via Commissioner Rader...
Decatur, Ga. DeKalb Commissioners Kathie Gannon and Jeff Rader are pleased to announce that DeKalb County has been awarded a Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) planning grant by the Atlanta Regional Commission for the area surrounding Suburban Plaza. The planning study will bring together citizens, businesses and property owners to reach a consensus on future developments and public improvements in the area. The study area includes portions of Scott Boulevard and North Decatur Roads from Medlock to DeKalb Industrial Way, as well as Church Street.
The study area includes the campus of DeKalb Medical, Suburban Plaza, Patel Plaza and nearly 30 acres of vacant car lots. “This location is excellent and it is vastly underutilized,” said Gannon. “I believe this area can be successfully redeveloped for mixed-use developments that will bring new vibrancy and improve the quality of life for the surrounding residential areas.”
“This area developed as one of the regions first suburban commercial corridors in the early 1970’s,” said Rader. “The character of the area has changed and it is time to re-imagine and plan for the future development in this important gateway to Decatur and DeKalb.”
The study area is near several large employment centers and is served by MARTA and the Cliff shuttle buses that run to the Clifton Corridor. In addition the area could serve as a magnet for senior housing with its close proximity to DeKalb Medical, the VA Hospital, and Emory University Hospital. “We believe the area can be a solid location for housing,” said Gannon. “The challenge will be bringing employers and creating an environment that is more pedestrian oriented.”
“The redevelopment of Suburban Plaza proves there is a good demand for retail space,” said Rader. “The LCI planning process will ensure that the surrounding communities can have some input in how the area develops in the future.”
Gannon and Rader have been working on this project for more than two years and had filed for an LCI before Wal-Mart announced their intentions to locate in Suburban Plaza. The study will have little if any impact on Wal-Mart, but the redevelopment of Suburban Plaza will likely encourage additional retailers to be interested in the area. In addition there are numerous vacant car lots that need redevelopment. A number of local businesses pledged to support the LCI study: DeKalb County Hospital Authority, DeKalb Medical, Selig Enterprises, Patel Brothers and the City of Decatur.
The next step will be for DeKalb County to request proposals for consultants to conduct the study, which will review future land use and transportation opportunities. LCI studies often result in new zoning regulations and transportation improvements. The nationally recognized ARC program is intended to create developments that reduce the Atlanta region’s dependence upon automobiles. Studies usually require 9-12 months to complete.