Sometimes the need for change is obvious. When that is the case, it is important we seize the opportunity and ensure the outcome is positive.
The City of Brunswick took that approach this week when it brought in the Symbioscity group out of Savannah to help rethink the future of the corridor along Glynn Avenue, or U.S. Highway 17, that runs through it.
The corridor runs from the bottom of the Sidney Lanier Bridge, past Howard Coffin and Overlook parks, past Lanier Plaza and north through the city.
Rather than simply relying on the enterprise zone that already offers tax breaks to businesses to move there to provide a breath of new life, the city decided it would be best to have a well-thought out plan for what new life might look like.
For many people who come to Brunswick, the corridor is their first impression of the city. For years, the corridor has been a bit drab, with grass in the median and by the sidewalks often growing tall before it is cut. Some buildings along the stretch have fallen into disrepair or been left vacant for many years. Those that have been well kept would benefit from being surrounded by an updated area that is more pedestrian friendly, easily accessible by automobile and that takes advantage of the beautiful Marshes of Glynn just across the road.
Beautifying the area is already underway, with a brick sign and landscaping to let all people passing know they are entering Brunswick. The sign and landscaping mark a great starting point. They are the first steps in transforming the corridor into a gateway that makes an impact.
But that impact will fall flat if much of what lies beyond it remains underused and aging.
The plans presented Friday by Symbioscity are a fantastic start to seeing a better Brunswick begin to take shape.
The city must not let this project fade. It must ensure the Glynn Avenue corridor becomes a welcoming and useful place for people to shop, dine and play. More than once in the past several decades such projects have been discussed, but never came to fruition.
Applying “the term the clothes make the man” to the city—let’s find Brunswick a nice, new, custom-tailored suit.
Good first impressions are paramount in shaping what visitors think of a city.
Let’s make Brunswick’s first impression the best it can be.