Archive for February, 2012

ARC Wants Public Feedback for Regional Economic Development Strategy

February 17, 2012

ARC Press Release

(ATLANTA – February 17, 2012)  The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), in collaboration with local economic development agencies, governments and chambers of commerce, is developing a Regional Economic Development Strategy for metro Atlanta. This strategy will help provide a clear roadmap to strengthen the region’s position within an increasingly competitive global economy.

The regional strategy will complement the plans being implemented around the 10-county region* and will tie into Governor Deal’s Georgia Competitiveness Initiative, sending a clear message to potential metro Atlanta workers, leaders, corporate citizens and investors that the region remains an economic leader, even during the current recession

“As one of the fastest growing metro areas in the nation for the last 40 years or so, the Atlanta region has not needed a lot of help in growing its economy,” said Tad Leithead, ARC Chairman. “Our local governments and chambers have done an outstanding job attracting new companies and workers to metro Atlanta. But as the region has struggled to recover from the recession, ARC thought a regional plan might make the area more competitive globally than any one community could be.”

As part of developing the regional strategy, ARC would like your input through an online survey. The survey will ask you to rate different elements of the region’s competitiveness along three broad areas:

  • People – socioeconomics, education and workforce dynamics
  • Prosperity – local economy, business climate and resources for existing businesses
  • Place – quality of life, community aesthetics, transportation and infrastructure

The survey will be a major component informing the plan’s recommendations and should take you 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Your responses are confidential. The survey will be available until Friday, February 24.

*Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Rockdale

For more information, contact:

Jim Jaquish

Atlanta Regional Commission

404.463.3194

Cell: 404.323.5634

jjaquish@atlantaregional.com

ARC Community Choices Application Period Now Open

February 15, 2012

ARC’s Community Choices Program provides resources and technical assistance to local governments in the 10-county region to help implement their quality growth plans and policies.

These efforts are managed through a competitive application process each year. This year’s application period is now open, and ARC encourages local governments to envision ways they might use technical assistance to implement their plans and apply.

Past projects include quality growth audits, creation of overlay districts, design guidelines, and other innovative projects.

The application deadline is March 16, 2012. For more information on this program and access to our online application form, please visit www.atlantaregional.com/communitychoices.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact the Government Services Division at (404) 463-3216.

ARC Recognized for Healthy Aging Initiative in Mableton

February 14, 2012

ARC Press Release

For More Information Contact:

Grace Trimble

(404)-463-3192

Cell: (404) 323-5647

gtrimble@atlantaregional.com

(ATLANTA – February 14, 2012)  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging initiative recently announced that the Atlanta Regional Commission has been selected to receive the 2011 Commitment Award for its Lifelong Mableton project. Lifelong Mableton, one of only two initiatives recognized this year, was chosen for combining smart growth principles with the concepts of active aging in the South Cobb community of Mableton.

Award winners are public sector entities, neighborhood or non-governmental organizations that demonstrate excellence in implementing programs and policies that improve the health and well-being of the community and its citizens and provide opportunities that allow older adults to age in place. Lifelong Mableton was evaluated on its overall effectiveness of the program, level of community involvement and outreach, use of innovative approaches and overall environmental and health benefits of the project.

Lifelong Mableton began in earnest in the fall of 2009, with funding from the U.S. Administration on Aging‘s Community Innovations for Aging in Place program. It was one of 14 grants awarded throughout the country. With the assistance of the grant, ARC has worked closely with residents of Mableton to implement the principles of creating a place where individuals can live throughout a lifetime. The main goals of this project include promoting housing and transportation options, encouraging healthy lifestyles and improving access to services.

Since 2009, Lifelong Mableton has helped Mableton adopt smart growth policies and programs, including the adoption of a more flexible zoning code that makes the development of mixed-use communities easier and allows for expanded housing options. Lifelong Mableton has also fostered a partnership with Cobb and Douglas Public Health to improve the safety and walkability of the community as well as improving access to local public transit. The Historic Mableton Community Garden is beginning its third growing season and is located near a planned mixed-use development in the heart of the community.

