Archive for October, 2012

ALMA Application Deadline Extended to Friday 10/19

October 17, 2012

As mentioned in a recent post, ARC is currently accepting applications for the Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta (ALMA) Class of 2013.

The deadline for applications has been extended to the end of the week — 4:00 p.m. this Friday, October 19.

For more information and to apply, please visit–leadership-development/alma

Six Recognized as Developments of Excellence

October 17, 2012

Atlanta Regional Commission, Livable Communities Coalition Bestow Honor for 14th Year

The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and the Livable Communities Coalition (LCC) recognized five of the region’s most innovative developments and one “Great Place” with the 2012 Developments of Excellence Awards. The winners, announced at ARC’s annual State of the Region Breakfast on Friday, October 12, were:

  • Historic Fourth Ward Park, Development of Excellence
  • Downtown Decatur, Great Place
  • Norcross Town Center, Livable Centers Initiative Achievement Award
  • College Park Gateway Center, Exceptional Merit for Public-Private Partnership
  • Ivy Hall Cultural Arts & Writing Center, Exceptional Merit for Historic Preservation
  • Emory Point, Exceptional Merit for Infill Development

The Developments of Excellence awards, presented annually by ARC and LCC, recognize developments in the 10-county Atlanta region that exemplify cutting-edge, livable designs helping to create a positive framework for future development. The Great Place is given to a place in metro Atlanta that represents livability and sustainability, but is not necessarily a single, private development.

“We are proud to recognize developers, local governments and non-profit organizations that change the way people and businesses in the Atlanta region interact,” said ARC Chairman Tad Leithead. “These projects and their success show us that metro Atlantans want to create a better region for themselves and for the residents of the future.”

Photos of winners accepting their awards, as well as the video presentations shown for each award, are available on ARC’s State of the Region Breakfast webpage.

2012 Development of Excellence

Historic Fourth Ward Park

Historic Fourth Ward Park’s natural beauty and appealing public spaces belie the fact that it is a large, complex civil engineering and infrastructure project. Built on 17 neglected acres of mostly contaminated soil and invasive plants, the park’s centerpiece is a stormwater retention pond that reduces neighborhood flooding, relieves local sewer systems and features a fountain through which stormwater enters the pond. The park boasts a skate park designed by the local skating community and an amphitheater for formal performances or informal gatherings. The park also preserves and maintains the environmental quality of the surrounding community and is located on the Atlanta BeltLine trail system, adjacent to a variety of housing types–including significant new multi-family residential development–as well as the Ponce City Market redevelopment project. This award was presented to a diverse partnership that included the City of Atlanta Departments of Watershed Management and Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs; Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. and the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership; the Trust for Public Land; and the Historic Fourth Ward Park Conservancy.

Great Place

Downtown Decatur

Besides committed leaders, engaged businesses and active residents, all great places have one thing in common: a long-term commitment to a vision for what they want to be. The City of Decatur made that commitment in the 1980s, and has been creating and perfecting its vision ever since. From a historic courthouse renovated into a meeting space and reception hall, to a mix of shopping, recreation, entertainment, dining and services, Decatur offers something for everyone. And it presents these offerings in a walkable, transit-connected downtown. Residents can walk and bike just about anywhere they want to go to enjoy Decatur’s quality schools, active night life and variety of housing options for the city’s young and old alike.

Livable Centers Initiative Achievement Award

Norcross Town Center

Few communities have done more with their Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) funds than the City of Norcross has since receiving its first LCI grant in 2001, with a vision of transforming its underutilized downtown into a walkable, livable community. One of the city’s first steps was to appoint a citizens’ Architectural Review Board and a Design Concept District to encourage design consistency and develop a unified plan for downtown. In recent years, the city converted an old church into a Cultural Arts and Community Center and turned a worn baseball field into a public space–Lillian Webb Park–for concerts, events and public gatherings. Currently, sidewalks and bike facilities around downtown Norcross are being improved as well.

Exceptional Merit for Public-Private Partnership

College Park Gateway Center

With its origins as a railroad hub, transportation and logistics have always flowed through metro Atlanta’s veins. It’s fitting that the City of College Park and its Business & Industrial Development Authority, Grove Street Partners and the City of Atlanta Department of Aviation created an innovative stop along the ATL SkyTrain, which delivers travelers from the airport to its new rental car facilities. Gateway Center opens growth opportunities for the surrounding hospitality industry by providing new meeting, dining and lodging options. The infill development provides multi-modal connections for local businesses and residents with minimal impacts to the environment and leverages one of the Atlanta region’s most valuable economic resources, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, to create future economic opportunities.

