Members of the I-75 Central Corridor Coalition met last week in Jackson to begin building mission and vision statements for the organization as they work to better organize the group and promote development along the interstate.
The meeting, held at Jackson United Methodist Church on Thursday, was facilitated by Jenny Robbins, a community development manager for Georgia Electric Membership Corp.
The coalition was formed in 2017 and includes 10 local governments, from Henry County in the north to Macon-Bibb County in the south. Several cities along and near I-75 are also members, including McDonough, Griffin and Jackson.
During Thursday’s meeting, officials from member communities as well as local planning and development agencies discussed ideas for the corridor’s brand identity, as well as the vision of the coalition itself.
Macon-Bibb Mayor Robert Reichert, one of the leaders of the coalition, acknowledged increasing development pressures on the region south of I-20 in the southern suburbs and exurbs of Atlanta. He said leaders could let that impending growth just happen, “or we could try to get ahead of the curve and try to prepare for growth.”
He said he hoped the coalition communities along the corridor could work to guide development and prevent sprawl in middle Georgia.
“Instead [of sprawl], let’s do smart growth,” he said.
Georgia Tech Professor Catherine Ross of the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development also weighed in at the meeting, noting the importance of connectivity in attracting development and suggesting more public outreach by the coalition as it solidifies its ideas and goals.
Since forming in 2017, the coalition has met over a dozen times in various communities along the corridor. The group has also formed a legal nonprofit organization and launched a website, i75coalition.org.