If the past is any indication, between 400-500 new city officials will be elected to office in this year’s municipal elections. The city officials elected for the first time this year will be entering office in interesting times. While the effects of the Great Recession have mostly receded, we are grappling with either increasing populations in our more urban areas or decreasing populations in rural areas, the opioid epidemic, hospital closings outside our metro areas, as well as education and workforce challenges regardless of where we call home.
As more Americans, including Georgians, look for affordable, walkable city living, and how to provide housing choices that can fit more modest budgets—from millennials looking for their first homes, to Gen X looking to move into a city, to Boomers looking to age-in-place—continues to be as elusive as Sasquatch. Creating more housing choices within our historic cities may just be the single biggest challenge we face now that Georgia cities have again become desirable places to live. But a promising new idea may help cities create more housing choice that can fit gracefully into the existing fabric of cities large and small. The irony is, we have had this exciting new idea right in front of us for over a hundred years.
The success we have in our cities and in GMA does not happen without a commitment to working through the details needed to attain our goals and aspirations. So, today, let me assure you that the elected leadership and staff of GMA believes in something more than the “ideal” of developing a plan. We believe that a well thought-out and implemented course of action is required for us to deliver on any goal we set for ourselves.
From creating a high quality-of-life to economic development to the long-term prosperity of a city, the quality of our public education system is paramount. City officials increasingly know and understand this, and have a strong desire to support and advocate for their local school system. I wonder, though, if over the years we’ve made it harder to do that.
We at Georgia Humanities, one of 56 affiliates of the NEH, believe there is no better way to nurture democracy, seek wisdom and inspire vision than through the humanities— such disciplines as history, literature, philosophy and ethics that help us understand ourselves, others and the responsibilities we have to each other and to our society.
No matter where you call home, visioning the future of a given place through the arts makes good sense. Last summer, American’s for the Arts conducted a study, which found that 87 percent of the population believes the arts are important to quality of life, and 82 percent believe that the arts are important to local businesses and the economy.
In the movie “The Rookie,” 35-year-old pitcher Jim Morris is in the minor leagues. Missing his family, making little money and with little confidence he’ll get to the major leagues, Jim considers quitting. Reminded of his love of baseball after watching a little league game, he says with newfound enthusiasm to his best friend on the team, “You know what we get to do today? We get to play baseball.”
Do you know how well your community stacks up against others? Do you know if community health positively or negatively impacts your local economy? If you know the answers, what kind of plan do you have in place, how are you implementing and tracking the metrics?
Each day we come to work and assume that at the end of the day all things will be fine and ready for the next day. Occasionally, though, something out of the ordinary will occur and we are thrown into a cycle of emergency or confusion! A fire, an unexpected weather event or human error that shuts down the operation for a period of time are just a few of the situations that can occur and throw a city into crisis. When this happens we all hope that the preparation and planning are successful and we can continue business as usual.
With the Georgia 911 Medical Amnesty Law in effect, the prevalence of first responders carrying naloxone varies depending on the funding available to purchase the naloxone kits in cities and counties in Georgia. Funding solutions should be explored by our counties and municipalities to ensure Naloxone is available to first responders and can be replenished after the kit passes an expiration date or is used in the field.
What was once a one sided press release or publication, from which citizens received information about things happening in their communities after the plan was in motion, is now becoming more of a conversation to which people have the opportunity to add valuable input. This “exchange of information” is a necessary component of the communication process.
Coworking space provides a professional environment with low operating costs for startups and a lower commitment than opening a traditional storefront. Another large benefit of working in a shared space is the natural networking and collaboration opportunities that happen when multiple businesses and startups work side-by-side.
The annual festival season begins in earnest with the advent of spring. These local celebrations laud the unique character, products, natural resources and traditions of our individual cities. Later this month, many of our cities will be celebrating Georgia Cities Week, one of GMA’s popular initiatives. “Georgia Cities: In the Mix” is this year’s theme and will be celebrated April 23-29.
Decentralization of civic buildings is not considered a best practice for downtown revitalization. The effects are damaging if not severe to a town or city’s downtown economy.
President Donald Trump’s voters in rural areas and small towns made a point: they were left behind while a lot of the country made economic progress, and they want that to change.