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Renaissance meeting is Thursday

AMERICUS — A meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, March 19 in the third-floor meeting room of the Municipal Building. Ben Andrews, community development director for the City of Americus, will go over the work plan for the Renaissance project, undertaken through the Carl Vinson Institute (CVI) at the University of Georgia.

The process started in August 2015, when public input began with an online siurvey, asking local citizes what they would like to see happen in Americus. About 75 people turned out to participate in the Town Hall meeting hosted by the CVI. This was part of the process of gathering information from the local public for the Renaissance Strategic Vision and Plan being undertaken with the City of Americus.

Facilitators asled questions such as: What are your favorite things about Americus? What is working well in Americus? What needs improvement in Americus? What is your vision for 10 years down the road for Americus? There were a broad range of responses, but with some commonalities such as , favorites: history, architecture, small-town feel, colleges, people, walkability, geography and climate; working well: civic organizations, historic preservation, a lot of to do here every day of the week, CTAE program at Americus-Sumter County High School South Campus; improvements: crime rate, public education, race relations, poverty, lack of City leadership, jobs and diversity of jobs, public transportation and beautification of gateways; and vision: vibrant downtown, center for arts and culture, more teen activities to lower crime and teen pregnancies, lower crime rate, and a cohesive, unifying vision that everyone can get behind.

The CVI compiled all the information and brought it back to the local steering committee which is composed of Annette Sims, Gaynor Cheokas, Nema Etheridge, Hulme Kinnebrew, Justin Arnold, LaToria Ross and Eric Bryant. The committee then identified local people to champion the process.

This plan is costing the City about $50,000 with funding coming from Archway and the Georgia Municipal Association as well.

During next week’s meeting, the work plan will be reviewed and volunteers will report on their project status. More volunteers are needed, Andrews said.

“We already have more items completed than most cities our size,” Andrews said. “But we want more people to step up.”

Some of the projects the City is ahead on are the electric car charging station which is completed and being used, the downtown clean-up which is an ongoing project and the Jackson Street redux which is about to start construction.

The public is invited to attend the meeting and use their ideas and efforts in the Renaissance program.