Augusta needs to think of itself differently – if for no other reason than to keep up with the rest of the world’s thinking about us.
Certainly our self-image is already evolving – from a comfortable, affordable, Old South city with limitless unrealized potential, to one where that potential is just a spade of dirt beneath the surface.
Even old bugaboos of division and disagreement that used to dominate our consciousness and our news headlines seem to have melted away. Worries about downtown’s future have morphed into anticipation about what big project might be announced next.
We feel changes coming. They’re already happening. And we already feel different.
The impending $50 million Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center on the riverfront – on the spacious now-vacant grounds of the former Golf and Gardens – will soon be turning ground and turning heads. The expansive cooperative project of the state, Augusta University and others will help the nation as well as private companies secure themselves against cyber threats.
The infusion of jobs, resources and hungry workers will transform an already vivacious downtown in ways we don’t yet fathom.
Moreover, the bustling and burgeoning Augusta cyber industry – nearby Fort Gordon is becoming the Army’s Cyber Command – is getting noticed nationally.
Fortune magazine recently took note in an article headlined “7 Cities That Could Become the World’s Cybersecurity Capital.”
Augusta – long admired worldwide as the home of the Masters Tournament in golf – is now being heralded as a potential “World Cybersecurity Capital.”
Along with small towns you might have heard about once or twice: Atlanta, Boston, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., London and Tel Aviv.
Admittedly, Fortune writes of Augusta, “This small city is a dark horse when it comes to winning the race to be a cyber capital.” But change is in the wind. The sky is the limit in cyber. And Augusta is ripe for harvesting – with prime, scenic, underdeveloped riverfront, a downtown climate fit to order, abundant natural resources, an agreeable climate, a great cost of living and more.
If we can host the most prestigious golf tournament in the world, we can do this.