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State recognizes 13 Georgia communities for successful planningFourth year of “PlanFirst” designation brings funding, visibility benefits
Atlanta, GA (February 12, 2018) —The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) has announced that 13 Georgia communities have received statewide distinction in a program recognizing excellence in community planning. This year’s new designees are the cities of Adel, Byron, Forsyth, Griffin, Jesup, Perry, Thomasvilleand Tifton, and Crawford County. Redesignated from their original 2015 designation are the communities of Town of Braselton, Jones County and cities of Vienna and Woodstock. These communities were recognized at a ceremony at the Capitol on February 6, 2018.
The distinction acknowledges communities that have a proven track record of implementing their plan and a history of good plan development. These communities are representative of the variety of local governments across the state – urbanand rural, large and small, cities, counties.
“We are honored to recognize these communities for their comprehensive planning and consistent use of their planning strategies,” said DCA Director of the Office of Planning & Environmental Management Brian Johnson. “It is fundamental for sound economic development and enhanced quality of life for residents. DCA values their commitment to planning at the local level.”
The PlanFirst communities are required to address four primary program criteria focused on having a proven record of plan implementation success: goals, leadership, community participation, and implementation. The designation will last for three years, beginning January 1, 2018, and enables these communities to take advantage of various incentives that include public visibility, eligibility for funding, and reduced interest rates on certain DCA and Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) programs.“It is becoming increasingly apparent that more governments than ever are using their plans to move their communities forward. A fully thought-out plan, with ambitious yet achievable goals, is extremely important in steering a community into a prosperous future,” added DCA Planning Outreach Coordinator Adriane Wood. “The PlanFirst program recognizes those communities and rewards them for shaping their own futures together.”
The next deadline for applications is May 15, 2018. More information about the program is available at http://www.dca.ga.gov/development/PlanningQualityGrowth/programs/PlanFirst.asp.
Communities that apply but are not selected are eligible for a one-on-one technical assistance visit to improve on their application for future designation rounds. This assistance will allow any community the opportunity to target those items and improve before the next round of applications is due.
The Department of Community Affairs developed the program with a steering committee comprised of partners including the Georgia Municipal Association, Association County Commissioner of Georgia, the Georgia Planning Association, the Regional Commissions, and the University of Georgia Archways program, and other state agencies including the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority, the Historic Preservation Division and Environmental Protection Division.
About the Georgia Department of Community Affairs
The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) partners with communities to create a climate of success for Georgia’s families and businesses through community and economic development, local government assistance, and safe and affordable housing. Using state and federal resources, DCA helps communities spur private job creation, implement planning, develop downtowns, generate affordable housing solutions, and promote volunteerism. DCA also helps qualified low- and moderate-income Georgians buy homes, rent housing, and prevent foreclosure and homelessness. For more information, visit www.dca.ga.gov.
MaryBrown Sandys, Director of Marketing & Communications
Georgia Department of Community Affairs