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UGA students weigh in on Porterdales design concepts
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Porterdale officials said they enjoyed having a new perspective on how to design and develop the city in the future, after they attended a three-day design session over the weekend with students and faculty from the University of Georgia's College of Environment and Design.

UGA's College of Environment and Design partnered with Porterdale for a three-day charrette, or public design session, that focused on downtown improvements. The group discussed conceptual designs and ideas for integrating streetscapes, parks and the historic gymnasium.

The event started on Friday Nov. 9 with a public input session; on Saturday a public drop in for feedback and small group presentations were held; and on Sunday final presentations from the charrette were given and a question and answer session with the public and stakeholder groups was held.

City manager Bob Thomson said the charrette was good and he was glad the group came to Porterdale.

"Overall the process was great it's good to have bright young students with a fresh eye taking a look at your place," Thomson said.

Mayor Arline Chapman also said the three-day public sessions were very successful. She said she it was really interesting to get a young perspective on how to better design the city.
"We have so many things in the works and to have new, young eyes look at all the things going on and give us their impression of how they think it may be successfully produced - I was really excited about the work that they did," Chapman said. "I think they enjoyed Porterdale."

Chapman said the students were really excited and energized during the events and said they offered several scenarios on how they could design the city.

"They had some very good ideas about just some minor adjustments to the streets that go down through the city, which are the side streets that feed into Ga. Highway 81. It was three days of hard work and a lot of information to assimilate."

Thomson said the next step in the process is to getting a final product together which will be put into one presentation.

"What happens now is that they take the information and the conceptual designs and they are going to create some power points and some alternatives for the areas that we're interested in getting redeveloped," Thomson said.

The city expects to receive a packet of all of the information from the charrette by Dec. 21. Mayor Chapman said she is looking forward to receiving that information, and she would love to hold another public session to discuss all of the ideas presented during the event.

"I think that when we get all of this information I'd like to have like a Saturday afternoon or a Saturday morning where everybody can come in and see the final product so that folks who missed it the first time around will get to see what some of these ideas were."