On Jan. 25, 2021, during the Georgia Municipal Association’s (GMA) virtual Cities United Summit, the city of Douglas was honored with the Visionary City Award by Georgia Trend and GMA. Cities were recognized for actions and initiatives taken that increased civic engagement, created community partnerships and made people proud to call their city home.
“If ever there was a time for unity and togetherness, it is now, and these nine cities have illustrated this unity through their visionary projects,” said GMA Executive Director Larry Hanson. “It’s our privilege to honor the elected officials, city staff and community leaders who made these initiatives possible. These cities exemplify what it means to be forward-thinking for their residents and generations to come. They serve as inspiring examples of civility, collaboration and what it means to create communities of positive change across Georgia.”
Douglas was recognized for taking action to confront the city’s mental health and addiction needs. Coffee County’s sole mental health clinic has regularly become overwhelmed by the demands of the community. Douglas city leaders worked with the county and Unison Behavioral Health to build a second mental health facility with a $750,000 state grant.
“Being recognized by GMA and Georgia Trend is a great acknowledgement for our city,” says Mayor Tony Paulk. “Our community leadership in the County, Unison Behavioral Health, Coffee Regional Medical Center, and South Central Primary Care has united for everyone’s betterment and citizens should be pleased with the work of the collaborative to make Douglas and Coffee County a better place to live.”
Douglas Mayor’s Youth Council member, Jenna Williams, was also commended for being a model example of a youth leader and was chosen to help co-present the Visionary Awards for each city. Douglas was among nine city recipients which included Hahira, Tybee Island, Woodbury, Auburn, Griffin, Brookhaven, Dunwoody, and Statesboro.