Fresh Look at Downtown Athens

By Tina Romero

“Look At That! Fresh Approaches in Urban Redevelopment for Athens” is a one-day seminar offered by the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation. The event is set for 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 27, at Ciné, 234 W. Hancock Ave. in downtown Athens. Amy Kissane, executive director of the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation says, “this event is about celebrating what we have and inspiring commitment to a vision of downtown Athens that embraces all that makes Athens unique.”  The main topics discussed will be landscape architecture and transportation with a few exhibits in art and film. The broad-based community discussion will engage those interested in downtown Athens and what the future could hold.

According to their website, the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation’s goal is to be a proactive force in developing community-wide understanding of the value of historic buildings, neighborhoods, and heritage. The purpose of the all day event will support Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation’s goal by broadening audiences’ visions of what could be accomplished in Athens and will in turn inspire action.

“We want to provoke some deep and creative thinking about the future of our downtown. We’ll be showing and talking about examples of successful urban revitalization in other cities, in Georgia and across the world,” says Kissane.

Nina Butler of the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission and BikeAthens will talk on the many levels of transportation. “We are expecting a large turnout of people who are concerned and interested in alternative transportation options,” says Butler. “I was asked to participate in this event as a representative of BikeAthens. The main reason for my participation in this event is to promote transportation and land-use policies that improve alternative modes of transportation, including pedestrian, cycling, and public transit options. The mission of our organization is to make alternative transportation a practical, convenient, and safe option for all citizens of Athens-Clarke County.”

“As a lover of cities, I believe strongly in making informed decisions about development in general.  In my opinion, the provision for all modes of transportation – walking, cycling, transit, and automobile – helps communities thrive by connecting people to the places they need or want to go. It’s important to continually educate us as citizens about the kinds of transportation policies and projects that can enhance the way all of these residents and visitors experience our community. My plan is to focus my presentation on these issues,” says Butler.

Other issues that will be discussed by local academics and professionals are principles of vital, livable urban spaces, and examples of creative cities and public spaces.  Together, these important issues will encourage participants to focus on ways to reshape their communities and to think optimistically about the future for downtown Athens.

Registration for “Fresh Approaches” includes a $15 fee, which will include lunch and coffee breaks. For more information, call 706-353-1801 or visit Space is limited, and RSVPs are requested by March 23.

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