East Newnan residents urged to take LCI survey

by Sarah Fay Campbell

An online survey on the future of downtown Newnan and the downtown east neighborhoods will be available for about two more weeks, and hopes are to have a lot more people take it — particularly those who live in the areas.

You can take the Newnan Livable Centers Initiative survey by visiting Newnan's home page at www.ci.newnan.ga.us.

So far, there have been 180 survey responses, said Tracy Dunnavant, city of Newnan planning director. Of those, "around 60 percent live in Newnan, but not in the downtown area," Dunnavant said. "We need greater participation from the people who live in the historic neighborhoods downtown or in our town’s east neighborhoods."

The survey is part of the study the city is doing with a Livable Centers Initiative grant. The study area is downtown; the downtown east neighborhoods including Chalk Level along Pinson Street, Cole Town along East Broad, and the mill village; the area around the Coweta Justice Center on Greenville Street; and the old Newnan Hospital campus on Jackson Street.

Dunnavant said city officials are planning to create printed copies of the survey to distribute in the neighborhoods. They'll likely work with the churches and neighborhood association to get those surveys out. There will also be copies of the survey in Spanish.

"We're going to try to find some better way to reach out to that community," Dunnavant said.

In addition to the survey, there are four public meetings being held. The second was held Friday. At the meeting, participants created their own plans for the city. Each individual got a black ribbon representing a mile of new road, which could be cut up and placed on the map where needed, as well as a green square representing a one-acre park, which could be cut into two half-acre parks. Participants also picked land use categories for different areas, and were asked to identify the two worst intersections.

""It gave them an idea of what we are kind of going through in doing this plan," Dunnavant said.

The third meeting will be held in either January or February. The fourth will likely be more about the recommendations and results of the plan. That meeting will be in April.

Dunnavant said there was good representation of downtown residents at the meeting, but only one resident from the Chalk Level neighborhood.

Consultants provided a few highlights of the survey responses.

The second half of the survey contains several images, and survey-takers are asked how appropriate those images are for the study area.

"The highest-rated images on the survey have actually dealt with paths and trails," Dunnavant said. "It seems our citizens love paths and trails." A photo of a modern home with vinyl siding ranked lowest.

People consider the Greenville Street Park and C.J. Smith Park to be underutilized.

A lack of public restrooms also is a major concern.

The intersections of Clark Street at Jefferson, Jackson and Carmichael streets are a concern, and "people also talked about wanting additional transit opportunities, particularly with the new West Georgia complex," Dunnavant said. There was "a lot of talk about the lack of sidewalks in and around the mill village and Chalk Level," she said.

"And, of course, parking always comes up," she added. Lastly, "some people expressed a desire for a hotel downtown and a small grocery store."

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