The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Opinion

October 27, 2013

Share vision for Athens

Do you have a vision for Athens?

If you do, city leaders want to hear about it.

Last March, City Planner Mac Martin conducted a survey and led workshops where residents commented on issues such as neighborhood growth, commercial development, city services and funding priorities.

With that information in hand, Martin created “A Vision for Athens: A Future Land Use and Development Plan.”

The plan was unveiled last Tuesday and Martin said it was well-received by the audience.  It is available at City Hall, the Athens Limestone Public Library and the city’s website www.athensal.us. There will be another public hearing at the Nov. 19 meeting of the Planning Commission.

“We worked with focus groups and the public at large,” Martin said. “We want as much public input as we can possibly get.”

The plan included data from surveys and enhanced images of what some neighborhoods, downtown and the city’s main streets, including Jefferson Street, could look like.

A popular image showed a wall with “Athens Alabama” and the city logo on it at Exit 351. He said that was an attention-getter and popular.

To note, it would not be a costly improvement for the city’s “front door.”

In the plan — Martin said residents said, if we should pattern Athens after any other cities, Madison and the Nashville suburb of Franklin could be models for us. They noted, also, Franklin’s balanced approach to the interstate and downtown development.

Also, the plan said many respondents felt that Athens is unique because of its charm, strong sense of pride, and proximity to amenities, and that there is no need to pattern itself after another city.

We do have a uniqueness but we also have to face up to challenges of the future, including growth, aging and economics.

This is your chance to let your voice be heard.

Share your vision. Help make it a reality.

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