While many Augustans may feel deflated when they hear nicknames like “Disgusta” being thrown around to describe our beloved Garden City, Augusta actually got some mad props last week from the “digital lifestyle” website, Thrillist.com.
In an article posted on Feb. 28, Thrillist.com included Augusta as one of the “most underrated” cities in the United States.
“Augusta may be famous for (cue Jim Nantz voice) the Masters, a tradition unlike any other, as well as (cue James Brown voice) hardest-working favorite son James Brown, RIP. But the city of 200,000 is looking strong like a new hotspot, with a cybersecurity funded-future (and the 10,000 people it’s going to bring),” wrote Mike Jordan of Thrillist.com.
Not only did Jordan compliment the city, he highlighted several area attractions and businesses.
“A restaurateur named Sean Wight has been adding stellar restaurants over the past decade, including cocktail-driven eatery Craft & Vine, locally farmed burger joint Farmhaus, and the romantic Frog Hollow Tavern,” Jordan wrote. “Live music at Sky City brings an energetic crowd and a wide variety of audio entertainment, whether that’s funk, ’90s R&B, or acoustic folk.”
And don’t forget the beautiful outdoor recreational areas offered in Augusta, Jordan wrote.
“The Riverwalk lets you stroll and sightsee downtown from the edge of the Savannah River,” he wrote, “and you can find contemporary Southern art at the Morris Museum, which is free on Sundays.”
Of course, what’s a thriving city without popular breweries, Jordan added.
“And since you’ll need beer, you’ll find it at both Savannah River and Riverwatch (breweries),” he wrote. “Enjoy a few (beers) before going out into nature at Phinizy Swamp to peep turtles and gators. It really does feel like nothing else.”
Think it’s just a fluke that Augusta was chosen as one of the most underrated cities in the United States?
Thrillist.com chose one city in each of the 50 states to feature, and Augusta was the top city chosen in the state of Georgia.
Augusta is Georgia’s secret treasure, according to Thrillist.com.
“Stumbling across a thing, or a place, that turns out to be waaaay better than you thought gives you a zot of static-electric shock,” the Feb. 28 article stated. “And you now know a secret that you can dole out to friends.”
Augusta is one of America’s “underdogs,” according to the website.
Some of the other underdogs included impressive cities and towns such as Tulsa, Okla.; Baton Rouge, La.; Lexington, Ky.; Montgomery, Ala.; Wichita, Kan.; Folly Beach, S.C.; Ithaca, N.Y., and Sacramento, Calif.
That’s pretty good company for Augusta, right?
“Here, America, are your underdogs,” Thrillist.com stated. “Learn them well — they’re going to make you happy.”
Not bad. Not bad at all.
But, for the past several years, Augusta has had a lot to cheer about.
Just last year, Fortune magazine included Augusta in its article called “7 Cities That Could Become the World’s Cybersecurity Capital.”
“This small city is a dark horse when it comes to winning the race to be a cyber capital,” Fortune reporter Jeff John Roberts wrote on April 6, 2017. “But while some scoff at the idea of Augusta emerging as a major player (skeptics point to the city’s out-of-the-way location and small size), it does have some distinct advantages —most notably nearby Fort Gordon, which the Pentagon designated as the new home of the Army’s Cyber Command.”
What Augusta doesn’t have in population size, the city makes up in cyber security preparedness, Roberts wrote.
“Brooks Keel, the President of Augusta University, says the town is preparing for ‘cyber tsunami’ of approximately 4,000 families, and the school will provide complementary education to support this,” Roberts wrote. “Meanwhile, Augusta is hoping a $50 million cyber grant from the state and presence of firms like Unisys and Raytheon will lead to a bonanza of spin-offs and startups.”
So which other six cities were included in Fortune’s list of possibilities for the world’s future cybersecurity capital?
None other than Washington, D.C., Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv, Atlanta, Boston and London.
That’s quite an impressive list of major metropolitan areas around the world.
According to Fortune, the cybersecurity industry is slated to pull in more than $100 billion a year by 2020 and the industry is looking for home, otherwise known as regional hub or “cluster.”
“Clusters represent a geographic region where an intangible mix of people, education, and economic factors create an interdependent network of businesses and institutions,” the Fortune article stated in 2017. “As those ties become stronger, it becomes virtually impossible for a competing city to disrupt or replace the cluster. That’s why, despite innumerable efforts to copy them, there’s still only one Silicon Valley or Hollywood.”
But there are certain factors needed to successful create a thriving cluster, Roberts wrote.
“If a dominant cyber hub does emerge, it will likely have most or all of the following attributes: proximity to a research university; a large population of hackers or military types; access to angel and venture capital; a culture of cooperation and entrepreneurship,” he wrote.
So, while many Augustans may have once felt kin to comedian Rodney Dangerfield because of his famous “I get no respect!” routines, the Garden City is finally getting the praise it deserves.
Let’s just hope we don’t mess it up.