A year ago, two organizations were working to help downtown Brunswick continue the resurgence that has attracted new businesses and plans to create more living space and commerce there.
Now, both organizations are without leaders.
The most recent departure came with the resignation of Bert Roughton, volunteer chair of Forward Brunswick. The organization, created last year, is made up of stakeholders with a vision for downtown Brunswick.
“The idea that became Forward Brunswick remains a good one and an idea worth nurturing,” Roughton said.”It’s simple: A broad and diverse collaboration committed to lifting Brunswick with a vision of a more equitable and inclusive future.”
The organization was linked closely with another organization created in mid 2019 called NewCity Brunswick. The organization’s goal was to add more residents downtown with creative private-sector funding.
The organization plans to use private capital to support revitalization projects with creative financing tools and a revolving loan program.
NewCity Brunswick is designed to work with different economic development organizations without duplicating their services.
Justin Callaway, former director of NewCity Brunswick, resigned earlier this year to accept the director’s position at United Way of Coastal Georgia.
Roughton expressed confidence Forward Brunswick will continue in its mission to help downtown Brunswick grow and prosper.
“As a citizen, I hope you all will work to keep this great idea alive,” Roughton said. “All Brunswick really needs is a devoted group of stakeholders willing to do the work of imagining a great city and then the even harder work of making the dream a reality.”
Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey said the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on the ability of both organizations to conduct business. But he’s hopeful both will find new leadership and continue to help the city.
“I’m hoping we can stave off this thing and get back to where we can,” Harvey said of the pandemic. “We can’t let it cripple us. We have to move forward.”