, I think it's location, to begin with. They have acreage available but yet they're just 25 minutes from the world's busiest airport and they're close to the interstate. Leaders there are courting these types of businesses, industries, filmmakers. And it's just become an attractive location for that type of industry.

Pamela Kirkland: Talk to me about Lionsgate Studio and that opening. How is that expected to impact the local economy there?

K.K. Snyder: I think it's going to have an incredible impact. Their initial investment was $200 million and the project brought 2,000 jobs to the area. They have 12 sound studios and they're covering a large amount of acreage there. They've been filming there even before they had this project. They filmed some footage for The Hunger Games movies, and even prior to Lionsgate going back as long as, you know, as much as 50 years ago, they did some filming there for that '70s classic Smokey and the Bandit. So the area is no stranger to film. There have been scenes from Stranger Things and MacGyver filmed there. So Lionsgate is the first with this, you know, physical presence. It's the anchor project for a mixed-use development called The Hills. And so there'll be a lot of things growing up around the studio, now that it's established. And I think it's just going to have a tremendous impact on the overall economy there.

Pamela Kirkland: And in Douglasville, you spotlighted the ampitheater that's going in, as well as the town green. The population there has grown in terms of that city in recent years. Who are the people that the city is trying to get to move there?

K.K. Snyder: I think, you know, they're of course getting folks that are coming in with these new industries. You have Microsoft there and Google and you know, they with these jobs, they're bringing new residents. And, you know, while it's great — the growth is great — It also has some challenges. You know, they have some older infrastructure that they're trying to deal with. And, you know, they're wanting to provide, you know, quality amenities for the new residents and, you know, the current residents, previous residents. So it's kind of a mixed bag. You know, it's great to have the growth, but they certainly are working to to grow smartly and not make rash decisions.

Pamela Kirkland: You spoke with the mayor. How did the mayor say that they were addressing some of those concerns that you just brought up?

K.K. Snyder: They're hoping for one day to bring some younger people to the area, you know, and to do that, of course, they are looking at residential development in the downtown. They think that the younger folks would be drawn to that. You know, there are a lot of areas established already with, you know, family neighborhoods and family homes, but they really would like to attract some younger residents. And so they're developing with some of those ideas in mind.

Pamela Kirkland: K.K. Snyder is a writer for Georgia Trend magazine. Thank you for being here.

K.K. Snyder: You're welcome.

Pamela Kirkland: And you can find K.K.'s work on Georgiatrend.com.