Taylor Regional Hospital (TRH) continues to be one of Pulaski County’s largest economic drivers, in terms of employment and its regional draw for healthcare services. As with many rural hospitals, Taylor Regional faces challenges of recruitment and retention of doctors and nurses. With new demands being placed on healthcare facilities around the nation, fund development and community support of this economic engine remains a priority. Chronic healthcare concerns of childhood obesity and rising teen pregnancy rates are also community challenges.
Economic Development is a top priority for Hawkinsville and Pulaski County. Local partners include United Pulaski Economic Development, Hawkinsville-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce, Hawkinsville Better Hometown, Hawkinsville Downtown Development Authority, City of Hawkinsville Development Authority, and Hawkinsville-Pulaski County Development Authority. The Hawkinsville-Pulaski Economic Development (HPED) Committee was launched to develop a community-wide economic development strategic plan for Hawkinsville and Pulaski County. The HPED is representative of all five economic development entities, County and City governments, local business leaders, statewide and regional partners in economic development, and concerned citizens.
Government Service Delivery
Consolidation of government services and efficiency of service delivery are key priorities for the Hawkinsville-Pulaski County Archway Partnership. From consolidation of law enforcement entities to government organizational studies and airport management, the City and the County are committed to collaboration and efficient service delivery to its citizens. In the spring of 2010, students from UGA’s School of Public and International Affairs completed a Personnel and Organizational Study for the City of Hawkinsville. Higher education resources were leveraged to evaluate personnel policies and organizational structure within the City in an effort to better improve customer service and service delivery to the citizens of Hawkinsville.
Housing was identified as an early priority for the Hawkinsville-Pulaski County Archway Partnership. Working with the existing Georgia Initiative for Community Housing (GICH) program and the Hawkinsville Redevelopment Authority (HURA) with guidance from the Middle Georgia Regional Commission, efforts to remediate dilapidated housing have gained national and statewide recognition in 2010. The City of Hawkinsville was successful in several grant applications in 2010, receiving the following: $1.0 million – HOPE VI Main Street, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); $500,000 – CDBG, Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA)/HUD; and $300,000 – CHIP, DCA/HUD.
Leadership development has been an early success of the efforts of the Archway Partnership in Hawkinsville and Pulaski County. The need to identify and train new and emerging leaders from all segments of Pulaski County was critical to the success and work of all Issue Work Groups, as well as existing community organizations and governing bodies. Two leadership and professional development entities have developed as a direct response to this dialogue—the Ocmulgee Order (young business professionals’ leadership and networking initiative) and Pulaski Tomorrow. Participants from both Pulaski Tomorrow and Ocmulgee Order are actively being placed in leadership positions throughout the community as a direct result of these efforts.
Public education remains the number one priority of the Hawkinsville-Pulaski County Archway Partnership. Among the community’s greatest concerns are the persistent student achievement gap, public perception of the Pulaski County School system, and the need for increased community support and parental involvement in Pulaski County schools. The Public Education Issue Work Group met in August 2010 to identify three primary areas of critical concern: parental involvement, community support, and the need to create a stronger link between education and economic development. A direct outcome of this discussion is the ongoing exploration of a ‘Partners in Education’ program in Pulaski County.