Exceptional Merit for Historic Preservation

Ivy Hall Cultural Arts and Writing Center

Ivy Hall was constructed in 1883 by the grandson of one of Atlanta’s founding fathers. Vacated in 1970, the house was converted into a restaurant, but then abandoned again. In 2005, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) bought the property and completely restored the 4,300 square-foot mansion, including all interior and exterior detailing. Open to SCAD students and the public since 2008, Ivy Hall hosts a variety of events. It also serves as a gracious guest house for visiting scholars, classroom space for SCAD’s writing degree programs, a resource and event space for the community, and as a monument to Atlanta’s past as well as the importance of preserving the region’s history.

Exceptional Merit for Infill Development

Emory Point

Emory Point is the first new retail project built in the Emory University area in the last 20 years and is also the first partnership between Atlanta-based companies Cousins Properties and Gables Residential. Located on Clifton Road adjacent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a stone’s throw from Emory University, phase one of Emory Point features 443 EarthCraft-certified luxury apartments. The development will feature 80,000 square feet of retail and dining space, most of which is scheduled to open this year. Emory Point also includes a one-acre park, 25 acres of protected woodlands, a rainwater capture system, drought-resistant landscaping and electric vehicle charging stations, all accessible to nearby employers by foot, bike, car and transit.

Fox Theatre Institute Helps Fuel Economic and Cultural Development in Georgia

October 16, 2012

From a recent Fox Theatre Institute (FTI) press release:

October 10, 2012 (ATLANTA GA) – Today, the Fox Theatre Institute (FTI), an Atlanta-based outreach program created by the Fox Theatre, announced its 2012-2013 restoration projects. The Institute will provide grants to three theatres in Georgia in an effort to help preserve historic buildings, revitalize arts programs, and strengthen local economies. In addition, FTI is launching The Georgia Historic Preservation Handbook, a collaborative effort between the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation and The Historic Preservation Division (HPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to provide a current, comprehensive resource to promote the understanding and practice of historic preservation in Georgia.

According to Molly Fortune, Director of Restoration at the Fox Theatre, “We believe that helping struggling theatres open their doors will help revitalize a once-vibrant location in their cities. We see the long-term effects of thriving theatres as that catalyst for economic growth in their downtowns, which we hope will bring longevity to their cities, the state and the jobs these cities hold. The Fox was a struggling theatre at one time, but we survived and now have the knowledge to help other theatres become successful.”

The three new restoration projects include:

The Mars Theatre, Springfield, GA – The grant from FTI will help this theatre continue a multi-phase plan that includes rehabilitating the interior lobby and adding restrooms. The Mars has recently worked with a team of SCAD students to construct a 3-D model of the building and prepare documentation that will allow it to be nominated for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Knox Theatre, Warrenton, GA – Bruce Green, Director of Tourism Product Development, has invested in improving Warrenton’s downtown district through the non-profit organization, “Hometown Warrenton,” and has conducted an economic feasibility study on the city using the restoration of the Knox as the catalyst for growth. Funding from FTI will be used for structural and electrical improvements that will enable the Knox to move forward with future renovations.

The Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, Toccoa, GAFTI grant funding will allowthe City of Toccoa to commission an historic preservation plan which will provide a long-range vision for their theater restoration.

In addition to the preservation projects, FTI will also introduce The Georgia Historic Preservation Handbook, which will be available to anyone—from the average citizen to the advanced professional—who is looking to educate themselves on historic preservation. We identified a need for statewide education and aid in the area of preservation,” says Carmie McDonald, Program Manager for Fox Theatre Institute. “The goal of the handbook is to educate residents about historic preservation, the people that make it happen, and how anyone can join this vital movement.” The handbook is available at

About FTI

The Fox Theatre Institute (FTI) is a dynamic outreach program offering historic preservation expertise, consultation and education to performing arts venues in Georgia and the region. Created by Atlanta’s “Fabulous Fox” Theatre, an iconic attraction widely applauded for being a catalyst for positive change in the community, FTI pays it forward, helping other cultural institutions renew, reinvigorate and restore artistic vitality in their backyards and beyond. Keeping environmental and economic impact top of mind, FTI offers the financial assistance, restoration support and operations mentoring needed to leverage scarce resources and stimulate local economies. Not only that, but it keeps the artistic pulse of beloved communities beating for decades to come.

