Georgia city semifinalist in America’s Best Communities competition

The city of Statesboro has advanced to the semifinals of the America’s Best Communities competition, Frontier Communications announced Wednesday, meaning the south Georgia city is still in the running for up to $3 million.

Statesboro is home to Georgia Southern University and is one of just 15 communities nationwide to advance to this stage. The three-year competition is sponsored by Frontier Communications, DISH, CoBank and The Weather Channel, and was launched to encourage revitalization in small towns and cities.

As a semifinalist, Statesboro could potentially win major funding to implement its proposed revitalization plan that focuses on the “Blue Mile”— the corridor that connects Georgia Southern University to the city’s downtown.

“Great communities don’t just happen. They are the result of people working together for the common good. After achieving this milestone, it is clear Statesboro isn’t just a great community — it is one of America’s best,” Jaclyn Cason, general manager for Frontier Communications in Statesboro, said in a news release.

Statesboro and the other 14 semifinalists will present their proposed plans at the America’s Best Communities Summit in April, where eight finalists will be announced and awarded $100,00 to launch their revitalization projects.

The community whose projects make the largest impact will be selected as the grand prize winner and awarded $3 million. Second place will receive $2 million, and third place will receive $1 million.

“One in six of us calls rural America home. These communities are the backbone of our country,” said Vince Gill, the country music legend who has served as a spokesman for the competition. “America's Best Communities has inspired new hope in rural America by providing a hand up, not a hand out. It’s helping our neighbors in small communities lift themselves up by their bootstraps and live their own American dream.”

Statesboro was one of 50 communities selected from a pool of more than 135 community applicants to advance to the second phase of the contest last year.