Hart County has earned UGA’s Connected Resilient Community designation after working alongside University of Georgia partners to complete multiple projects designed to make them more attractive to economic development.

Hart County was awarded the CRC designation during the 32nd Annual Public Service and Outreach Meeting and Awards Luncheon, after completing three community-identified projects.

“The foundation of CRC is partnering with communities and connecting the resources and expertise of UGA to increase potential for community-led growth,” said Jennifer Frum, vice president for UGA Public Service and Outreach. “As the state’s land- and sea-grant institution, University of Georgia’s is always working to improve opportunities for economic vitality across the state.”

Hart County focused its resiliency efforts in three areas: workforce development, education and downtown revitalization. UGA Archway Partnership™, a unit of UGA Public Service and Outreach, facilitates the CRC program and connects communities with UGA resources to complete their projects. In Hart County, projects were completed with assistance from the UGA College of Engineering, UGA College of Environment and Design, UGA Lamar Dodd School of Art, UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Institute of Government, another unit of Public Service and Outreach.

The first project, receiving a silver CRC medal, was this year’s Regional Agricultural Expo. Attended by almost 800 people, the expo is a major piece of the effort to expand the future agricultural workforce, strengthen retention and promotion and also share the research and work from agricultural faculty at UGA.

The county education foundation worked with UGA students for its gold CRC project, developing a new branding strategy and additional funding priorities with the assistance of Institute of Leadership Advancement students in the Terry College of Business. The education foundation is now focused on additional support for students and teachers, providing scholarships to students and funding for other educational opportunities such as academic programs, teacher support, athletics and more.

The platinium CRC project brought in UGA students and faculty to continue beautification and revitalization of downtown Hartwell. The development of Railroad Street Park, infrastructure improvements and additional murals provide more space for downtown activities, enhance the quality of life and increase opportunities for tourism.

“We are very excited to receive our CRC designation, and we are especially excited about the projects that led us here,” said Jason Ford, executive director of the Hartwell Downtown Development Authority. “These projects are meaningful because they provide new opportunities to support our students, continue to grow and enhance our downtown, and also raise awareness and support for the region’s number one industry, agriculture.”

Hart County worked extensively with CRC Community Engagement Manager Brittany Standifer and Archway Professional Rosanna Cruz-Bibb on developing the CRC projects that earned the designation.

The Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost launched the CRC program in late 2021, with support from the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach. The program has grown thanks to a generous gift from the UGA Foundation.

This year, Frum also announced four new communities for the CRC program: Appling and Grady counties, and the cities of Cartersville and Sylvester.

To earn the CRC designation, selected communities complete three resiliency-building projects over a period of 12 to 18 months.

The University of Georgia won the 2022 national Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ (APLU) highest award for community engagement for the Archway Partnership.

Learn more about the Connected Resilient Community initiative.

Writer: Baker Owens, baker.owens@uga.edu

Contact: Brittany Standifer, 706-483-3264, brittany.standifer@uga.edu