Local AARP volunteers donated more than 400 pounds of fresh produce to the local food bank through the garden’s “Plant a Row for the Hungry” program. Older adults and children come together on a regular basis to learn from each other, enjoy the socialization opportunities and participate in beneficial physical activities as part of this program.

A pilot program, “Grandparents for Safe Routes to Schools,” encourages older adults to walk elementary children to school for exercise and social opportunities and allows for the older adults to help create a community presence.  Also contributing to the this sense of place, a newly created fitness initiative launched last fall has participants of all ages walking and running together on a weekly basis through the core of the study area.

The Farmers Market is preparing for its third summer of bringing fresh fruits and vegetables to area residents. The market is particularly attractive to older adults because of the transportation it provides  from senior housing facilities, vouchers for free produce and health screenings. The market is held Thursday mornings, making it an ideal time for older adults to shop for fresh produce after the morning rush hour has ended.

During the next few months, health and wellness opportunities will continue to grow. Lifelong Mableton also plans to help launch a volunteer driver program that will help older adults get to needed medical appointments.

Next Atlanta Regional Housing Forum Scheduled for March 7

February 13, 2012

 

Mark your calendars for the next Atlanta Regional Housing Forum, to be held on March 7 from 9:30-11:45 a.m. at the Loudermilk Center for the Regional Community, 40 Courtland St. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30303.

The topic will be the Potential Impact of the Transportation Investment Act on Housing, Economic Development, and Transit in the Metro Atlanta Region.

For more information and registration, visit http://www.atlantaregionalhousing.org/forum.

The Atlanta Regional Housing Forum is a long-standing gathering of non-profit, business, government, education and grassroots organizations to discuss matters related to affordable housing and related topics such as transportation, land use, and more. The Forum is held quarterly, open to all, and free to attend, although registration is requested. It is also requested that attendees bring canned food items to each Forum for donation to the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

 

ARC Releases Analysis of Transportation Referendum’s Travel Impacts

February 10, 2012

ARC Press Release

For more information, contact:

Jim Jaquish

Atlanta Regional Commission

404.463.3194

jjaquish@atlantaregional.com

(ATLANTA – February 10, 2012)  Voters in the Atlanta region have the opportunity to vote on a referendum on July 31 that would raise $8.5 billion through a one percent sales tax to fund transportation projects across the region.

The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) has just completed an analysis of the potential mobility impacts of the regional referendum list of 157 priority transportation projects if they were built out during the next 10 years.  The referendum project list was developed last year by a roundtable of local officials, with unprecedented public input of more than 200,000 residents.

The analysis measured the impact of the referendum projects through the year 2025, if implemented in addition to the currently programmed projects in ARC’s Regional Transportation Plan.

The results of the ARC analysis concluded that the effect of the referendum project build-out would:

  • Achieve a 24 percent average decrease in future travel delays for roadways, improved through road widening, new construction and improved interchanges.
  • Increase daily transit trips to 580,000, compared to 417,000 trips today.
  • Improve air quality equal to taking 72,000 vehicles off the roads daily.
  • Enable 18 percent more workers to reach jobs in the Cumberland-Galleria area by car within 45 minutes, and up to an eight percent increase in jobs accessibility in other key employment centers.
  • Achieve a 700 percent increase in workers’ ability to reach the Emory/Clifton Corridor by bus or rail within 45 minutes. Other employment centers also experience increase in accessibility, such as Southlake (42 percent) and Town Center (61 percent).

“After several months of in-depth analysis, we believe that these findings represent a conservative estimate of the potential impact of a build out of the referendum projects,” said Tad Leithead, ARC Chairman. “In addition, we have concluded that by making these improvements in the next 10 years, rather than in 20 or 30 years as many were previously programmed, these projects can be built less expensively and improve congestion more quickly.”

About 70 percent of the region’s scheduled transportation funding for the next 30 years will be spent on just maintaining the existing network, leaving little room for expansion.  As the region continues to grow – by some three million more people in the next 25 years — congestion will worsen, costing metro Atlantans more time and money spent in their cars.

“As the federally-designated transportation planning agency for the Atlanta region, our job is to accurately calculate the impacts of targeted transportation improvements,” said Leithead. “The voters will ultimately make the decision regarding the referendum that they believe is best for the region.”

ARC’s Livable Centers Initiative Awards $796,000 to 10 Communities

February 10, 2012

ARC Press Release

For More Information Contact:

Jim Jaquish

(404)-463-3194

Cell: (404) 323-5634

jjaquish@atlantaregional.com

(ATLANTA- February 10, 2012) Through its Livable Centers Initiative (LCI), the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) has awarded an additional 10 local communities a total of $796,000 in planning grants. LCI grants are intended to assist local governments and communities create new quality growth plans that can seed new ideas for livability or help implement such community-developed visions.

The new LCI grant recipients are the City of Atlanta, DeKalb County and the City of Marietta, receiving $120,000, $100,000 and $80,000 respectively. Five other communities received funding for various supplemental studies, to help advance their current LCI studies. In addition, grants for two PLAN 2040 Innovation studies will be awarded to the City of Atlanta and the Stone Mountain CID at $80,000 each.

Entering its 13th year, the Livable Centers Initiative has awarded 127 communities with more than $153 million in planning and implementation grants to create more livable communities. These grants have helped fund projects that have revitalized the region’s activity centers and historical town centers through improved pedestrian, road and transit options.

“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 was created to allocate federal transportation dollars for planning in local communities. Once the plans have been created, local governments can apply for federal funding to assist in bringing their plans into reality.

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 the grantee areas. Regionwide, 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.

“Communities are eager to revitalize their town centers and underutilized properties to create places that foster a 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.”

The 2012 LCI recipients are:

Lakewood Activity Center
Award amount: $120,000
Sponsor:
City of Atlanta
Contact:
Garnett Brown 
Phone/Email:
404.330.6145 / gbrown@atlantaga.gov

This study will create strategies for growth and development at and around the Lakewood Fairgrounds.  The Fairgrounds are an emerging regional center, and by cultivating growth there, the city will gain a new attraction. The plan will focus on leveraging Aaron’s Lakewood Amphitheater and increasing the attraction of new movie and television production jobs.  The study will also work to provide opportunities for supportive mixed-use/mixed-income development.

Stonecrest Activity Center
Award Amount: $100,000
Sponsor: DeKalb County
Contact:
Cedric Hudson
Phone/Email:
404.371.2155 / chudson@dekalbcountyga.gov

This study will focus on creating strategies to improve the long-term economic viability of the Stonecrest region. The plan will encourage pedestrian-oriented communities where people can live, work and play. Such an activity center would help improve the economic vitality of not only Stonecrest, but DeKalb County and the surrounding area.

Marietta University District
Award Amount: $80,000
Sponsor:
City of Marietta
Contact:
Kyetha Clark
Phone/Email:
770.794.5668 / kclark@mariettaga.gov

This study will focus on the usage of land along Cobb Parkway, more specifically those areas surrounding Southern Polytechnic State University and Life University.  The plan will include improving the visibility of the universities by recommending transportation projects and development that will better tie the universities to the community, creating a campus atmosphere.

