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College Called Key to Community in Brunswick, Ga.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The impact of the College of Coastal Georgia’s transformation from a two-year to a four-year school will reach well beyond the college’s campus, driving right through the heart of the city.

The college is one of the keys to the Altama Community Transformation District project, which aims to revitalize the area around Altama Avenue in the coming years. The University of Georgia, through its Archway Partnership organization, will help community leaders with the project.

“Glynn County’s priority is future growth,” said Matt Bishop, coordinator of operations for Archway. “There are all kinds of evidence that Glynn County can be a place for tremendous growth in Georgia in the next two decades. The economy has slowed that down, but the prospects for future growth are still there.”

Along with the college, Southeast Georgia Health System’s Brunswick hospital and a new Brunswick High School will be the centerpieces in the project, which will focus on a 1,600-acre area that will also include businesses and housing.

“It’s really an opportunity to plan and develop the area around those three entities which will be very key elements of the future growth in the area,” said Valerie Hepburn, president of the College of Coastal Georgia.

Archway is UGA’s 5-year-old outreach program, which provides resources for economic and community development throughout the state.

Bass Chew, Archway’s representative in Glynn County, said she is already meeting with the county’s growth task force to develop work plans for the coming year. The task force is made up of representatives from several of the county’s planning agencies as well as elected officials from the city and county, school board members, and leaders from the college and Southeast Georgia Health System.

Among the issues community leaders hope to address are improving pedestrian safety along the heavily-traveled four-lane roadway, exploring existing and new housing possibilities in the area, and creating a brand for the district.

Bishop said that last goal is important because the area lacks a consistent feel.

“It doesn’t have a sense of community,” he said. “There may be ways to create design elements so that people realize they’re in a developed community and that the Altama community has a sense of place.”

Brunswick mayor Bryan Thompson said the relationship between community leaders and Archway can have a positive impact on the area.

“Just looking at how we can accommodate growth and have a plan for that is a good thing,” he said. “It’s important to have a vision and goals in place to meet that vision.”

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