Thrive Regional Partnership has accepted Bridgeport, Al., Dayton, Tn., and LaFayette, Ga., into the third round of the Thriving Communities creative placemaking program.
Thriving Communities program is a community accelerator program designed to enhance leadership and community development throughout the region through creative placemaking. Participating teams learn strategic approaches to leverage their artistic and cultural assets in order to spark economic vibrancy and growth from within their communities.
At the end of the program, each team is eligible to apply for a seed grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation to make their community strategy a reality.
Cities and towns from the 16-county region are eligible to apply with teams representing various backgrounds and roles within their communities. The teams are selected by a committee of professionals in the fields of urban planning, arts, culture, and philanthropy.
Bridgeport (population 2,312), in Jackson County, Al., hosts several popular events such as Movies at the Downtown Amphitheatre and the Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride Kick-Off, which has raised thousands of dollars in scholarship funds for Native American children. The Siege of Bridgeport Civil War Reenactment has been named in Alabama’s Top Ten tourist attractions and is the fourth-most revenue producing event in the state. As active participants in the Thriving Communities program, the Bridgeport team envisions “growth in tourism, support and participation in local events, as well as heightened leadership and community development.”
Dayton (population 7,354), in Rhea County, Tn., hosts a nationally-recognized bass fishing tournament on Lake Chickamauga. The tournament, as well as a blossoming Main Street, has been so successful it has generated opportunities for economic development including the Nokian Tyre plant. Dayton has seen great benefit from leveraging tourism dollars through a hotel/motel tax which generated over $250,000 in 2018 alone. They see Thriving Communities as a great opportunity to engage young professionals and families in the planning process and amplify their unique visitor experience for years to come.
LaFayette (population 7,198), in Walker County, Ga., is home to the Honeybee Festival, which has attracted 30,000 visitors for live music and honeybee education, as well as the redevelopment of Queen City Lake as a point of interest, as successful marks of the city’s rebranding, the team looks forward to viewing their community through a new lens of arts and culture through this program. The LaFayette team recognizes the need to be progressive and develop a dynamic plan to be an attractive place to live, work, and invest.
“Each of these teams exhibited a strong desire to build upon their unique strengths and to leverage the input and talent of their local citizens for long-term growth and prosperity,” said Bridgett Massengill, President and CEO of Thrive. “We are excited to bring these three communities into the growing network of Thriving Communities across our tri-state region.”