The newest participants in the University of Georgia’s Connected Resilient Communities (CRC) program were announced recently at the 32nd Annual UGA Public Service and Outreach Meeting and Awards Luncheon at the UGA Center for Continuing Education & Hotel in Athens. Sylvester, along with Appling County, the City of Cartersville and Grady County are all joining the program. Hart and Washington counties completed their work in CRC and were awarded the Connected Resilient Community designation at the event.
The UGA CRC program, facilitated by the UGA Archway Partnership™, helps communities tap into the resources and expertise at UGA to address local issues and become more attractive to economic development. CRC communities partner with experts from UGA to complete three projects, over 12-18 months, designed to increase resiliency. Communities receive silver and gold medals after projects one and two, respectively, and a platinum medal after project three, signifying they have earned the CRC designation through extraordinary planning, collaboration and partnership with UGA to build a prosperous future.
“The UGA CRC designation differentiates communities from others in a highly competitive landscape. We look forward to connecting with the City of Sylvester and identifying the best University of Georgia resources to assist in planning and growth,” said Jennifer Frum, vice president for Public Service and Outreach.
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.
The Connected Resilient Communities program was born out of a desire to extend the reach of the Archway Partnership, a Public Service and Outreach unit created to enhance the University of Georgia’s land-grant mission of teaching, research and service while addressing self-identified community issues across the state.
“Sylvester is a growing community. We wish to expand our city limits so that we can continue to grow and feel the CRC program will be helpful in this endeavor,” said Karen Singletary, Sylvester’s Main Street manager. “We feel this will help us entice additional companies to locate here by offering them city services and infrastructure. A diversity of companies will offer a diversity of job opportunities. Our tag line – Live Life Better – describes our community.”
Sylvester’s community-identified priorities for CRC are likely familiar to many rural communities across Georgia: housing, economic and downtown development and health and wellness. Agriculture remains the top industry in the region and across the state, but manufacturing is increasingly locating in rural Georgia.
To be competitive, rural areas need to be able to demonstrate they have the housing to accommodate new employees, contribute a qualified workforce and provide the services a company expects for its employees – such as healthcare. CRC will help Sylvester connect to UGA resources in these priority areas.
UGA Archway faculty member, Brittany Standifer is the CRC community engagement manager. In this role, she is the liaison between CRC communities and University of Georgia resources.
Newton County and the City of Thomaston are in the process of completing their platinum designation projects, with an expected graduation later this year. Thomson-McDuffie County was the pilot community for the Connected Resilient Communities program, earning its designation in 2021.
Writer: Baker Owens, firstname.lastname@example.org, 706-510-9622
Contact: Brittany Standifer, email@example.com, 706-483-3264