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Posted: September 11, 2009 12:30 a.m.

Final Social Circle redesign unveiled by Urban Collage

Image courtesy of Urban Collage/

A representative from the Urban Collage was present at the Social Circle City Council meeting on Tuesday night to present the final design plan for the proposed renovation project that would refurbish the classic downtown area.

The plan was implemented to enhance the look of the downtown area and, hopefully, to reinvigorate the sagging downtown economy by inviting in new businesses and drawing in more customers, particularly those from the Blue Willow Inn.

The plan, which would cost a projected $1.2 million, would narrow Cherokee Road where it passes through downtown and would expand the sidewalk to give benches, greenery and pedestrians more room. The well in the center of the road would be moved off to one side, and a slightly raised area would be placed in the center, which would both slow traffic and provide a community area for special events.

The sidewalks would also now gently slope into the level of the road, eliminating the step up that often inconvenienced the city’s elderly visitors. The sidewalks and crosswalks would also be made of a different material than asphalt on the road, likely a brick or stone pattern.

Finally, the east sidewalk would be slightly narrower than the west side, which would allow the wider side to serve as an area for community gatherings while keeping in the sunlight for as long as possible each day.

The bypass would have been completed by the time the redesign would be complete, which would allow for the raised areas to slow traffic and would allow the city to close down the street for special occasions if it desired.

"We want to keep a strong sense of place," Urban Collage representative Eric Bosman said. "We also want to improve connectivity between retail and the Blue Willow Inn, incorporate community area space and enhance the look and feel of the downtown area."

Several ideas for redesigns had been discussed at four steering meetings, held by a private committee of 21 citizens, including members of the downtown development authority and the city council. There had also been two work sessions that were open to the public. At the most recent of those two meetings, 98 percent of the people present had approved of the selected redesign.

The project was estimated to cost $1.2 million, which the council assured the citizens would not be paid for by tax dollars. Options for covering the cost include, but are not limited to, Transportation Enhancement (TE) Grants, bond fundings, the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), SPLOST, and Better Hometown/Main Street Grants.

Though most of the members present for the council meeting were present due to the vote on the proposed millage rate, many voiced their approvals, and a few concerns, about the project.

"I thought the overall reaction was very positive," Mayor James Burgess said. "Nobody seemed to have any major problems with it. It was actually good that it was rescheduled for tonight, because more people got to see it who normally wouldn’t have known about it."

He also stated he thought that Urban Collage had done a fantastic job with the project.

"They’ve been wonderful to work with," Burgess said. "This is the first step in a long progress, and we’re not going to use tax money to pay for it. We’re really looking forward to seeing how it looks."

also now gently slope into the level of the road, eliminating the step up that often inconvenienced the city’s elderly visitors. The sidewalks and crosswalks would also be made of a different material than asphalt on the road, likely a brick or stone pattern.

Finally, the east sidewalk would be slightly narrower than the west side, which would allow the wider side to serve as an area for community gatherings while keeping in the sunlight for as long as possible each day.

The bypass would have been completed by the time the redesign would be complete, which would allow for the raised areas to slow traffic and would allow the city to close down the street for special occasions if it desired.

"We want to keep a strong sense of place," Urban Collage representative Eric Bosman said. "We also want to improve connectivity between retail and the Blue Willow Inn, incorporate community area space and enhance the look and feel of the downtown area."

Several ideas for redesigns had been discussed at four steering meetings, held by a private committee of 21 citizens, including members of the downtown development authority and the city council. There had also been two work sessions that were open to the public. At the most recent of those two meetings, 98 percent of the people present had approved of the selected redesign.

The project was estimated to cost $1.2 million, which the council assured the citizens would not be paid for by tax dollars. Options for covering the cost include, but are not limited to, Transportation Enhancement Grants, bond fundings, the Transportation Improvement Program, SPLOST and Better Hometown/Main Street Grants.

Though most of the members present for the council meeting were present due to the vote on the proposed millage rate, many voiced their approvals, and a few concerns, about the project.

"I thought the overall reaction was very positive," Mayor James Burgess said. "Nobody seemed to have any major problems with it. It was actually good that it was rescheduled for tonight, because more people got to see it who normally wouldn’t have known about it."

He also stated he thought that Urban Collage had done a fantastic job with the project.

"They’ve been wonderful to work with," Burgess said. "This is the first step in a long progress, and we’re not going to use tax money to pay for it. We’re really looking forward to seeing how it looks."

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