Street repaving and streetscape improvements will be among the last sales tax-funded projects under the current round of SPLOST collections (a new list of projects goes before voters in November).
Eleven downtown streets are under consideration, along with (if enough money is available) Baxter, Milledge, Prince, Oconee and Lexington.
The money will go to repaving downtown and other streets that need repaving the worst, under guidelines drawn up by county staffers, with streetscape improvements added. Streets where commercial "redevelopment" is especially desired will also get priority. Any plans for Atlanta Highway will have to wait; Commissioner Kelly Girtz says he'd like to see a planted center median along that road, and designated lanes for buses. Federal "smart growth" grants are available, Girtz says; he suggests Athens needs a staff person who would apply for such grants.
In May commissioners will review new planning department studies of Prince Avenue and Oconee Street that are intended to guide future developments there. The studies will inventory existing conditions along both streets and make long-term recommendations for sidewalks, minor zoning changes, or "overlay districts" with special requirements.
Also in Flagpole, some creative suggestions for cheap, grassroots transportation choices.