New strategic plan for Troup Co. unveiled

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, May 10, 2023

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The Troup Strategy Center unveiled its newest initiative Tuesday, a strategic plan for Troup County with a name that describes its goal:  The Shift Forward.

“With all the growth, changes, opportunities and challenges ahead, we felt it was time to reset, reimagine and envision what we want Troup County to look like in the future,” said Dean Collins, chairman of the Center’s 18-member volunteer board and president of Point University.

“It’s always good to look back and celebrate what we have accomplished, but we also have to look ahead.  We felt this was the right time,” Collins told more than 200 community members at the LaGrange/Troup Chamber of Commerce’s May breakfast meeting.

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The 80-page planning document, prepared with input from more than 1,600 local residents and guidance from Boyette Strategic Advisers, is intended as a resource, guide and inspiration for local leaders and community groups as they make decisions and address future needs. Created with support of all local governments and the Callaway Foundation, it’s also intended as a vehicle for problem-solving and collaboration on common issues.

“The Troup Strategy Center has the potential to make significant, positive change in our community. I’m excited about the new plan, professionally and personally. The Shift Forward plan aligns closely with the values of the Callaway Foundation with its emphasis on unifying the community and promoting quality of life,” said Tripp Penn, secretary/treasurer of the Center’s board and President of the Callaway Foundations.

The Shift Forward identifies four core objectives: Unite the County; Increase Prosperity for All; Create a Livable, Equitable and Sustainable Environment and Foster a Culture of Entrepreneurship.

The Chamber audience heard from Troup County Commission Chairman Patrick Crews, Hogansville Mayor Jake Ayers, West Point Mayor Steve Tramell and LaGrange Mayor Willie T. Edmondson, all members of the Center’s board. Each leader spoke on one of the core objectives.

Speaking on “livability,” Mayor Edmondson outlined the plan’s seven strategies for promoting a livable, environment, starting with embracing diversity, equity and inclusion.

“This is imperative and non-negotiable,” the mayor said.

Other strategies include expanding retail, hospitality and entertainment options; supporting the creation of robust downtowns in all three cities within the county; supporting the arts; expanding and enhancing recreational opportunities; enhancing sustainability focus and addressing infrastructure challenges countywide.

“Not only do we want to address roads, sewer, power and broadband, but also affordable housing. We have many people who currently live in deplorable conditions. Everyone deserves to live in a safe home, but that is just not the case,” Edmondson said.

West Point Mayor Steve Tramell spoke on the core objective of increasing prosperity for all.

“The best way to address poverty is by addressing the roots of poverty, which means addressing any deterrents that keep people from going to work, including transportation and lack of child care,” he said.

Other strategies identified include enhanced support for public education, including existing early learning initiatives, creation of a talent pipeline through mentoring and scholarships and pursuing diverse housing options.

Hogansville Mayor Jake Ayers addressed the objective of fostering a culture of entrepreneurship.

Strategies for success, he said, include support programs and educational programs for budding entrepreneurs along with development of incubators and accelerators.