February 24, 2003

Funds boost Emory Village renewal effort

By Eric Rangus erangus@emory.edu

The plan to transform Emory Village by building a roundabout and beautifying the surrounding area is moving from blueprint to reality. Helping the process along were two major funding coups that took place within just a few days of each other less than a month ago.

On Jan. 24, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) announced that Emory Village was eligible for funding under its Livable Centers Initiative Program. The program provides funds to projects geared toward mixed-use development, reduced commuting and alternative transportation.

Less than two weeks after that announcement, Feb. 5, DeKalb County commissioners earmarked $200,000 for the roundabout project, which, if permanently installed, would eliminate the stoplight at the complicated intersection of North Decatur Road, Oxford Road and Dowman Drive.

No money has changed hands yet, and the entire Emory Village revitalization project is still in its early stages, but the funding news is a significant step forward.

“This is a huge milestone for Emory Village,” said Davis Fox, chair of the Alliance to Improve Emory Village (AIEV), a nonprofit organization driving the effort. The alliance consists of Druid Hills residents, Emory officials and village business and property owners.

“Before we just had a plan,” he said. “Now we have a potential source of funds to implement the plan.”

“The implication is that we can see funds to implement the streetscape and transportation improvements stated in the revitalization plan,” said Michael Rich, associate professor of political science and AIEV communications chair.

The ARC money would fund improvements such as wider sidewalks in the village, benches, trees and new lighting, all part of the revitalization plan, which can be viewed on AIEV’s website (www.emoryvillage.org)

Before all of that, though, a few things have to happen, and that’s where there DeKalb County money comes in. One of the first steps is to create an “overlay district” for Emory Village, rezoning it. That district would run from the Bank of America to the bridge over Peavine Creek on N. Decatur Road, and from the Arlyn Worth Building to the Georgia Power station on Oxford Road.

Money for the zoning change would come out of county funds. A temporary roundabout, as well as the accompanying traffic study to measure its effects, would draw funding from the DeKalb money, too.

According to Jen Fabrick, director of campus planning and an AIEV board member, the earliest a temporary roundabout could be up and running is the end of this summer.

Once that happens, traffic along North Decatur also will be reduced to one lane in each direction with a center turn lane, and bike lanes added.

“This funding is a major step forward,” Fabrick said. “We’re working with the county and the community now to establish the most important needs.”






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