West Broad Initiative

The Clarke County School District (CCSD), the Athens Housing Authority (AHA), and the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County (ACCGov) are working together regarding the opportunity and potential to strengthen the Brooklyn/Rocksprings Neighborhood area:

  • In February 2013, the UGA Center for Community Design and Preservation, in partnership with the Athens Land Trust, began a renewed effort to understand area needs and resident desires for the future, publishing the report:  A Participatory Community Improvement Planning Process for the Brooklyn/Rocksprings Neighborhood;
  • CCSD made the decision to relocate the District offices from Mitchell Bridge Road to the old West Broad School and H.T. Edwards campus;
  • The AHA has enjoyed initial success with the Columbia-Brookside redevelopment of the Jack R. Wells/Pauldoe neighborhood, and is considering a similar project elsewhere in the community.  Broadacres and Rocksprings Homes are two potential redevelopment sites;
  • CCSD, AHA, and ACCGov staff has recognized that the three entities have a unique concentration of assets proximate to a historically underserved neighborhood; and  
  • With some facilitation from Purpose Built Communities, staff has discussed ideas anchored in a collective cooperation of housing, educational, and wellness efforts in the area, with an aim of strengthening the neighborhood.

A high-level feasibility study will include:

  • an analysis of the three entities’ assets in the area and potential future use;
  • the consideration of the potential development of an AHA high quality, mixed income community replacing the existing public housing project; and
  • one or more redevelopment scenarios, ease of implementation and financial feasibility.

In late 2015, a session with area stakeholders was held to apprise them of the process, cautioning against the creation of unsustainable expectations.

An evaluation team is comprised of the following representatives:

  • Community:  Harriet Jackson 
  • Housing Authority: 
  • Community:  Judy Billups
  • Unified Government:  Blaine Williams
  • Public Housing:
  • Clarke County School District:  Ted Gilbert
  • Faith Based:  Reverend Lett
  • Athens Land Trust:  Heather Benham
  • Heritage Committee:  Elizabeth Platt

If the study determines that synergistic and positive redevelopment is physically and financially feasible, then a broader master plan effort should be undertaken to include other properties in the area, and of course include greater community and stakeholder input. If the study does not determine a redevelopment scenario is feasible, no further study will be required, and existing development will continue as planned.