Milledgeville says it feels part of $16B impact from Georgia universities, colleges

    Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville/Claudia Coco (WGXA)

    MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. -- A new report says Georgia's colleges and universities are producing major revenue for the cities they're based in, and Milledgeville residents say they can feel the impact from Georgia College and State University.

    The report from the University System of Georgia said universities and colleges in the state have a $16 billion impact.

    Omar Odeh with GCSU said that school is a big part of the $16 billion pie.

    "Georgia college's contribution to the local economy is abour $284 million," said Odeh.

    Karen Barett is the owner of Cclectic in downtown Milledgeville. Barnett said she's had several businesses, but that her favorite location is the one closest to GCSU. She said that college keeps Milledgeville moving.

    "The college has an impact on downtown, period. There's a lot of college kids that are going to the restaurants and shopping in the businesses," said Barett.

    It's not just the students though.

    "In particular, when the parents come into town, the parents come in and shop," Barett said.

    The report says that for every on-campus job, there are over two off-campus jobs.

    Odeh said GCSU employs over 900 people full time and about 200 part-time.

    He said that means "there are about 2,000 jobs off-campus in the city of Milledgeville, Baldwin County and the surrounding areas."

    Odeh said they're nearly at capacity, so it's not just about growing the size of the college.

    "So what we're trying to grow is the quality of the students that come here, the faculty. We're on this path to preeminence where we're really trying to do things in a way that the best institutions would do things," he said.

    Odeh said he's really seen a difference in downtown Milledgeville and in just the last 10 years and the university has been a big part of that.

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