College shuttle gives students chance to venture downtown

From the The Brunswick News

Mathew Hill always likes to see more feet on the streets in downtown Brunswick, and if a new proposal goes according to plan, the executive director of the Downtown Development Authority will have good reason to smile.

That's because the College of Coastal Georgia is hoping to shuttle students into the area for key events like First Friday, a monthly block party where shops offer discounts and specials.

"The college actually started a little route with a van it has last March," Hill said. "It was just from the college to downtown for First Friday. They will continue that and start it up again in August."

The idea is to expand the shuttle service.

"They want to start a fixed route from the college to downtown for different things, too," Hill said. "We talked about that when we had a meeting with the college week before last."

Discussions about how to incorporate the college, which has roughly 440 students residing on campus, into the downtown landscape has been ongoing for some time.

Hill hopes the initiative will help bring a younger crowd to the shops and eateries.

"We started talking with the college and the student government about how we can encourage participation downtown," Hill said. "So it's not a brand new thing, but it is a new effort on the part of the college to be a good neighbor.

"It would be great to have more people down there. It would be a whole other group of customers or potential customers who are just 2 miles down the road and don't normally come downtown. All those things are good for the economy."

The idea of transporting students to other areas of the city and into the county is also gaining steam. In addition to trips downtown, other destinations could include Jekyll and St. Simons islands.

Jason Umfress, vice president of student affairs, says it would allow students a chance to explore the community while injecting dollars into the economy.

"It kills a couple of birds with the same stone," Umfress said. "It will give the students something to do when they aren't studying or in class. And it gets them out into the community and enjoying recreation opportunities. And maybe spending a little bit of money, too, and investing that into the local tax base."

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Release Date: 7/22/2014
Source: The Brunswick News

By LINDSEY ADKISON