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Posted: May 1, 2009 12:01 a.m.

Design firm shows ideas to Social Circle residents

Submitted Photo/

 Urban Collage, the company hired by the city to help design a downtown revitalization effort, presented three redesign options to a room full of business owners, residents and members of the public on Tuesday evening, receiving feedback in favor of two of the designs.

 The redesign, which incorporated goals and suggestions collected from the previous meetings with the city and a steering committee made up of about 20 community members, mainly focused on what to do with Ga. Highway 11 after it loses its state road designation when the Department of Transportation builds a bypass. The aims were to enhance the shopping experience for visitors and residents and to provide space to hold events.

 All three options would increase the width of the sidewalks. Option A would create an equal amount of sidewalk space on either side of the road, but options B and C would create more space by using parallel parking on one side of the road — a feature that elicited doubts from several residents. They thought drivers might be discouraged by having to parallel park and might forgo shopping in Social Circle.

 "It really is a trade-off of having space versus parking at your front door," said Eric Bosman, an associate principal and certified planner with Urban Collage. The additional space allowed by having parallel parking spaces, or no parking spaces, on one side of the street would allow for more events to be held downtown.

 Another member of the public expressed that the redesign should be geared to residents more than visitors, and that events are held only occasionally downtown.

 Lakey Boyd, a certified planner with Market & Main, said that if the investment was made to create event space, programming for that space should be gradually increased to a weekly basis.

 At the end of the meeting, Option A was discarded, and planners agreed to revise Options B and C to incorporate some of the suggestions and objections raised. The next meeting was roughly planned to be held in four to six weeks, but the specific date is to be announced.

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