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Referendum next step in urban redevelopment
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Porterdale voters are being asked to give the city to go-ahead in the next step of its urban redevelopment plan.

A referendum on the Nov. 3 ballot asks voters to say “yes” or “no” to the state’s constitutional redevelopment powers law. Earlier, the Georgia General Assembly passed the legislation needed to give Porterdale the authority to revitalize the city.
Now, the voters’ have to vote to approve the legislation.

According to the city’s attorney, Timothy D. Chambers of Chambers, Chambers and Chambers, LLP, in Atlanta, “Voting yes provides the city the tools that are necessary and desirable to rehabilitate, conserve and redevelop areas of the city that need it.

“When you think about it, Porterdale was a mill town and like so many of the mill towns in the South it went through an economic depression when textile mills closed,” he said. “Before that it was a pretty vibrant community; it was a planned community.”

Chambers said the town was a community where people lived, shopped, went to church and played, or recreated. “All of that was in Porterdale — and the historic structures, the heritage is still in place. The thing that’s missing is the vibrancy of city life.

“The referendum allows the city the tools available under Georgia law to try to return vibrancy to the city,” he said.

Those tools include permitting the city to enter into contracts with private firms or corporations, use tax funds for redevelopment, create tax allocation districts, economic development, preserve and repurpose historic buildings, and make sure housing is habitable and safe.

The referendum is part of the 2012 Urban Redevelopment Plan created with the assistance of the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission. According to Chambers, the city has been redeveloping areas of the village that have had a negative impact on the community.