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(ATLANTA – February 11, 2010) Through its award-winning Livable Centers Initiative (LCI), the Atlanta Regional Commission is awarding five local governments a total of $440,000 in grants. These grants will help each community create quality growth plans in specific locations that will enhance the livability of these areas.
The LCI grants, given annually to local governments in the Atlanta region, will help DeKalb County and the cities of Doraville, Dunwoody, Hampton and Morrow design plans that will better link transportation improvements with land use strategies. Once plans are completed, these communities are eligible for a larger pot of federal funding to implement their projects.
“Over the years, LCI has helped communities across metro Atlanta re-tool and redesign to become places that attract residents and businesses alike,” said Tad Leithead, ARC Chairman. “Our local government partners have used these grants to the benefit of the entire region. Because of that, LCI has become a national award-winning model.”
The goal of the LCI program, created in 1999, is to help local governments devise strategies that reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality by better connecting homes, shops and offices, enhancing streetscapes and pedestrian amenities and improving access to transit options. With this latest round of grants, LCI has assisted 107 communities with more than $141 million in grant awards.
The five 2010 LCI grant recipients are:
• City of Doraville (GM Plant Redevelopment ) $100,000
• City of Dunwoody (Dunwoody Town Center) $80,000
• City of Hampton (Hampton Town Center) $80,000
• City of Morrow (Southlake Mall & Mixed Use District) $100,000
• DeKalb County (Wesley Chapel Activity Center) $80,000
Since the first LCI grants were awarded in 2000, more than 84,000 residential units, 20 million square feet of commercial space and 35 million square feet of office space are either planned, under construction or complete in these areas. Region-wide, 67 percent of all office space built since 2000, has been built within LCI areas. And, LCI areas have attracted 8.5 percent of all new residential units and 21 percent of all new commercial development built in the region.
“Local communities are eager to revitalize their town centers and underutilized properties to create places that foster a neighborhood feel and environment,” said Dan Reuter, ARC’s Land Use Division Chief. “LCI grants allow them to accomplish this. The cumulative effect of these projects is changing the face of the region over time.”
ARC had $800,000 available for LCI grants in 2010. The five plans listed above account for $440,000. As always, the remaining $360,000 has been awarded to communities that have completed their LCI plans but need additional assistance support implementation. These nine local governments will use the supplemental grants for things like changing zoning ordinances and updating plans that were developed years ago.
Below is information on the five LCI grant recipients and the nine recipients of LCI supplemental funding recipients:
GM PLANT REDEVELOPMENT PLAN
Award Amount: $100,000
Sponsor: City of Doraville
Contact: Luke Howe, Assistant to the Mayor
Phone/Email: 770.451.8745; firstname.lastname@example.org
The City of Doraville will focus this study on the redevelopment of the now shuttered General Motors Assembly Plant, the adjacent MARTA station and the ripple effect on existing businesses within the area. For sixty years, the GM plant has been a fixture in the city and its closing leaves a major void in the local and regional economies. Alternatively, the redevelopment potential provides opportunities to repair the community fabric, fill housing and economic voids, foster quality growth concepts and add needed greenspace. The study will focus on developing creative solutions addressing land use, development patterns, transportation/circulation and economic development.
DUNWOODY TOWN CENTER
Requested Amount: $80,000
Sponsor: City of Dunwoody
Contact: Michael Tuller, Community Development Director
Phone/Email: 678.382.6700/ Michael.email@example.com
The newly incorporated City of Dunwoody will prepare an LCI study focusing on the Dunwoody Village, which has long represented the historic center of the community. This study will develop strategies for transforming Dunwoody Village into a vibrant town center, including a mix of uses and improved traffic circulation throughout the area. Key strategies will focus on developing civic features, such as new parks and greenspace along with a potential new city hall and related governmental services as the anchor land use in a redevelopment scenario. Additional residential and commercial intensities, along with stronger connections to the surrounding neighborhoods, will be considered to support the local economic viability of the Village. Vehicular circulation and alternative transportation options will be considered in addressing the significant traffic congestion that is currently seen in the area.
HAMPTON TOWN CENTER
Award Amount: $80,000
Sponsor: City of Hampton
Contact: R. W. Coley, Mayor
Phone/Email: 770.946.4306; firstname.lastname@example.org
Hampton will use the LCI planning process and its current plans and projects to create an economically feasible strategy to achieve mixed use, higher density and diverse transportation related development. Two specific development opportunities include the re-location of the city public works facility currently located two blocks from Main Street and the proposed location of the only commuter rail stop in Henry County being in Hampton. With proper planning and implementation these development opportunities will have a major positive impact on the vitality of the City of Hampton. The LCI study will be used to create diverse transportation modes linking areas within the town center, to identify select locations to be redeveloped for higher density mixed use development, for the restoration of historic structures, for attracting compatible infill development and for lifelong communities development.
SOUTHLAKE MALL AND MIXED USE DISTRICT
Award Amount: $100,000
Sponsor: City of Morrow
Contact: Sylvia Redic
Phone/Email: 770.961.4002/ email@example.com
The Southlake Mall LCI study area is a location that has traditionally been a significant economic district for the City of Morrow and the greater Clayton County community. This study area includes the mall and surrounding property, along with the city’s town center and the newly designated mixed use district in the city. While this area is still important to the local economy, there has been recent disinvestment and commercial/industrial vacancies remain high, resulting in greyfield and brownfield sites primed for redevelopment. The LCI study will build on recent city initiatives to create an activity center based on higher residential densities, a mix of uses, pedestrian connectivity and improved traffic circulation. The mall area will become a thriving regional employment generator and shopping destination with varied entertainment and recreation options.
WESLEY CHAPEL ACTIVITY CENTER
Award Amount: $80,000
Sponsor: DeKalb County
Contact: Arthur Duncan, Strategic Planning Administrator
Phone/Email: 404.371.2155/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The Wesley Chapel Activity Center area was once a thriving area of commercial and residential development, but has experienced a significant amount of disinvestment over the past 20 years. The area has a number of big box retail spaces and strip malls that have remained vacant. These, along with significant home foreclosures, have served to further exacerbate the financial problems in the area. The LCI study will guide the transformation of the Wesley Chapel Activity Center area from its current state as a predominantly greyfield area into a mixed use district with improved corridor mobility that encourages economic development, establishes a foundation for transit development and offers a safe pedestrian experience. This planned center will encourage walkable communities and provide employment, housing and recreation choices for a mix of residents.
The following are the nine supplemental study applications recommended for funding.
• Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, Greenline Fiscal and Economic Impact Assessment, $50,000
• City of Decatur, 10-Year LCI Update, $50,000
• City of Duluth, 10-Year LCI Update, $50,000
• Evermore CID, Park Place Multi-Modal Mixed Use Center, $40,000
• Perimeter CID, 10-Year LCI Update, $30,000
• City of Douglasville, 10-Year LCI Update, $30,000
• City of Holly Springs, Transportation Plan, $25,000
• Cumberland CID, Transit Oriented Development Study, $50,000
• Buckhead CID and TMA, SPI 12 Update and Shift to Stand Alone Zoning, $35,000