Business View Civil and Municipal | Volume 3, Issue 3

119 CIVIL AND MUNICIPAL VOLUME 3, ISSUE 3 J ust south of the Georgia border, Columbia County, Florida and its county seat Lake City have been welcoming visitors to the state since the early 1800s. More recently, the county has increased its investments in local infrastructure, utilities, and business resources to attract new industries and residents – and it is safe to say these efforts are working. Columbia County is strategically situated south of Valdosta, Georgia, west of Jacksonville, east of Tallahassee, and north of Gainesville; no more than a one-to-two-hour drive from any of those cities. It has traditionally been known as a rural, agricultural region and that presence is still felt. Even with its growing industrial and retail presence, much of the county is heavily wooded with private, state, and federal lands that are zoned for protection from development. “It’s a place with a wonderful sense of identity of who we are,” says County Manager David Kraus, a former Chicago resident who was amazed at the available outdoor and environmental activities in the county when he first moved to the area. “We have rivers, lakes, natural forests, and more that make it an ideal place for fishing, kayaking, and just about any other outdoor activity you want. The county also has more natural springs than just about anywhere else in the U.S. Here, people don’t lose their identity.” The agricultural community will never completely leave Columbia County but over the last 10-20 years, other employers have moved into the area and it continues to grow, according to County Office Manager Jennifer (Goff) Daniels. There are several large employers in the county including New Millennium Building Systems, Columbia County, F