Palmetto residents get a look at the future

Thu, 08/28/2008 - 3:22pm
By: Ben Nelms

Palmetto residents get a look at the future

It was a meeting designed to have residents give their input on what the city of Palmetto will look like in the future. The Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) kick-off meeting Aug. 21 at Palmetto Community Center saw a room packed with residents wanting to meet their future head-on.

The meeting was the first of four that will be held in coming months as part of the process that will provide LCI facilitators Urban Collage and others with citizen preferences on the look they would like to see two decades into the future. The LCI study area includes approximately 35 percent of the current city limits, with U.S. Highway 29 essentially at the center of the study map.

“We’ve been talking about LCI for over a year. Now it’s time to start. Urban Collage wants to here from you,” said Mayor John Miller.

It was Miller early during his term as councilman in 2006 that first suggested the city apply for an LCI grant. His suggestion was not taken at the time. Today, the city has received $70,000 to pay for the large majority the LCI studies that will help Palmetto plan for growth over the next 20 years. The city is positioned in south Fulton and Coweta counties. Palmetto last year annexed further into Coweta County and now includes the area extending to the north side of I-85.

Atlanta-based Urban Collage representatives John Skach and Mat Cherry conducted the majority of the meeting. Noting the population expansion in southwest metro Atlanta and in Palmetto specifically, Cherry said the city had grown by 38 percent during 2000-2007, with projected growth of another 16 percent between 2008-2013.

“LCI gets the city in the pipeline for improvement,” Skach said. “We’re here to listen to you and to the issues facing you now and in the future. We want to know how you want go grow and we want to hear what makes Palmetto special.”

Facilitators discussed three overall goals to be developed during the process. Goal 1 takes up the issues of job growth, retail businesses, mixed-use housing and needed services in the community. Goal 2 will determine the widest range of transportation and mobility variables desired by the community and Goal 3 is designed to empower the community to effectively plan for its future.

“What do you want to see with the growth that’s coming?” Cherry asked, noting that 41 percent of land in the study area consists of single-family homes and adding that 20 percent of the land is vacant.

Cherry at the meeting also conducted a visual perference survey, getting input from residents of the types of commercial and residential spaces, transportation modes, parks and open space and signage they would like to see in the future.

Cherry said upcoming the project components will include an inventory and assessment of property uses within the study area, community input sessions to generate design ideas and an action plan based on community input.

The next LCI meeting will be held Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. at Palmetto Community Center.

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