Georgia Says

The Brunswick (Ga.) News on DNR should reinstate funding to local sites:

The state and its Department of Natural Resources are opening a new park in north Georgia — Don Carter State Park on the northeast part of Lake Lanier. At 1,316 acres in size in some of the most attractive terrain in the state, it is sure to draw a crowd from near and far.

As stated here before, expanding recreational programs and assets is always welcome. Camping, fishing and kayaking remain among the most favored outdoor recreational activities across the nation. Building parks that appeal to individuals and families inside and outside of Georgia that just makes good sense.

We only wish the state would remember the parks and historic sites it continues to leave behind when doling out funding. There are a number of them in this part of Georgia, including Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation on U.S. 17 in Brunswick. It is still on a short week -- open just three days out of a possible six days, making it available to locals and tourists only half of the available time.

There are others. Fort Morris, the site of the first confrontation between Georgia colonists as Americans against King George's Redcoat Army in late 1778, is on the same schedule as Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation. It is open only Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Two state parks in the region — Crooked River in St. Marys and Laura S. Walker in Waycross — have lost one of their primary features thanks to the Department of Natural Resources' decision to withdraw funding for public swimming pools at the two. The state closed both pools years ago and, to date, has expressed no desire to take them off the budget casualty list.

Members of the delegations to the Georgia General Assembly representing the affected counties should huddle together and ask the Department of Natural Resources if it ever plans to reinstate full funding to parks and historic sites it owns in this part of the state. If the answer is no, then the next question should be, "Why not, especially when new parks are opening?"

Savannah (Ga.) Morning News on SCAD's impact:

It’s almost impossible to overestimate the positive financial, cultural and physical impact that the Savannah College of Art and Design has made in this community since it was founded here almost 35 years ago.

But last week, just as SCAD was prepping for this year's fall classes, it quantified a few things — and in a huge way.

The private college released a study that measured its regional footprint in terms of dollars: A whopping $386 million annually.

That's more than just impressive. It defines SCAD as a major player in the local and regional economies, bringing investments, jobs and economic vitality to this area. It bolsters Savannah's reputation as a city that supports the arts and creativity. It shows SCAD as an important force in ongoing neighborhood revitalization, which has lasting benefits even as students come and go.

The latest economic impact number came from Appleseed, a New York City-based economic development consulting firm. SCAD hired Appleseed, whose previous clients have included Harvard and Notre Dame, to analyze what the college means to this area in terms of total dollars. It's the first such study that the Savannah-based college has commissioned since it was founded in 1978 and opened its doors to its first students a year later.

In the fall of 2012, SCAD enrolled more than 8,000 students from 50 states and 111 countries at its Savannah campus. Like Harvard and Notre Dame, two other private institutions, almost all of SCAD's students come from outside its home base.

Georgia Southern University in Statesboro boasts a $524 million impact. But with about 20,000 students, GSU is more than twice SCAD's size.

SCAD's presence in Savannah can't be measured in dollars alone. That's too limiting.

SCAD's faculty, students and graduates who live here contribute to Savannah in ways that don't come with dollar signs. They pump life into the art, theater and music scenes. They put feet and bicycles on the street, which adds to public safety. They add youthful energy and an upbeat vibe.

Before SCAD's presence, much of downtown Savannah (except River Street) became a funeral parlor after sunset. Today, much of the buzz continues.

SCAD, to its credit, has saved noteworthy buildings that the local school system and other property owners had given up on. And it didn't destroy; it salvaged and improved.

At the same time, SCAD's students and faculty created a demand for housing, which created an incentive to rehab houses that were going to seed. Such activity created a positive ripple effect that continues.

Like SCAD, Savannah and this region have come a long way in 35 years, too. It's more prosperous and more diverse.

And it's still a work in progress. Fortunately, the presence of SCAD helps make it an artwork.

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