PLAN 2040 LCI Innovation Studies

With the adoption of PLAN 2040 in 2011, ARC added a third category of LCI grants. Called PLAN 2040 LCI Innovation studies, these grants support jurisdiction-wide policies, plans or programs that focus on livable communities, consistent with the goals of PLAN 2040 and LCI. The first two PLAN 2040 LCI Innovation grant recipients are:

Cycle Atlanta Phase 1
Award Amount: $80,000
Sponsor:
City of Atlanta
Contact:
James Shelby
Phone/Email:
404.330.6070 / jshelby@atlantaga.gov

The purpose of this study is to support compact development in the central core of the city by connecting residential areas to job centers with additional bicycle facilities. The city will study ways to connect residential areas to job centers via bicycle-friendly facilities, while maintaining the historic and cultural fabric of the communities.

Stone Mountain CID Vision and Strategies
Award Amount: $80,000
Sponsor:
Stone Mountain CID
Contact:
Emory Morsberger
Phone/Email:
770.409.8100 / emory@stonemountaincid.com

This study is intended to assist the community improvement district (CID) in developing policies to accommodate emerging industry sectors and to redevelop a strong industrial and freight presence in the area.  The CID will study transportation improvements and development strategies to attract a stronger freight and logistics presence as well as emerging industries.

Supplemental Studies

Perimeter CIDs: Lifelong Community Feasibility Study: $64,000

City of Union City: Transit-Oriented Development Plan at Union Station : $80,000

Gwinnett Village CID : Indian Trail Pedestrian and Bike Connectivity Study : $48,000

City of Woodstock : 10-Year LCI Update : $80,000

City of Stone Mountain : 10-Year LCI Update : $64,000

For more on ARC’s LCI program and a list of past recipients, visit www.atlantaregional.com/lci.

Georgia Department of Community Affairs Holding Community Planning Institute March 9-10

February 10, 2012

From a recent Georgia Dept. of Community Affairs (DCA) email announcement:

Community Planning Institute: Planning and Zoning

What?

A two-day training program in planning concepts and procedures conducted by prominent planning and legal professionals.

Course completion provides participants a “Certificate of Achievement” granted by the Georgia Planning Association (GPA) and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA).  Sessions include:

  • The Role of the Planning Commissioner – The role of the Planning Commissioner in working with your community’s citizens and governing body to define and implement the community’s vision for the future.
  • Components of the Comprehensive Plan – A look at what makes up your community’s comprehensive plan.
  • The Good, the Bad and the Legal – Covers the importance of the comprehensive plan as a legal basis for decision-making as well as the latest legal issues in planning and zoning.
  • Implementation Tools – Discusses regulatory and non-regulatory tools available to local governments to implement the comprehensive plan.
  • How to Use Your Plan Effectively – How to use your plan to make effective decisions, showcasing the Newton County experience.
  • Cypress County – A hands-on exercise that allows participants to discuss and work through real-world type planning decisions.

When?

March 9 and 10, 2012

8:30 a.m. Friday through 4:00 p.m. Saturday

Where?

The Center for Community Preservation and Planning

2104 Washington Street, Covington, Georgia 30014

Directions:

www.thecenter-newton.org

Who should attend?

Planning Commissioners; Zoning Board of Appeals members; other Citizen Planners and Planning Officials; Government Planning Staff and Elected Officials

Registration:

To register, visit: http://www.dca.ga.gov/development/PlanningQualityGrowth/programs/opqg.asp

$100 per person registration fee includes:

  • Continental breakfast Friday and Saturday mornings
  • Beverages and snack break Friday and Saturday

You may be eligible for a $100 scholarship from the GA Planning Memorial Foundation.  For scholarship information visit:

http://georgiaplanning.org/about-gpa/memorial-foundation

For more information please contact adriane.wood@dca.ga.gov

 

Eleven Agencies Selected for Annual Federal Transit Administration Funding

February 7, 2012

ARC Media Release

(ATLANTA – February 7, 2012) — The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) has awarded more than $3.3 million in federal funding to 11 recipients that operate transportation programs or transit routes that serve individuals who do not drive because of age, disability  or because they cannot afford a car.

