Leaders in Americus and Sumter County on Friday heard from a group of young innovators on ways the community can attract more young people.
GeorgiaForward started the Young Gamechangers program to involve people under 40 in helping rural communities thrive.
Heather Stanley, with the historic Rylander Theater in Americus, is a participant. Stanley says the six month program shows leaders in rural areas the power of new ideas.
She says “To say, ‘You know what, O.K. maybe it’s time for a little outside help. Maybe we’ve tried to do our own thing for too long. And maybe it’s time to get a fresh set of eyes on our problems and our challenges.”
They are recommending Americus and Sumter County expand cultural offerings, providing more downtown living options and developing a small business incubator.
Gamechanger Kris Hattaway says they are hoping to move away from the two Georgias, which is Atlanta and the rest of the state.
“We’re working with people from Columbus and Atlanta and south Georgia, and just all over the state. We’re already coming together to address an issue. You know rural Georgia needs to be successful in order for our state to be successful.” she says.
Hattaway is with the Place at Newtown in Macon. She says they are building relationships through the program that will help economic development efforts across the state.