About the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation

Founded in 1973, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation is one of the country’s largest statewide, nonprofit preservation organizations. The Trust is committed to preserving and enhancing Georgia’s communities and their diverse historic resources for the education and enjoyment of all. The Trust generates community revitalization by finding buyers for endangered properties acquired by its Revolving Fund and raises awareness of other endangered historic resources through an annual listing of Georgia’s “Places in Peril.” The Trust helps revitalize downtowns by providing design and technical assistance in 102 Georgia Main Street cities; trains Georgia’s teachers in 63 Georgia school systems to engage students in discovering state and national history through their local historic resources; and advocates for funding, tax incentives and other laws aiding preservation efforts. To learn more, visit

About the Historic Preservation Division (HPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources

The Historic Preservation Division (HPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources serves as Georgia’s state historic preservation office. Its mission is to promote the preservation and use of historic places for a better Georgia. HPD’s programs include archaeology protection and education, environmental review, grants, historic resource surveys, tax incentives, the National Register of Historic Places, community planning and technical assistance. The mission of the Department of Natural Resources is to sustain, enhance, protect and conserve Georgia’s natural, historic and cultural resources for present and future generations, while recognizing the importance of promoting the development of commerce and industry that utilizes sound environmental practices.

Park Pride Accepting 2013 Conference Presentations Until 10/31/2012

October 16, 2012

Updates from Park Pride:

March 25, 2013: 12th Annual Parks & Greenspace Conference

Park Pride’s Parks & Greenspace Conference is an annual gathering of 350 park supporters, community leaders, greenspace advocates, business leaders, landscape architects, arborists, nonprofit groups, developers, planners, urban designers, elected officials and policy makers from the southeast. These participants gather to share innovative ideas and initiatives to inspire communities to utilize and improve their community parks, gardens and greenspaces.

Now in its 12th year and thanks to many generous sponsors, Park Pride’s Parks & Greenspace Conference promises to offer a unique educational experience through presentations and tours that explore how parks are essential to a community’s physical, mental, emotional and economic health. Building on previous conferences, this year’s theme – “Activating Parks for Healthy Communities” – is certain to inspire healthier lifestyles by highlighting: Healthy Benefits of Play, Health through Community Engagement in Parks, Health and the Natural Environment, Parks are Good Medicine and Health through Park Design.

Call for Presentations due October 31

Park Pride is looking for presenters for its 2013 conference. Download the Call for Presentations and be a part of one of the best parks and greenspace conferences in the southeast!

GDOT Adopts Complete Streets Policy

October 16, 2012

In September, the State Transportation Board adopted by resolution a Complete Streets Policy supporting the planning, design, and construction of streets and roadways in Georgia that integrate and balance accessibility for all modes of transportation.

The Policy establishes standard warrants, requiring that accommodations for pedestrian, bicycle, and transit modes of transportation be provided under specific compelling conditions along transportation projects with GDOT oversight (wherever it is practical to do so). The Policy, including planning and design application, is defined in Chapter 9 of the GDOT Design Policy Manual. A decision to omit an accommodation that meets a standard warrant will require the approval of a Design Variance from the GDOT Chief Engineer. The Design Variance will require analysis comparing the impacts and cost of providing the required accommodation to the need or probable use.

Accordingly, effective September 20, 2012, projects in the planning, concept development, or preliminary plan phases should be evaluated to comply with the Complete Streets Policy. The GDOT standard Concept Report template (noting pedestrian, bicycle, and transit considerations) is available at Effective October 1, 2013, projects advancing to Final Design or the approval of Right-Of-Way Plans must comply with the Complete Streets Policy.

Applications Open for Free Technical Support from Livability Solutions

October 16, 2012

Further to an earlier post regarding deadlines for US EPA’s Building Blocks Program, below is additional information on the TOD-related technical assistance available under a grant to the Project for Public Spaces:

Livability Solutions, a partnership that includes Reconnecting America, is now accepting applications for free technical assistance. Applications for the second year of the program are due by Friday, November 2.

The Livability Solutions partnership is supported by a grant to the Project for Public Spaces from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities under their Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program. The Building Blocks program funds quick, targeted assistance to communities that face common development problems.

Livability Solutions will be offering workshops to 6 to 12 communities around the country, enabling local governments and communities to implement changes that will move them along the road toward smart growth and sustainability. This technical assistance will take the form of one- to two-day workshops, led by one or more of our experienced coalition members, focused on one or more of our unique suite of livability tools.

The tools Reconnecting America will bring to the workshops include:

National Transit-Oriented Development Database provides users free web-based access to data on every existing and proposed fixed-guideway transit station area in the U.S. (as of December 2010).  Users can create database reports to conduct peer transit agency research in other regions to benchmark performance. Reports can be used for systems analysis, to evaluate development location alternatives, or to consider policy options.

Transit-Oriented District Implementation Decision-Making Tool  helps guide cities, transit agencies, and MPOs in prioritizing different neighborhoods for pedestrian, bicycle, development, and affordable housing investments. The data-driven tool takes the politics out of these decisions by measuring the ability of different neighborhoods to benefit from these investments. The tool looks at urban form, market strength, and demographic conditions to help make these decisions. Based on neighborhood characteristics, the tool makes recommendations about policies and strategies that are grounded in real life best practices.

