The city of Sylvester has earned UGA’s Connected Resilient Community (CRC) designation after working alongside University of Georgia partners to complete multiple projects designed to make the community more attractive to economic development and improve quality of life.

Sylvester was awarded the CRC designation during the May 20 City Council meeting after completing three community-identified projects.

“We are so proud to be a part of the CRC program and grateful for the fantastic work from University of Georgia students. These three projects will go a long way for quality of life in Sylvester, improving infrastructure and strengthening our community. This designation will help us both improve our community for current residents and sell our community on the economic development front,” said Karen Singletary, Sylvester’s Main Street manager.

Sylvester focused its resiliency efforts on economic and community development, and infrastructure. 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.

Sylvester partnered with the College of Engineering on two of its projects: an amphitheater and other improvements at its historic train depot, and recommendations for sewer infrastructure improvements.

“The CRC program through the Archway Partnership has enhanced the student learning experience at UGA. The program has afforded my senior capstone design students the ability to work with community leaders through a year-long, service-learning experience,” said Stephan Durham, interim dean for UGA College of Engineering. “What differentiates this experience from other design projects is the ability for students to actively engage with community partners and devise solutions that are not just right (in the design sense), but right for the community and its needs. My students feel excited knowing that their design solutions will address critical community needs related to infrastructure development and planning that aim to improve the appearance and operations of the community’s infrastructure for neighborhoods, municipalities, or regions.”

Sylvester’s third project was with a student from the College of Environment and Design, charged with designing improvements for two downtown alleys, creating a more inviting space with enhanced safety measures and beautification efforts to make a more pedestrian-friendly downtown. These designs will help community leaders to envision a more pedestrian-friendly downtown where it’s easier to navigate from the restaurants and shops around Main Street down to the historic train depot and its gathering space.

“I’m really impressed with Sylvester’s vision for downtown and planning for future growth. This community has a clear commitment towards collaboration and improving quality of life for its residents,” said Michelle Elliot, director of the Archway Partnership.

Just because its CRC projects are over does not mean Sylvester’s time as a UGA partner is ending. Archway and the CRC program serve as a front door for communities to access all UGA has to offer and create lasting connections.

“Thanks to the whole Archway Partnership team for their support. We may be finishing up our time as part of the CRC program but know that we will have a link to the University of Georgia for assistance in a number of areas going forward,” said Singletary.

The Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost launched the CRC program in 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.

“Sylvester is a great example of our vision for the CRC program,” said Jennifer Frum, vice president for UGA Public Service and Outreach. “They are connecting to the resources and expertise at the University of Georgia to support their vision for community-led growth and economic vitality.”

Selected CRC communities complete three resiliency-building projects over a period of 12 to 18 months.

Sylvester worked with CRC Community Engagement Manager Brittany Standifer and Archway Professional Conni Fennell-Burley on developing the CRC projects that earned the designation. The city of Sylvester was one of the first CRC communities to have College of Engineering students complete their final capstone projects in their community.

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

Learn more about the Connected Resilient Community initiative.

Contact: Brittany Standifer, 706-483-3264,