UGA Students Assist Washington County Community in Creating “Highway 15 Coalition”

July 28, 2017

What began as a casual conversation in Washington County amongst local partners discussing economic development, tourism, and regional transportation developed into a multi-county collaboration of communities along Georgia Highway 15 to form the “Highway 15 Coalition.”

The goal of the group became an organized effort to promote travel along Georgia Highway 15 (officially named “Traditions Highway” by the Georgia Legislature in 2017), which transverses from the Georgia/Florida line in southern Georgia to the Georgia/North Carolina line in north Georgia.

Throughout the project, an amazing collaboration between communities who face similar challenges, but have no common marketable trait (e.g. some identify as predominantly “river communities,” some identify as predominantly “industrial communities,” etc.), has emerged. Despite their differences, the communities have aligned over their shared goal in promoting the growth and betterment of their counties.

UGA students from the Lamar Dodd School of Art (LDSOA), Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications, English department (Franklin College) and the Terry College of Business have assisted the coalition at various stages to develop public relations and marketing materials and tourism business evaluation assessments.

The Highway 15 Coalition/Traditions Highway project has the potential to impact multiple communities in Georgia by promoting travel and tourism along the route and thereby increasing economic development through raised awareness of local shopping and visitor opportunities. The coalition’s mission is for travelers to find a beautiful, scenic route through Georgia where they can explore many surprising assets to enjoy hidden away along Highway 15. Beautiful scenery, great food, history, and family fun are just a few of the promised treasures along Traditions Highway.

The Traditions Highway Project has provided a unique opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the study of the amazing part of Georgia that is outside of the boundaries of metro-Atlanta. Through collaboration with Dr. Elizabeth Davis and the “Writing and Community” class in which the Traditions Highway project has been the component of their experiential learning piece, students have studied and written about communities and assets along Traditions Highway exposing visitors and residents alike to locations, economic challenges, and assets in the state of Georgia they might not otherwise have known about.

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