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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.