In early March 2021, community members across Powder Springs gathered virtually to participate in the first retreat of the Georgia Economic Placemaking Collaborative. The Georgia Economic Placemaking Collaborative is a place-based economic development program that provides participating communities with education, facilitation, technical assistance, networking, peer learning, and incentives to help identify their community assets and develop a locally based placemaking strategy. Normally a three-year program, Powder Springs was invited to participate in a pilot 1.5-year version of the program and plans to complete four retreats in a year.
The first retreat held over two days involved learning about the Five Placemaking Steps that will take place throughout the process:
- Define Place & Identify Stakeholders
- Evaluate Space & Identify Issues
- Place Vision
- Short-Term Experiments
- Ongoing Re-evaluation & Long-Term Improvements
The Collaborative assists the community teams in identifying projects that reflect the unique cultural and historic character of the community. Led by facilitator Ebony Simpson with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the Powder Springs Community Team evaluated community assets, demographics, challenges, and opportunities for placemaking. From there, the team began brainstorming ideas for LQC (“Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper”) placemaking projects to work on for the next retreat.
The Georgia Economic Placemaking Collaborative emphasizes the importance of equitable and inclusive community engagement in the development project process. The Collaborative is designed to work for cities with differing demographics. The participating cities vary in size, population, racial makeup, and socio-economic status. Assembling a diverse community team is required for cities to participate in the Collaborative. The Powder Springs Community Team includes representation from the city, elected officials, arts, authority boards, local businesses, and residents.
The success of the Collaborative is the variety of statewide organizational partnerships that finance, support, and manage the program. The Collaborative partners are: Georgia Municipal Association, Georgia Cities Foundation, UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government, Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and Georgia Power.
For questions about Powder Springs’ participation in the program, contact Ashley Youmans at email@example.com.