The Mixed-Income/Equitable TOD Action Guide is an online tool for local jurisdictions working to foster mixed-income transit-oriented development (MITOD) around planned transit stations. The guide helps practitioners identify the most appropriate and effective planning tools for achieving MITOD in their station area, and to facilitate the development of mixed-income communities across the system. The training will evaluate the affordable housing and community development strategies to leverage the revitalizing potential of transportation investments, without displacing low-income workers.

Workshops are intended to provide communities with strategies to enhance livability, to create lasting economic and environmental improvements, and to effect positive change for their residents. Focus will be on helping communities reach a tipping point or overcome a significant hurdle to reaching a particular livability or sustainability goal. Coalition members will work with selected communities to identify the tool or palette of tools that will best help them achieve their livability and sustainability goals, building off of each community’s unique character, culture, creativity, and effort. A short report will be prepared for each community following the technical assistance, and communities receiving technical assistance will be asked to follow up one month and nine months after receiving technical assistance to report on their progress toward objectives set during the assistance.

This technical assistance is designed to serve local and/or tribal governments. Any local, regional, state, or tribal government, or agency or subdivision thereof, or community-based organization working in close conjunction with any such division of government may apply.

The intent of this technical assistance is to work directly with local and/or tribal governments to increase their capacity to successfully implement smart growth and sustainable communities approaches that protect the environment, improve public health, facilitate job creation and economic opportunity, and improve overall quality of life. If the primary applicant is not a local government, then the applicant must indicate, through a signed letter from a local elected official or head of a local government agency, that the local government is committed to efforts described in the application and will be substantively involved in the technical assistance.

Application Deadlines Approaching for US EPA’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Programs

October 16, 2012

From a recent US EPA e-blast:

As announced on September 21, EPA and four grantees (Smart Growth America, Project for Public Spaces, Global Green and Forterra) are offering free technical assistance to communities through the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program. Deadlines are approaching for applications to EPA and three of the grantees:

  • Smart Growth America: October 25
  • EPA: October 26
  • Project for Public Spaces: November 2
  • Global Green: November 2

NEW: EPA has posted a spreadsheet listing all the tools available from EPA and the four grantees by topic area. To view this information, click on the link to the Excel spreadsheet in the Background section immediately below the table on the above-mentioned website.

Reminder: Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta (ALMA) Applications Due Tomorrow, 10/17

October 16, 2012

In May of 2012, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) Board of Directors voted to integrate arts and culture planning into the commission’s planning portfolio. Recognizing the pressing issues facing the creative industries, ARC is committed to supporting this vital industry in our region.

As the challenges facing the arts and cultural industry mount, there is a need to continue to develop leaders that share a sense of responsibility for supporting arts and culture. Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta (ALMA) was created by the Metro Atlanta Arts and Culture Coalition (MAACC) in 2004 to encourage leaders throughout the community to take an active role in solving the issues and challenges facing the region’s arts & culture community.

This five-month ALMA program is now managed by ARC and will continue to:

  • provide arts leaders with insights from corporate and foundational leaders as to why the arts are important to them, why they fund the arts and how to plan for success when seeking corporate funding
  • provide both arts and corporate leaders with the tools and knowledge to become informed and powerful advocates for the arts in Atlanta and Georgia
  • facilitate open, frank and high level topical & policy discussions within the class on problems & solutions to address key arts issues facing the region resulting in greater understanding and knowledge about the cultural community

During the course of five one-day classes, participants visit arts and cultural venues across metro Atlanta, meet with key arts leaders and elected officials from our region, and hear from experts on the issues facing the industry.

Applications are solicited region-wide. Interested individuals may apply directly. Also, Board members, business leaders, arts leaders, government officials and ALMA alumni may nominate individuals for participation in the program.

The deadline for application is Wednesday, October 17 at 4:00 p.m.

For more information and to fill out the brief online application, visit–leadership-development/alma

For additional information, please contact Gregory Burbidge at 404-463-3217 or

Learn About Bicycle Commuting at Cycle Atlanta Expo on Oct. 12

October 9, 2012

As mentioned in a new Transportation Spotlight blog post, the City of Atlanta is hosting the Cycle Atlanta Expo 2012 this Friday, October 12 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. in the atrium at Atlanta City Hall. The public is invited to attend and learn more about the services, agencies and future projects to improve bicycle commuting facilities found in the City of Atlanta’s Connect Atlanta Comprehensive Transportation Plan. The Expo is free of charge.


BeltLine Eastside Trail to be Dedicated on Oct. 15 at 10am

October 4, 2012

This just in: the BeltLine Eastside Trail will be dedicated in an official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, October 15 at 10:00 a.m.

The event will take place near the Historic Fourth Ward skatepark at 830 Willoughby Way, Atlanta, GA 30312 (exact location still TBD).

Check out for updates and further information!

%d bloggers like this: