Statesboro Community Rally Set as it Prepares for the America’s Best Communities Grand Prize Ceremony

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

The community is invited to a rally on Monday, April 17 at 10 a.m. to celebrate the send off of Blue Mile representatives to the America’s Best Communities Grand Prize Ceremony in Denver on April 19. The rally will take place at Jones Lane Park, Highway 301 S. across from the Southern Dr. entrance to Georgia Southern University.

For almost three years, the Blue Mile team has been working toward this moment. They developed a comprehensive Community Revitalization Plan packed with innovative ideas to stimulate economic development and neighborhood revival, and they’ve taken strides to implement it.

Throughout the competition, the community has won a total of $150,000 in grant funding from the program’s sponsors to create its strategy and put it to work.

“The funding we’ve earned through America’s Best Communities is certainly an accomplishment to celebrate, but we’re most proud of how our community has come together to believe in a shared vision for revitalization and prosperity,” said Phyllis Thompson, Blue Mile team leader. “We have worked hard to make it this far in the competition, and no matter what happens in Denver, our community should be proud of what we’ve achieved.

“Still, all we’ve accomplished will be even sweeter if we bring home the grand prize,” Thompson added.

In addition to Thompson, who also is the president of the Statesboro/Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce, Allen Muldrew, executive director of the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority and Darron Burnette, Division CEO of Synovus Bank, will be representing Statesboro at the America’s Best Communities Grand Prize Ceremony. Other Blue Mile committee members heading to Denver are Keely Fennell, owner of NeSmith Construction & Land Development and Trip Addison, vice president for Georgia Southern University. Robert Mikell, attorney at Brown Rountree PC will be representing the team locally as the local spokesman for the ABC Competition.

The top community will be awarded $3 million, second place will win $2 million, and third will receive $1 million.

When they launched the America’s Best Communities competition in September 2014, Frontier Communications, DISH, CoBank and The Weather Channel challenged small towns and cities to envision a stronger future and build a strategy to achieve revitalization and growth.

More than 350 communities entered the competition, and now only eight community teams remain. In Denver, each community will present the strategies they’ve developed to revive their local economies, and the top three — which will be determined by their progress in implementing those strategies and the potential for sustained revitalization — will be awarded grand-prize funding to accelerate their communities’ growth.

In addition to Statesboro, the other finalists are:

Chisago Lakes Area, Minnesota

Darrington/Arlington, Washington

Huntington, West Virginia

Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Madison, Indiana

Tualatin, Oregon

Valley County, Idaho