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Building Our Future. Honoring Our Past.

Auburn LCI Study creates opportunities for Downtown

The Downtown Auburn plan will be constructed with a combination of funding sources and planning processes. The Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) is a key component of the funding and planning strategy.

Mayor Linda Blechinger, Councilmember Jay Riemenschneider, City Administrator Alex Mitchem, Community Development Director Jay Miller, Chitra Subbarayan, Dave Schmit, TSW team and representatives from Atlanta Regional Commission discuss the LCI plan and schedule.

Auburn has been awarded a $96,000 LCI Grant by the Atlanta Regional Commission. The LCI program helps cities with planning, and produces a document that allows them to qualify for federal transportation funds. Since 2000, the program has helped 120 communities qualify for $314 million for transportation projects resulting from LCI studies.

On December 2, 2019, city officials and other members of the Downtown Auburn team gathered to put together the LCI Study agenda and schedule. TSW, who also conducted the Downtown Auburn planning charrette, will be leading the LCI Study process.

An Advisory Group of residents will be chosen, and will meet several times in the coming months, to bring a variety of perspectives to the plan.

"The LCI Study gives us a chance to line up for some funding, said Mayor Linda Blechinger, "but we also want to use this opportunity to gain further, more specific input from the public."

Civil Engineer Steve Rowe, Dave Schmit, Community Development Director Jay Miller, City Administrator Alex Mitchem and Mayor Linda Blechinger talk about character areas in Downtown.

There will be opportunities for the public to weigh in on various plan elements, and then to review the draft document. Ultimately, the final plan will be presented to Mayor and Council in another public meeting.

One area of particular focus will be the existing City Hall, Police Department and Council Chambers properties. "We have worked hard to address concerns that our Historic Downtown stays a priority," said the Mayor, "we want to make sure this area will grow, adding residents and businesses with a healthy mix."

Dave Schmit, Auburn's master development partner, concurred. "We envision several main character areas for Downtown. The new City Hall area will be more of a quieter core, with the school and park spaces. While in the 4th Avenue area, we'll see more energy and vibrancy. This is where the action is. Since the city owns several of the central buildings in this area, we can use those to incubate the uses we would like to see, with market research testing along the way to make sure they are sustainable long term. Then there will be a transition zone around 4th and 6th Avenues, and outside the Perry-Rainey Center, to activate investment along that corridor. Perhaps a boulevard-style streetscape to transition between the vibrant and the residential."

Details of public events and project milestones will be published by the city throughout the LCI Study process, which is expected to be completed in November, 2020.