By: Julie Calhoun
Better parking and more open space in Athens is all apart of the plan. Those with the downtown master plan and the Athens development authority are working to find out what ideas residents have to develop downtown. They promise to bring back a clear comprehensive plan by the end of the month. The downtown master plan is a year long exercise that begins asking Athenians what changes they want downtown and then produce a plan. Head of the Downtown Master Plan Jack Crowley says, “We’re better off determining what we want and what we have to do to get there then us to write up a bunch of rules of what we don’t want.” What people do want is better parking and more friendly green open space to walk a dog, recreate in the middle of town, or simply just get away from traffic. This vision will come to life with the Jackson St. quarter. Jack Crowley already rates Athens at a 7 or 8 but hopes for a 9. He says, “The master plan really is to say let’s push it up to 8 or 9 or 9 and half.” The master plan team is going through every route to get input and make sure everyone has a chance to express themselves. Workers for Athens downtown development are using ipads to conduct surveys. Some of the questions ask how often you go downtown, how much money you spend downtown, and to rate parking and the variety of stores. They are taking these surveys with the goal of attracting new stores to downtown. They also are holding focus groups to find out what are some of the demands for downtown. Intern for the Athens downtown development authority says what he wants to see downtown, “There’s no red boxes downtown it would be a great thing after dinner sometime on a date just go to the redbox and grab it.” A focus group will be held next sunday at Transmetropolitian and if you attend you will be entered to win a 25 dollar gift certificate. If you want your opinion to be heard you can find a survey on the Downtown Athens Marketing Analytics facebook page.