Education, tourism top of mind at Bryan County ‘State of the Community’ forum

(source: WTOC)
Updated: Feb. 12, 2020 at 4:52 PM EST
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BRYAN CO., Ga. (WTOC) - After county and city leaders met in Richmond Hill for the second annual State of the Community forum, one thing was at the top of mind for everyone - the continuous growth in the county.

When you crunch the numbers, local tax revenue generated from tourism has gone up from $1.1 million in 2012 to $1.4 million in 2018.

Johnson said jobs have also increased, with the Bryan County School System being one of the biggest employers in the county with over 1,400 employees.

"What was showed today is the county, the city, the development authority really everyone is working together to be proactive rather than just reactive,” Johnson said.

Bryan County Superintendent Paul Brooksher said despite the teacher shortage in the state, Bryan County schools continue to excel.

"We are not struggling with the same vacancies that the state is experiencing, it starts with a governing board, an award winning governing board that really values people, performance and culture,” Brooksher said.

He said the school system is one of the fastest growing in the state, which has forced them to build new schools.

"How we stay true to our vision is through people, we do our very best to recruit, hire and retain the very best and a lot of folks come to Bryan County because of the culture of the school system,” Brooksher said.

As tourism increases and the city and the county work to stay ahead of the continuous growth, you would think crime would increase with that growth but in fact it has decreased. That's according to public safety leaders. They say focusing on any rising issues is key.

"I think that they have recognized if there are any hotspots that they want to try and focus on those areas."

Despite the growth and additions, the chamber hopes to keep the county a desirable place to live.

There were a lot of long-term plans discussed Wednesday morning as well. One being the replacement of Richmond Hill High school.

The new high school is pushing over 500,000 square feet with a full athletics program, brand new football, baseball, and softball stadium just to name a few.

Brooksher said they have already planned their growth needs out until 2030.

County leaders also discussed putting anther roundabout at I-95 and Highway 144.

In northern Bryan County, additions to Hendrix Park will also be made, along with several other road resurfacing projects.

Additions to the Richmond Hill Police Department were discussed as well.

Of course, as these projects and additions move forward, we will keep you up to date with the progress.

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