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Georgia Trend shines spotlight on Grady County

The University of Georgia and Georgia Trend magazine have singled out Cairo and Grady County as one of four communities in the state that is working together to improve its future through leadership and innovation. The April edition of the magazine shines a spotlight on this community and names it as a winner of its “Four for the Future” designation.
“The award recognizes the community working together around issues critical to Cairo and Grady County’s future economic development,” explains Dr. Jennifer Frum, vice president for UGA’s public service and outreach, “It is wonderful to see the walls come down between government, the private sector, the school system, hospital and many others so Cairo/Grady County can advance in ways that make people’s lives better.”
Grady County’s partnership with the university through Archway and the impact it has had here is what prompted the recognition.
Since 2011, a core group of local supporters from both the public and private sector has met monthly to address community issues identified by residents here as matters that deserve concentration.
Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton is an enthusiastic member of the Archway Executive Committee. “Archway has brought us all together in a collaborative effort. We’re all focused and aligned and heading in the same direction, and the resources we’ve gotten from the University of Georgia have been outstanding,” Addleton says.
In addition to the City of Cairo, other local partners that support Grady County’s Archway Partnership are the Grady County Commission; Grady County Board of Education; Cairo/Grady County Chamber of Commerce; GradyCounty Joint Development Authority; Archbold/Grady General Hospital; Koyo Bearings; Performance Foodservice; Southwest Georgia Technical College; Bainbridge State College; and Grady County Cooperative Extension Service.
Dr. Sue Chapman, headquartered in Athens as coordinator of operations for UGA’s Archway Partnership program, has been a part of Cairo and Grady County’s Archway journey since  UGA chose us as a partner community.
“We are so proud of Cairo and Grady County for being selected as a Four for the Future Award winner,” says Chapman, “we have witnessed firsthand the great leadership and community collaboration that led to your being selected for this special recognition.”
This is only the second year the “Four for the Future” honor has been awarded. A major project that drew attention this way was the recent collaboration between many individuals in the business, government and education sectors that resulted in Cairo High School being named one of Georgia’s newest College and Career Academies. Representatives from Southwest Georgia Technical College, Thomas University and Bainbridge State College helped to support the effort, along with local business leaders.
Through Archway, many of those same individuals are also meeting monthly along with many others to work together on issues that matter to public education. “With the help of the Archway Partnership, the county has developed a clear plan to improve the educational, economic, health and recreational opportunities available to our citizens, and Bainbridge State College is certainly proud to be a part of this effort,” says Dr. Richard Carvajal, president of BSC.
In addition to the appreciated pat on the back, many leaders in the community say the award and resultant article in the magazine will put Cairo and Grady County on a large stage that could reap even more benefits.
“This article hopefully will be used as the platform to get us on the ‘map’ and get the community the recognition it deserves in the state of Georgia,” says an upbeat Chadd Mathis, executive director of the Cairo-Grady County Chamber of Commerce and the Grady County Joint Development Authority.
Sharon Liggett, who is UGA’s full-time Archway Professional for Cairo and Grady County, says it is great that local efforts are spelled out in the magazine, which has a wide circulation.
“Congratulations to the citizens, businesses and industries and public institutions which come together through collaboration, leadership and innovation to create projects and programs for the betterment of the community. For Cairo and Grady County to be showcased in front of Georgia Trend’s 50,000 subscribers is quite an honor and an opportunity for the community in the future,” says Liggett.
The three other Georgia communities hailed in Georgia Trend magazine for their positive collaborations are Adel, Covington and Toccoa.
Local officials will be traveling to Athens next week to receive “Four for the Future” honors on behalf of the community at a luncheon sponsored by Georgia Trend magazine.

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