On Sunday, January 21, Athens-Clarke County received a 2018 Live, Work, Play City Award presented by the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), in conjunction with Georgia Trend magazine, during GMA’s annual Mayors’ Day conference in Atlanta.

There were a total of nine cities in three population categories – small (population under 4,999), medium (5,000-24,999) and large (more than 25,000) – that received this year’s award. These cities will be featured in the February 2018 issue of Georgia Trend.

Recipients of the 2018 Live, Work, Play Cities Award:

Large City Winners

  • Athens-Clarke County

  • Columbus

  • LaGrange

Medium City Winners

  • Cartersville

  • Decatur

  • Thomasville  

Small City Winners

  • Chickamauga

  • Porterdale

  • Summerville

Though each city provides different services, contest judges praised the winning cities for their success in advancing job creation, housing offerings, and recreational amenities. Judges for the 2018 Live, Work, Play Cities Award represented Georgia Power’s office of Community & Economic Impact, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government. In addition to being recognized during GMA’s Mayors’ Day, winning cities will be highlighted in the association’s monthly newspaper, Georgia’s Cities.

“We’re honored that Athens-Clarke County has been recognized with this award from among so many cities in Georgia,” said Mayor Nancy Denson. “It is gratifying to be recognized for the many things that help make this community such a special place to live, work, and play.”

“These nine cities truly embody well-rounded communities that benefit residents and businesses alike,” said GMA Executive Director Larry Hanson. “They also serve as examples for local governments across Georgia. Officials in these cities have demonstrated advanced problem-solving, exceptional management and teamwork to increase the overall quality of life for all residents. GMA is honored to serve all of our member cities and especially proud of these award recipients.”

Based in Atlanta, GMA is a voluntary, non-profit organization that provides legislative advocacy, research, training, employee benefit and technical consulting services to its 521 member cities.

The award nomination for the community was compiled and submitted by staff in the Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Department with assistance from other Unified Government offices.

Pictured in the photo (hi-res version) is (left to right): Georgia Municipal Association President and Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard, Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Department Development and Outreach Coordinator Melanie McElroy, Athens-Clarke County Mayor Nancy Denson, Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Department Director Kent Kilpatrick, Athens-Clarke County Assistant Manager Robert Hiss, and Georgia Municipal Association Executive Director Larry Hanson.

For more information, contact Melanie McElroy, ACC Leisure Services Development and Outreach Coordinator, at 706-613-3800 or melanie.mcelroy@athensclarkecounty.com or Kelli Bennett, Georgia Municipal Association Communications and Marketing Associate, at 678-686-6242 or kbennett@gmanet.com