As the Pulaski County University of Georgia Archway Partnership™ continues to work on community-identified priorities, the Archway executive committee will be hosting a listening session on Sept. 7 to set new goals for the program. Since 2009, Archway has completed 181 projects in Pulaski based on initial community priorities. While the community provides input on all projects, this listening session will provide an opportunity to holistically re-examine the community’s most pressing needs.
In the last year, the Pulaski County UGA Archway Partnership has seen the completion of several longstanding projects, making it the perfect time to engage with the community to plan next steps.
One of those projects is the Commerce Street repaving and re-design which began in 2018 with a group of UGA engineering students looking for ways to accommodate pedestrians and parking more efficiently downtown. Their design work allowed for increased retail and restaurant activity in the area. With the assistance of the UGA Institute of Government’s Renaissance Strategic Vision and Planning Process (RSVP) program, the plans from the engineering students were honed to Georgia Department of Transportation needs and the city submitted and received approval for the changes.
“Without the initial engineering project from UGA students and without being awarded with RSVP, this new design may have never come to fruition,” said Myers.
Pulaski County is also participating in the UGA Planning Rural Opportunities for Prosperity and Economic Leadership (PROPEL) program from the UGA Institute of Government. With the assistance of Archway, UGA faculty from the institute are working alongside community leaders and volunteers to gather input from business owners and other stakeholders; develop and analyze economic and labor market data; and educate owners about rural zone and other business development opportunities.
Led by a steering committee, UGA PROPEL will be spreading awareness of economic development opportunities across the community, including at Street Eats downtown, Second Saturdays and a career prep day at Hawkinsville High School in April. The program is funded through a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant with additional support from the UGA Foundation and will be working over the next year to develop a citizen-created action plan in targeted areas to drive economic development and community development to support Pulaski’s vision for its future.
“We recognized the need to not only work on improving our community each day, but we wanted to be sure and look years down the road to be able to improve the community for long-term,” said Jenna Mashburn, Pulaski County Sole Commissioner. “PROPEL is helping us to come together across the county and think about how we make sure there are opportunities here for our kids and grandkids.
The upcoming listening session will be useful in the UGA PROPEL process and will also help originate specific new projects. The Pulaski Tomorrow leadership development group and riverfront development are some of the projects that came from the previous community listening session.
“We are looking forward to hearing all the ideas from community members that we can work on with the Archway Partnership. Community input is critical to the projects that UGA faculty and students work on in Pulaski County and we want the whole community to have their voice heard,” said Gary Sharpe, site manager for H&V in Hawkinsville and a member of the Pulaski County Archway Executive Committee. “This listening session is a great opportunity for us to assess and reset Archway’s priorities in Pulaski County and we’re excited to see what attendees come up with. True success comes when we hear and act on the community’s needs.”
The community listening session will be Sept. 7 from 5:30-7 p.m. at Hawkinsville High School, with refreshments and tours of the brand-new school available.
The Archway Partnership is one of eight UGA Public Service and Outreach units dedicated to serving the state. UGA’s innovative approach to community engagement and the Archway Partnership earned the 2022 C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities. To learn more about the Archway Partnership visit archwaypartnership.uga.edu
Writer: Baker Owens
For more information: L. Sherrié Raleigh: Lisa.Raleigh@uga.edu