ARC awarded $638,000 in its latest round of Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) grants to nine metro Atlanta communities. The LCI grants will help these communities create new plans for quality growth and help develop innovative policies that support more vibrant, connected communities. Once their studies and plans are complete, these communities will be eligible for additional LCI funding for transportation projects needed to implement their plans.
Since its inception in 1999, LCI has assisted 111 communities with more than $154 million in planning and implementation grants to devise strategies that reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality by better connecting homes, shops and offices. LCI communities cover only five percent of the region’s land area, but contain seven percent of its residential development, 24 percent of its commercial development and 38 percent of its office development.
“LCI has helped communities across metro Atlanta re-tool and redesign over the years, creating more places that attract residents and businesses alike,” said Tad Leithead, ARC Chairman. “Our local government partners have used these grants to the benefit of their communities and the entire region.”
The LCI program is funded with federal transportation dollars. The grants fund 80 percent of the study, with the recipient making a 20 percent match.
“Communities are eager to revitalize their town centers and underutilized properties to create places that foster a vibrant neighborhood feel and environment,” said Doug Hooker, ARC Executive Director. “LCI grants have helped communities re-imagine what they can be, and then helped them make those plans a reality.”
2013 LCI grant recipients:
DeKalb County for the Medline Regional Activity Center
This study focuses on the area around DeKalb Medical Center and will plan for redevelopment of underutilized and vacant properties to create a variety of housing options and an appropriate mix of commercial, office and retail. The study will incorporate Lifelong Communities concepts and the establishment of a “wellness district” for the DeKalb Medical Center area. Additionally, the plan will address sidewalk and bicycle facilities along the major corridors in the area to create a more walkable center and to improve connections to MARTA bus routes and Emory’s Cliff shuttle.
Coweta County for the Newnan Town Center
This plan will focus on redevelopment opportunities near the old Newnan Hospital and various industrial properties, creating a mix of land uses in a way that is compatible with the town’s historic character, as well as on improving connectivity both within and from Newnan to the larger regional transportation network.
The seven remaining grants are for supplemental studies to help existing LCI communities implement their existing plans through additional studies, zoning changes, etc. Communities receiving supplemental study funds are:
- Atlanta Downtown Improvement District/Central Atlanta Progress, for a parking study.
- City of Avondale Estates, for a major plan update and a downtown master plan.
- City of Chamblee, for a 10-year major plan update.
- City of Lithonia, to create standards for streetscape designs and zoning code changes
- City of Norcross, for a study of railroad intersection improvements in downtown Norcross.
- Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District, to study the feasibility of a multi-use trail from Norcross to Lilburn.
- Midtown Alliance, to design potential enhancements around transit stations.
To learn more about the LCI program and the impact it has had on the Atlanta region, visit www.atlantaregional.com/lci.