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Planning Success Stories

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Blakely Downtown Revitalization

Blakely's comprehensive plan called for streetscape improvements around the courthouse square in this SW Georgia city, and a coordinated design approach for the downtown area. The community partnered with Early County to get the project completed, with stunning results. A locally organized group, Blakely Home Town, has continued to work toward revitalization of the downtown around Court Square. The Blakely-Early Chamber of Commerce has renovated the old Alexander Building to relocate the chamber and economic develop offices to Court Square. Blakely County Comprehensive Plan

Mitchell County Economic Development

Mitchell County's comprehensive plan called for promoting agribusiness through a policy of identifying processing plants which utilize local crops and resources. As it turned out, Mitchell County and Camilla did a little better than expected, by landing a $40 million poultry plant employing over 1500 workers. The huge Cagle's Inc. processing facility created even more jobs and investment by buying broilers from farmers with a 35-mile radius. Comprehensive Plan
Moultrie Main Street Park

In 2008, the City of Moultrie’s short term work program included an item directing the city to create a park master plan for property within the city limits. That activity lead to the inclusion of the development of Main Street Park in Moultrie is a specific work activity included in the 2013 Moultrie-Colquitt County comprehensive plan update.

The desire to create this park has a long history, beginning with the closing of the Vereen Memorial hospital when a new hospital serving Moultrie-Colquitt County opened. Once the old hospital was vacant, the City of Moultrie had made an investment that would not only preserve a historic piece of property in the City but also allow local and regional residents to come full-circle in developing wonderful memories on this site. With a vision of developing a passive community park on the site, the City purchased the 5.97 acre property and began to make plans. .

After purchasing the property and drafting plans for the new park, the next challenge was to find funding for the park. Plans were drafted and the comprehensive plan was looked at to make sure that the greenspace was in line with the future development map and the goals and objectives for the community. Some of the funding for the park was listed in the 2013 SPLOST, but additional funds were to finish the park. This became a public-private endeavor, with the City receiving a LWCF grant from the GA DNR, plus funds raised by a group of community partners. This group became known as the Main Street Park Group, and within 12 months the Group raised over $150,000 in private donations to expand the park. The park's final dollar total was $450,000.

The City of Moultrie opened Main Street Park on January 31, 2015. The new park now includes ADA compliant shelter, restrooms, a play ground structure and play ground panels. Other amenities include park benches, picnic tables, a 1/4 mile walking trail over 700 feet of sidewalks, and newly constructed paved parking lot with curbs, gutters, and lighting. Decorative fencing was installed around the site to protect children from venturing off into nearby streets and drainage areas. Park attendance has exceeded expectations. Due to the vision by City of Moultrie officials, and public private partnerships the Main Street Park became a reality. It is truly a plan that was implemented.

For recent information on the success of this park, please go to

Pelham Opens the Donnie Cochran Community Complex

The 2008 Mitchell County Comprehensive plan for the City of Pelham in the Community Facilities section cites a need for a community center to be developed in Pelham. The Donnie Cochran Community Complex has addressed that need. In the Northwest corner of Pelham, was a fully functional jail facility failing to meet expectations, ad which subsequently closed. The City Manager and Mayor began to discuss the possibility of transforming the jail facility into a community center and Council voted unanimously to dedicate the funds and labor to the project.

Utilizing inmate labor, and by selling or donating surplus materials from the facility, the complex was brought to life. Named for the first African American Blue Angel pilot, The Donnie Cochran Community Complex was named for that former resident of Pelham and dedicated in July of 2016. Today, this complex is being used for multiple activities: GED courses provided by the Southern Regional Technical College, a daycare center for local families, churches and civic organizations rent the facility, and individuals are utilizing the complex for gatherings. The successful Donnie Cochran Community Complex overhaul and operation was a cooperative effort between The City, the Pelham Police Department, Pelham Public Works and Pelham Housing Authority. The group leveraged funds in house and gained the support of the entire community. The community support of the transformation was celebrated in social media posts, advanced rentals, and through attendance at the dedication ceremony. It is a local success of the best kind.

