If a proposal from the University Senate's Emory Village Committee is ultimately adopted, Emory could play a decidedly more active role in determining the future of the small restaurant and shopping district adjacent to campus.
At the Senate's first meeting of the academic year Sept. 3, English professor John Bugge, chair of the Emory Village Committee, presented that group's findings and recommendations. The committee was formed in late 1994 after several Senate members expressed concern that the character of Emory Village was not up to par for a University of Emory's caliber. The committee was charged with investigating the possibility of the University's taking a more significant role in the redevelopment of Emory Village.
Bugge cited as the most prominent difficulties with Emory Village unimpeded and rapid vehicular traffic on North Decatur Road and a lack of businesses that are appropriate for a college setting. "Students are not particularly enticed to go to Emory Village," he said.
The committee's findings include:
* Emory Village is controlled by a small group of property owners with little if any interest in selling to Emory or in pursuing initiatives such as altering traffic patterns or sharing private parking spaces;
* Too many cars are coming to Emory Village, which has too few parking spaces to accommodate them;
* The intersection at North Decatur and Oxford roads is in urgent need of improvements, including better traffic lights and safer pedestrian access; and
* There is a need for a commitment from Emory to become a major Village property owner in order to have a stronger voice in determining the area's future.
The committee also made three recommendations:
1) That an Emory Village Committee of the Board of Trustees be formed, composed of trustees and several administrators, with the charge of carrying out the two following recommendations;
2) That the University put in place a standing policy of land purchase in Emory Village whenever and wherever possible, in the interest of acquiring, over the long term, sufficient leverage to influence or control redevelopment, and to allow (if deemed necessary and desirable) for the physical expansion of the campus through placement of University-related facilities in the Village; and
3) That the University begin immediately to negotiate cooperative agreements with present owners and lessees in Emory Village and, with appropriate agencies of DeKalb County, to accomplish wherever possible certain salient objectives connected with the ongoing redevelopment of Emory Village, specifically visual enhancement, vehicular traffic control, ease and safety of pedestrian access, addition of green space, shared parking and enrichment of the mix of businesses available.
Following Bugge's presentation, Senate President Luke Johnson tabled discussion of the Emory Village proposal until the Senate's Oct. 22 meeting because of time constraints at the September meeting.