Water powers the Greater Valley area

06/07/2013  | 

Water and woodlands have defined the Greater Valley Area since Creek Indians located their villages on the banks of the Chattahoochee River and other streams around. Today, the area can be described as a “body” ­ West Point Lake is the head, with the Chattahoochee River running south through the torso and Lake Harding at the feet.

Through the years, waterways and temperate climate have created a home for a variety of birds and wildlife. Today, eagles can be spotted soaring along the river and osprey build nests near West Point Dam. A variety of other birds also can be seen here, especially at the three sites of the Piedmont Plateau Birding Trail.

The “Greater Valley Area” includes four cities ­— West Point, Ga., and LaFayette, Lanett and Valley in Alabama ­— in three counties in two states. The area lies along I-85 midway between Atlanta and Montgomery, a little under an hour from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

West Point Lake hosts major bass tournaments each year, several out of Southern Harbor Marina and Resort. Southern Harbor has an on-site restaurant, rustic rental cabins on the water and pontoon boats for rent. It’s a great site, not for just fishing, but for total quiet and relaxation.

After the Indians, came the settlers, who used the river to move their goods and the fertile land to create their farms. The abundance of fish and game were an added bonus.

Following the Civil War, the Chattahoochee River again played a key role as the textile industry harnessed the river to provide power for the mills constructed along its banks.

After more than 150 years of textile dominance, that industry moved to foreign shores within the last decade and the Greater Valley Area has reinvented itself as an automotive manufacturing hub. Kia located its first U.S. manufacturing plant in West Point and tier-one and tier-two suppliers have clustered around Troup and Harris counties in Georgia and in Chambers County, Ala. The new industry has brought a surge in job opportunities.

Educational opportunities in the immediate area make it attractive to anyone considering a move here. It’s possible to start kindergarten and get a college or technical degree locally, without ever leaving home. Point University, a noted four-year Christian college, is headquartered in West Point, while Southern Union State Community College offers two-year associate degrees in a wide range of technical studies, nursing and basic college courses. LaGrange (Ga.) College, a four-year liberal arts school, is only 16 miles away and Auburn University only 30 miles down I-85.

The Greater Valley Area is only about 45 minutes from Fort Benning in Georgia, with its shopping and services for military families and the resource of Martin Army Hospital. In the immediate area, medical needs are served by the well-equipped Lanier Health Services, which has its own urgent care center and nursing home.

While the local economic development organization continues to promote the area as an attractive location for more industry and retail, the elements of water and woodlands make tourism a key factor.

The area is populated with antique shops and a variety of restaurants, including American, Mexican and Korean cuisine.

Just as in the days when the Creeks called it home, the Greater Valley Area is still a green oasis. It offers all the modern amenities and opportunities for education and jobs, balanced with the natural resources that can provide a respite in today’s fast-paced world.

For more information, visit www.greatervalleyarea.com or call 334-642-1411.
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