SW GA Regional Commission- "Call-In to Connect" program

The Southwest Ga Regional Commission’s Regional Plan addresses housing issues in Southwest Georgia. The Regional Collaborative was created from the Short Term Work Program to help assist with one of the identified weaknesses of poor credit. The Regional Collaborative is a group of housing counselors who address this issue.

“Call-In to Connect” is a Regional Telethon-style event that is open to anyone in the Southwest Georgia region who has any housing issue. It is a day filled with HUD certified counselors answering the phones and providing information to those who may need it. They are armed with the Southwest Georgia Regional Housing Resource guide to point people in the correct direction if they have needs other than just housing. This effort pulls together public and private agencies to make a difference in the lives of those that are facing housing issues.

The Southwest Georgia Call-In To Connect event was held in October 2014 from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM. The SW Georgia Regional Collaborative and Georgia DCA, along with other collaborative partners from throughout the region, took part in the event. It was marketed by the Southwest Georgia Regional Collaborative through regional email lists, mailings to regional churches, advertisements in three local papers, social media, regional groups and distributed in the form of press releases to thirty two (32) local and regional media markets in the 14 county service area. Regions 8 and 11 in Southwest Georgia were targeted for this event.

SW GA Regional Commission- 2015 Southwest Georgia Youth Summit

The SW Georgia Regional Commission’s Regional Plan looks at developing new leadership for the region’s communities. The Needs and Opportunities in Intergovernmental Coordination address the lack of leadership and people of all ages being involved in leadership throughout the region. By being closely involved with the annual youth summit, the SW GA RC hopes that students will become interested in the process of governing and in working in that area here in southwest Georgia. Both the Southwest Georgia Housing Task Force and the Southwest Georgia Regional Collaborative are activities and groups listed in the Regional Plan and the Short Term Work Program. Regional collaboration and community involvement through sponsorship helps to make this program successful year after year.

With the theme of “I Live! I Dream! I Succeed!” the 2015 Southwest Georgia Youth Summit was held on Thursday, February 19, 2015 at Southwest Georgia RESA in Camilla, GA. It was the result of a collaborative effort of more than a dozen southwest Georgia organizations, and brought together 42 youth in grades 11th and 12th from the 14 counties in Region 10.
The Summit’s goal is to bring leadership training to Southwest Georgia for all students in Southwest Georgia.

The high impact event was filled with team building, communication skills and motivational leadership. Youth attended sessions on communications, teen driving, team building, and financial aid. The teens were further motivated to lead, follow or step aside by motivational speaker Sylvia Hooker. All the students said the day was energetic and engaging. The students were also able to compete for scholarship funds that were provided by our sponsors. To be eligible to compete, participants had to submit a 500 word essay on what “ ” means in their lives.

SWGRC Regional Partners' Network

In the Regional Work Program of its current regional plan, the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission calls for the continuation and expansion of the SW GA Regional Partners Network (RPN), which is a 501 (c) 3 corporation created by the Regional Commission to address important needs of through facilitating regional community development. The Network includes five major initiatives: housing (Southwest Georgia Housing Task Force), youth (Youth Summit Committee), Literacy (CLCP), credit counseling (Southwest Georgia Regional Collaborative), arts, culture and tourism (ACT). The mission of RPN is to be a statewide leader in regional networking to enhance the quality of life for all people in Southwest Georgia. RPN does this through the exchange of information, sharing and developing resources, identifying and supporting common goals, building regional partnerships, building synergy among partners and impacting policy.

The Southwest Georgia Housing Task Force is one of the 5 initiatives of the Network. Its mission is to identify and provide affordable housing solutions to the communities in the region, provides monthly educational sessions that are held at different locations throughout the Region so that every community has the opportunity to hear the experts. The Housing Task Force also hosts an annual housing conference that provides an opportunity for all housing service providers in the region to share success stories and lessons learned. The Housing Task Force is comprised of members from USDA Rural Development, Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Local City and County Government officials, Consumer Credit Counseling, and Nonprofit Agencies.
Southwest Georgia Region


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