The funding is part of the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Section 5316 Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) and Section 5317 New Freedom grant programs and is distributed annually. Government agencies, transportation providers and nonprofit organizations use the grants to fund capital expenses and operating costs that involve reverse commuting, travel vouchers and other programs that benefit low-income earners, disabled persons and/or older adults who use transit or other transportation alternatives for trips related to employment, healthcare, basic necessities and quality of life.

“Our regional transportation programs and transit routes provide a vital service to our residents, especially those who have no alternative means of travel,” said Kasim Reed, Mayor of Atlanta and Chairman of ARC’s Regional Transit Committee.  “This latest round of federal funding enables these recipients to provide vouchers, commuter opportunities and other programs so everyday tasks can become less expensive and less complicated.  I applaud ARC and the FTA for providing this critical funding and addressing the needs of so many people in the region.”

ARC and MARTA are the federally designated recipients of JARC and New Freedom funding in the Atlanta area. Because MARTA also applies for the competitive grants, ARC manages the selection of local recipients and the amounts received. Agencies in metro Atlanta received $1,790,075* in JARC funding and $1,525,832.50* in New Freedom funding.

The JARC recipients are:

  • Cobb County Department of Transportation:
    • JARC route number 30 – $600,000
    • Contact: Laraine Vance, (770) 528-1650
  • MARTA:
    • JARC route numbers 19, 84, 89, 111, 117, 124, 143 and 189 – $1,190,075
    • Contact: Cathy Gesick, (404) 848-5123

The New Freedom recipients are:

  • Cobb County:
    • Cobb County Disabled Persons Voucher Program – $527,850
    • Contact: Laraine Vance, (770) 528-1650
  • DeKalb County Human and Community Development Department
    • DeKalb Transportation Augmentation Provided for Elderly and Disabled (TAPED); Mobility Manager; Travel Training – $218,557
    • Contact: Karl Williams, (770) 322-2955
  • Fayette Senior Services:
    • Transportation Voucher Program for Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities – $113,842
    • Contact: Debbie Britt, (770) 461-0813
  • Gwinnett County Senior Services:
    • Project Get in GEER (Gwinnett Enabled Elderly Ridership) Mobility Management; Vouchers and Transportation Program for Older Adults with Disabilities or Low Income – $182,916
    • Contact: Pat Baker, (770) 822-8832
  • Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta
    • Transportation for the Georgia NORC Initiative; Transportation and Voucher Program for Disabled Older Adults – $85,217
    • Contact: Deborah Akstein Zisholtz, (404) 870-1624
  • Marcus Jewish Community Center:
    • Expanded Transportation Options and Voucher Program for Persons with Disabilities, Older Adults and Adult Daycare Participants – $146,249
    • Contact: Barbara Vahaba, (678) 812-4142
  • Senior Services North Fulton
    • Transportation Voucher Program for Older Adults with Disabilities – $41,985
    • Contact: Carrie Bellware, (770) 993-1906
  • Rockdale County Recreation and Senior Services
    • Expanded Transportation Options and Transportation Voucher Program for Persons with Disabilities, Older Adults and Adult Daycare Participants – $19,950
    • Contact: Jackie Lunsford, (770) 278-7268

*The amounts above reflect only the federal amount awarded and do not include the required local match or the overall project costs. Total amounts will be shown in the Atlanta region’s FY 2012-2017 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

For More Information Contact:

Jim Jaquish

(404) 463-3194

Cell: (404) 323-5634

jjaquish@atlantaregional.com

Registration Still Open for South Metro Development Outlook

February 6, 2012

As of this afternoon, registration is still open for the South Metro Development Outlook being held this Thursday, February 9 from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park.

Early registration ($40) closes tonight, and on-site registration will be available for $50.

Now in its tenth year, the conference provides a platform for an annual exchange of ideas among individuals with a common interest in fostering growth in south metropolitan Atlanta. This conference is the largest event of its kind in the South Metro region and has welcomed more than 5,500 attendees since its inception.

Visit the South Metro Development Outlook web site for registration and other information.


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