Newnan seeks input on future of downtown

by Sarah Fay Campbell

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Newnan recently received a grant to study opportunities for future growth in downtown and in Newnan neighborhoods. 


The city of Newnan is hoping local residents and anyone interested in the future of downtown Newnan and the neighborhoods just east of downtown will fill out the new online survey.

The survey is part of the city's Livable Centers Initiative study. The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete, and includes questions as well as a "visual preference survey."

You can access the survey at the city's website, www.ci.newnan.ga.us .

"We'd like as many people as possible" to fill out the survey, said Tracy Dunavant, city of Newnan planning director. "We really want the public to be involved in this," Dunnavant said. The survey is a great way to get input from people who can't attend the public meetings, as well as those who can.

There will be a total of four public meetings on the LCI study. The second one will be Dec. 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Newnan Carnegie Library, 1 LaGrange Street at the Court Square.

At the Dec. 5 meeting, there will be a recap of the progress so far, a series of mapping exercises for the neighborhoods and downtown buildings, including building character and housing type, and a prioritization exercise on neighborhood improvements. Each meeting will build off the previous meetings, said Dunnavant.

The first meeting was held Oct. 17, and a summary, as well as the meeting presentation, are available on the city's website.

The city received a $120,000 Livable Centers Initiative grant in February, to study opportunities in downtown, the east side neighborhoods of Cole Town and Chalk Level and the old Newnan Hospital site.

The LCI study area includes downtown, the old hospital site, Jefferson Street to the railroad, Sutherland Drive to Farmer Street, everything west of Farmer Street/Pinson Street to just past Savannah Street, then along Calhoun Street to just past the Coweta Justice Center, then just north of Buchanan Street to First Avenue.

In addition to the public meetings and survey, the city is also working with stakeholder groups, said Dunnavant.

The plan is not intended to change downtown, she said. "It is designed to enhance downtown. We feel like our downtown works and what we want to do is look for ways that we can actually make it even better than it is," she said.

The survey will "allow us to go in and take a look at aspects of downtown as well as particular buildings like the Caldwell Tanks building, Howard Warner" and possibly the old mill building on Augusta Drive, she said.

The study is designed to find "what do we need, what do we want, what are we lacking," Dunnavant said. Hopes are to get the University of West Georgia — and its students — more involved in downtown with the opening of the Newnan center at the old Newnan Hospital site.

Once the plan is complete, "you can apply for additional grant money" in the area of transportation that can help make some of the projects in the plan a reality," she said.

When it comes to the areas east of downtown, "what they are looking at doing is coming up with a plan of action, where we can work with the business owners and homeowners, trying to find ways to help them make improvements to the areas," Dunnavant said.

With the LCI plan, "what we are trying to do is to come up with something that really does have action items that we can make happen," Dunnavant said. "It's not a good plan that sits on a shelf and nothing comes of it. If we are going to take the time and spend the money, then we have to have something that is usual, implementable," Dunnavant said.

And hopefully in the future, the city will be able to do a phase two LCI for the west side.

For more information on the LCI study, visit www.ci.newnan.ga.us or contact Dunnavant at 770-254-2354 or tdunnavant@cityofnewnan.org .



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