LOGANVILLE, Ga. — Loganville residents had the floor at Thursday’s town hall meeting in the Rock Gym regarding the revitalization of the downtown area.
The city’s elected officials and staff did not speak. They sat to the side, quietly listening as residents shared their vision of what Loganville could become in the future.
“This is your meeting,” town hall facilitator Shane Short said. “This is about you.” Short is the executive director for the Development Authority of Walton County.
“I’d like to see flags and flower boxes,” a transplanted Midwesterner said.
One man who is an avid cyclist said Loganville needs designated bike lanes, pedestrian friendly streets with sidewalks and a microbrewery downtown.
A resident and Realtor lamented what she sees as Loganville’s lack of “curb appeal” on its roadways. She wants to see tree lined medians and well lit streets.
Most residents who spoke during the town hall seemed to depict a collective desire for a quaint, walkable downtown with boutique shops and restaurants. They also asked for walking trails, pocket parks and a bigger playground.
“You want your own identity and your own character,” Short summarized.
Longtime Loganville resident and business owner Melanie Long read a statement about what she and others don’t want to see.
“In all the years I have lived here, not one single person I have spoken to is opposed to growth and redevelopment of Main Street if done properly,” Long said. “What citizens are opposed to, which was made crystal clear by the recent survey, is apartments, condos and townhouses being built downtown.”
Long referred to an online survey recently conducted by the Citizens Advisory Group. The survey was limited to Loganville residents and business owners covering a slate of questions to prompt ideas for redeveloping the city’s Main Street corridor.
According to the survey, 83% of respondents agree that 500 multifamily rental units are too many; 33% would support fewer than 300 multifamily apartments; and 50% would support fewer than 300 owner-occupied condominiums.
As for commercial development downtown, 78% were in favor and 61% were open to selling city-owned property to develop. However, 66% wanted development funded by personal enterprise and not by taxpayers.
Seventy-five percent said they would want to invest public funds in a partnership with business.
Fifty-four percent of survey respondents said they would allocate tax dollars to revitalize city hall, and 60% would support the sale of the city hall complex if the sale made a profit for the city.
Nearly all survey respondents, 96%, said traffic congestion was an issue in Loganville.
Short cautioned Town Hall attendees that the city is limited in some ways; they cannot infringe on individuals’ private property rights or control major road projects under the state’s purview.
However, city officials can partner with private developers on bringing in the types of commercial development its citizens want to have downtown.
“They’ve got to figure out how to bring those people to the table,” Short said.
Results from the Town Hall and the survey will help city leaders create guidelines before drafting a formal redevelopment plan, city officials said.