The Georgia Municipal Association and Georgia Trend magazine chose Statesboro for a 2017 Live, Work, Play City Award, presented during the GMA’s annual Mayors’ Day Conference in Atlanta.
Nine cities in all, three classified as large, three as medium and three as small, received the awards and are featured in the February edition of Georgia Trend. This is one case in which Statesboro was counted as “large,” because it has more than 25,000 people. The other “large” Live, Work, Play cities recognized are Rome and Roswell.
Contest judges praised the winning cities for success in advancing job creation, housing offerings and recreational amenities, the GMA reported in a news release. The judges represented Georgia Power’s community economic impact office, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
“These nine cities truly embody well-rounded communities that benefit residents and businesses alike,” said GMA Executive Director Lamar Norton. “They also serve as examples for local governments across Georgia.”
Dublin, Griffin and Woodstock received awards in the medium category, for cities with 5,000 to 24,999 people. Grayson, Madison and West Point are the recipients among cities with fewer than 5,000 people.
FabLab & Blue Mile
The Statesboro segment of Georgia Trend’s article, the text of which can be found at www.georgiatrend.com, mentions the FabLab and Innovation Incubator, built downtown as a joint venture between the city and Georgia Southern University.
Statesboro’s finalist status in the ongoing America’s Best Communities contest, based on the Blue Mile plan to revitalize the South Main Street area, is also highlighted. So are community relations efforts of the Statesboro Police Department.
“Officials in these cities have demonstrated advanced problem-solving, exceptional management and teamwork to increase the overall quality of life for all residents,” Norton said. “GMA is honored to serve all of our member cities and especially proud of these award recipients.”
Mayor Jan Moore and Statesboro City Council members Phil Boyum, Sam Jones and Jeff Yawn accepted the award on Statesboro’s behalf during the Jan. 22 awards luncheon.
“It’s just another way in which the city of Statesboro of late has been showcased for its uniqueness, for what makes it special,” Moore said this week. “Obviously, as mayor I feel it’s a very special place, but I think that we’ve done a beautiful job of incorporating our university into our city, and people feel very comfortable living within our city limits, they feel very comfortable playing and working, and this is just simply a reflection of that.”
Council members Travis Chance and John Riggs attended other parts of the Mayors Day Conference, so the entire council was there during the annual GMA event the third weekend in January. The Statesboro officials met with legislators from the area at the Capitol while they were there, Moore said.
No money comes with the recognition by GMA and Georgia Trend.
But, in the separate America’s Best Communities competition, Statesboro, as one of eight finalist communities, is in the running for one of three top prizes, of $3 million, $2 million or $1 million, to continue with the Blue Mile plan. Statesboro previously received $150,000 in quarterfinalist and finalist prizes, and a $15,000 local match was supplied through the Averitt Center for the Arts and the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority.
Winners are to be named April 19 in the contest sponsored by Frontier Communications, Dish Network, CoBank and the Weather Channel.
The most visible streetscape progress on the Blue Mile so far is the gateway entrance, a pair of signs supported by masonry columns on either side of U.S. Highway 301 near Georgia Southern’s Southern Drive interest. Whitfield Signs put the signs up this week. But the Blue Mile committee also has long-range efforts directed at residential development and business recruitment.
“While we’re in this competition, we’re also being recognized throughout the state for these efforts, and I just couldn’t be more pleased at the opportunity for our community to see that we are a point of pride for what we’re doing, and when I say ‘we,’ I mean everybody that has an interest as a leader, as a volunteer or even as a supporter,” said Phyllis Thompson, Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce president.