A Georgia mountain community is forging a unique economic development partnership with two Tennessee cities through a downtown revitalization process pioneered by the University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
The Copper Basin Renaissance Strategic Visioning and Planning collaboration unites key leaders from McCaysville, Georgia, its twin city of Copperhill, Tennessee, and nearby Ducktown, Tennessee, in a community-driven alliance to help the region’s economy flourish.
The first-ever two-state RSVP will enable the citizens, business leaders and public officials in the rural communities, which have interconnected economies, to implement a long-term regional development plan.
The nine-month project is supported by a grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation, which funds community revitalization strategies, arts and cultural activities, and conservation and outdoor recreation projects in Chattanooga and the surrounding region.
The RSVP is a component of the Georgia Downtown Renaissance Partnership, a community revitalization initiative with the Georgia Municipal Association, the Georgia Cities Foundation, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and other partners.
Georgia House Speaker David Ralston and his staff have worked with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government since the initial discussions about this project. A longtime proponent of economic development initiatives like the RSVP, Ralston’s district includes McCaysville and Fannin County.
“Initiatives like this combine private-sector resources with public-sector expertise to revitalize downtowns to generate economic activity and create jobs,” Ralston said. “I am excited about the potential of this project, particularly when we are investing in McCaysville and the surrounding area with more than half a million dollars in state funding for streetscapes and (McCaysville) City Park as well as the ongoing work on widening Highway 5.”
In the past five years, the Institute of Government has helped 16 other Georgia cities implement downtown revitalization strategies through the RSVP program.
“Strengthening communities and promoting economic development throughout our home state are central to the University of Georgia’s mission as a land-grant institution,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “We are excited about this partnership and the positive impact it will make.”