Local leaders look towards the future at Greater Augusta Day at the Capitol

Published: Feb. 1, 2017 at 5:23 PM EST
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News 12 First at Five / Feb. 1, 2017

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Leaders in Augusta and the region as a whole had a lot to be excited about on Wednesday.

"We can't think the governor enough for what he did with bringing the Cyber Center to us. You saw he got a standing ovation from us today because we're very excited for what is going to bring for us in the future," Commissioner Sean Frantom said.

Frantom was one of four commissioners to make the trip to Atlanta today. Commissioners Ben Hasan and Dennis Williams also came, along with Mayor Pro Temp Mary Davis, Mayor Hardie Davis Jr., and the city administrator Janice Allen Jackson. The Augusta Chamber, Downtown Development Authority, CVB, and Arts Council also were in attendance.

Leaders from Columbia County, Grovetown, and Burke County also came to Atlanta for the Greater Augusta Day at the capitol.

The Cyber Institute was one of the keys of Governor Deal's speech to the leaders who came to Augusta Day at the capital today.

He says the Cyber Center will help educate, grow business, and make Augusta and the state a leader in cyber world wide. But bringing the industry and the jobs is only part of the work.

"Augusta is in a very unique position with all of the cyber opportunities coming and with education we need to make sure that we are training a workforce that will be ready to fill those positions," Augusta Leadership Board Chairman James O'Neal said.

That was Governor Deal's other message. He says, frankly, the people coming for cyber need good schools to put their kids in, or they won't want to live in Richmond County. He also emphasized students need the education in order to keep the jobs and the industries coming to Augusta, in Augusta.

Leaders on the public and private sectors want to work together to do that.

"So bringing leaders together to get ideas to really get these kids on a higher education level to really make a good people for the workforce in the future," Commissioner Frantom said.

Together is the emphasis. They're looking at ways Atlanta has grown through public-private work, including the Atlanta Beltline. They're trying to see how they can bring those ideas back home.

"It doesn't happen individually we all have to get together to make sure that our major initiatives happen," Augusta Metro Chairman Eddie Bussey said.

And the collaboration has to go beyond the borders in the region.

"Augusta or the region is not going to reach its full potential and still we start thinking regionally and this is the start to that," Commissioner Frantom said.

Today is also the chance leaders from our area also can really talk with law makers about what's important for our area.

One item brought up today is casinos. Commissioner Frantom tells News 12 NBC 26 if the state only gets two licenses, Augusta will be competing with Savannah. But down the road there's a lot of potential for that in Augusta.