Statesboro Advances in National Economic Development Competition The Homebuilders Association of Statesboro is proud of our community for being recognized as one of the top community improvement projects in the nation. The “Boro Blue Mile” plan was selected in April as a finalist in the America’s Best Communities competition hosted by The Weather Channel, Frontier Communications, DISH and CoBank. The contest provides the finalists of each round funds to help accomplish the improvement goals set out in contestants’ plans.

Our local homebuilders chapter heard the panel prior to them being recognized as one of 8 remaining communities in the nation in the semifinalist round in Durham, NC on April 27. Last spring Statesboro was named in the top 50 of over 350 original entrants, and in January made the top 15.

“The competition was created to spark ideas leading to economic vitality and sustainable growth in small towns and rural communities,” said Phyllis Thompson, one of the three presenters and President of our local Chamber of Commerce. Towns with populations ranging from 9,500 to 80,000 could participate, and there were more than 350 entries. As a quarterfinalist, Statesboro won $50,000 in seed money to develop its revitalization plan, which is concentrated along the one-mile stretch connecting Statesboro’s local university, Georgia Southern, with its downtown. The primary goal is to help blend these two areas in order to bring improved housing, entertainment and retail options for citizens and students while incentivizing local businesses growth. The April round netted an additional $100,000. Three winners announced in 2017 will claim first, second and third prizes of $3 million, $2 million and $1 million respectively.

The competition “is not just telling a story, but helping create one for our community,” said Thompson. “This competition couldn’t have come at a better time for Statesboro. As we continue to plan and execute South Main Street revitalization, the contest dovetails beautifully by helping us promote our vision and drawing attention to our progress. Winnings hasten our progress considerably.”

For more information about the America’s Best Communities competition, Statesboro’s improvement project and those of other finalists, visit www.americasbestcommunites.com.