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Plan considered to upgrade Grovetown's city center

Sunday, April 1, 2012 3:39 PM
Last updated 8:21 PM
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The city of Grovetown might get a face-lift from an Urban Redevelopment Plan that city officials expect to approve this month.

“Change is on the horizon,” Grovetown City Councilman Sonny McDowell said. “We are literally redefining Grovetown. That’s what it is going to do: rebuilding the old, core part of the city.”

Residents can learn more about the plan details from 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday at an open house in conjunction with a Grovetown Urban Redevelopment Plan Advisory Committee meeting at Grovetown City Hall.

The city grew from 3,000 to 11,000 residents in the past two decades. But most of that growth occurred on the fringes, depriving the city center the prosperity of other rapidly growing areas.

City officials are now looking for ways to redesign the oldest parts of the city, including much of the residential and commercial areas along Robinson Avenue, the railroad tracks and Wrightsboro Road.

“In essence ... the objective is to rid the city of blight to the extent that it is possible,” McDowell said. “Rid the city of blight and re-create a city that is ... the way we want to see Grovetown look.”

City officials hope the results of the plan will be a prosperous commercial center along Robinson Avenue and attractive, well-planned housing along many fronts, including the railroad tracks that run through town.

On Feb. 13, council members approved the first step of the process: the findings of necessity.

That document, prepared by the CSRA Regional Commission, shows concentrations of poverty, a substantial concentration of deteriorated mobile home parks and a low owner-occupancy rate, commission Planning Director Christian Lentz said.

Those factors combine to depress land and building values and could make the city less attractive to prospective businesses.

If approved, the plan calls for an aggressive reduction of dangerous and abandoned buildings.

“For property values to rise and for Grovetown to have the type of good form in the city center residential areas that it wants, it slowly has to disincentivize the mobile home parks that are there,” Lentz said.

The plan also calls for more staff and many changes to the city’s planning and zoning codes.

Lentz said the focus will be on creating zoning districts that would encourage the grouping of structures with similar size, location, scale and orientation to create more attractive residential and commercial areas.

“Most people aren’t necessarily turned off by the land use,” he said. “They are turned off by the way the land use looks.”

Those updated codes could be applied only to certain properties through restrictive covenants or to the entire proposed district.

The plan also will look at improving Robinson Avenue as a commercial corridor. About 12,000 vehicles travel the main thoroughfare each day.

“Addressing it by more travel lanes and a wider road isn’t necessarily the way to do it,” Lentz said. “It would directly conflict with your downtown vision, the downtown (city officials) want to create. ... There’s no reason why Robinson Avenue can’t become a viable commercial corridor or commercial center in Grovetown.”

McDowell said the Georgia Department of Transportation would consider incorporating ideas from the Urban Redevelopment Plan when designing a project to upgrade Robinson Avenue.

“We have to get way out in front of their design process,” McDowell said.

If passed, the first couple of years of the plan consist of studies, research and planning. Within a few years, officials hope to start construction on a model site. A more-than-1-acre parcel currently housing the senior center and fire station on Robinson Avenue near Newmantown Road is a possible site for the mixed-use model, said Lentz.

After Tuesday’s open house, the plan is expected to go before the city council for approval April 9.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Open house and Grovetown Urban Redevelopment Plan Advisory Committee meeting

WHEN: 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: Grovetown City Hall, 103 Old Wrightsboro Road

Comments (10) Add comment
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Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 04/01/12 - 06:26 pm
0
0
How 'bout a free, public

How 'bout a free, public library for use by the Grovetown kids whose access to the Euchee Creek Library, which is located three miles from city limits along a highway, is limited by the absence of sidewalks or bikepaths on the road's shoulders?

dstewartsr
20389
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dstewartsr 04/01/12 - 07:53 pm
0
0
I dunno, how 'bout the

I dunno, how 'bout the sidewalks promised us when I moved in in '77?

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 04/02/12 - 02:17 am
0
0
"Don't listen to what we say;

"Don't listen to what we say; watch what we do."

scoobynews
3826
Points
scoobynews 04/02/12 - 07:22 am
0
0
All this "growth" has made

All this "growth" has made the schools over crowded with portables being the norm at the middle and new elementary. Growth is not always a positive - over crowded streets, schools, and increase in crime will be the norm.

townsends
185
Points
townsends 04/02/12 - 01:14 pm
0
0
About 12,000 vehicles travel

About 12,000 vehicles travel the main thoroughfare each day.
“Addressing it by more travel lanes and a wider road isn’t necessarily the way to do it,” LENTZ said.

I suppose we could build another road 25 feet above the existing one and have one-way traffic in each direction... LOL!

Let’s build a "prosperous commercial center along Robinson Avenue" where 12000 vehicles travel every. We will attract more people (than the 12000); by creating this “cool” area in downtown Grovetown. As a bonus, even if they do not like any of the shopping they will not be able to leave because of the traffic jam that we created by “getting out front of the design process”.

Little Lamb
45364
Points
Little Lamb 04/02/12 - 01:40 pm
1
0
They definitely don't need to

They definitely don't need to widen Robinson Avenue. Instead they need to create more than one route to bypass downtown. Most of those 12,000 cars don't want to be there.

Little Lamb
45364
Points
Little Lamb 04/02/12 - 01:51 pm
0
0
I know what they can do.

I know what they can do. They should build a large amphitheater. Make sure you put it in a field and do not put in seating. Instead, make the concertgoers bring their own folding chairs and coolers. Also, make sure concertgoers have to cross a busy road to get from their cars to the field in front of the stage.

Little Lamb
45364
Points
Little Lamb 04/02/12 - 01:52 pm
0
0
I just thought of something

I just thought of something else they should do to increase the cool factor: put in several traffic circles at strategic locations.

countyman
19731
Points
countyman 04/02/12 - 04:24 pm
0
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I think Robinson Avenue will

I think Robinson Avenue will become one of the smaller commercial corridors in the metro area.. For the moment the overwhelmingly majority of growth seems to be on the RC side of the Robinson Avenue/Gordon Hwy intersection(13 acre commercial center, 200 acre Hanyes Station, Willhaven, 64 acre residential & 1 acre commercial Mccoys Creek, 18 acre multi-family, and 11 acres recently zoned to General Business)..

North of Wrightsboro rd still seems to be the most desirable part of Grovetown.. North I-20 is definitely the best looking area throughout Grovetown..

Little Lamb
45364
Points
Little Lamb 04/02/12 - 04:29 pm
0
0
Yeah, it really looks nice

Yeah, it really looks nice out there at the quarry and asphalt plant and landfill.

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