DeKalb County Parking Deck Will No Longer Be Free in Evenings or on Weekends

dekalb county parking deck

Parking in downtown Decatur is about to get a whole lot tougher for those not willing to open their wallets.

A DeKalb County employee reported in FFAF – and the city has confirmed – that the DeKalb County parking deck at the corner of Trinity Place and Commerce Drive, once free in the evening after 6p and on weekends, will soon be charging for parking.  According to the employee, the county has “hired a vendor to manage parking in the courthouse deck and also for the lot behind the Maloof building.”

They went on to say that they are “Not sure what the price will be, but parking will no longer be free after 5:00 p.m. and on weekends.”

Street parking in Decatur is still free after 6p Monday thru Saturday and all day on Sunday.  But without the release valve of the free DeKalb County deck, one would assume those street spots will be even tougher to snag in the future.

And in case you now have a sudden urge to study up on available parking around Decatur, here’s a helpful map that’s posted on the City’s website

parking map

Downtown Decatur Named Top 10 Neighborhood in US by American Planning Association

For the past 24 hours or so, different city publications/newsletters have been teasing news of Decatur being “honored with an important national designation” today.  Well, here it is! The American Planning Association has named Decatur as one of its Top 10 Neighborhoods of the Year.

Head up to Decatur Square on Saturday at 11:45 a.m. for the big public announcement of this award.  There will be a champagne & sparkling grape juice toast. This will also serve as the kick off of the first ever YEA! arts event, which is Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.

Here’s the official announcement from the City…

The American Planning Association (APA) today announced the designation of downtown Decatur as one of 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2013. Each year during National Community Planning Month APA’s Great Places in America program names 30 exemplary neighborhoods, streets and public spaces to highlight the role planning and planners play in adding value to communities, including fostering economic growth and jobs.

APA singled out downtown Decatur for the neighborhood’s emphasis on sustainability, transportation alternatives and mixed uses; community engagement and long-term commitment to downtown revitalization; and measures to protect neighborhood character, such as building height limits so as to not compromise the downtown skyline.

“Our downtown neighborhood, built around a traditional courthouse square, is the heart and soul of Decatur and continues to evolve into a thriving, mixed-use center that is walkable, safe and inviting for people of all ages,” said Mayor Jim Baskett. “We are honored to be recognized by the American Planning Association as a Great American Neighborhood,” he added.

“Downtown Decatur is a longtime proponent of sustainable practices considering the first trolley line to operate between Decatur and Atlanta dates back to the 1840s,” said APA Chief Executive Officer Paul Farmer, FAICP. “Through its plans and revitalization efforts, downtown Decatur is managing change so the neighborhood is attractive to people of all ages, from new professionals to families with children to retirees,” he added.

Guiding downtown Decatur’s redevelopment was the 1982 Decatur Town Center Plan, which came out of a citizen-based advisory board. Among the plan’s recommendations: renovating the MARTA station and implementing various smart

growth measures including adding more downtown housing and making the area more pedestrian friendly.

To improve the MARTA station and enhance the surrounding streetscape, the city made improvements valued at more than $10 million during the past 25 years. The station – which connects Decatur to Atlanta and lies beneath Old Courthouse Square, the neighborhood’s living room – had been an aesthetic concern since opening in 1979.

To enhance downtown for pedestrians, lane widths for downtown streets were reduced; sidewalks were widened; more than 400 street trees were planted; and public art and upgraded street furnishings were added. Also, new public parking located behind buildings encouraged visitors to “park once” and then walk where they need to go. The city also added dedicated bicycle lanes throughout downtown, doubled the number of bike racks, and made Zipcars and scooter parking available.

APA’s Great Neighborhoods, Great Streets and Great Public Spaces feature unique and authentic characteristics that have evolved from years of thoughtful and deliberate planning by residents, community leaders and planners. The 2013 Great Places have many things Americans say are important to their “ideal community” including locally owned businesses, transit, neighborhood parks, and sidewalks. They illustrate how the foresight of planning fosters communities of lasting value.

The nine other APA 2013 Great Neighborhoods are: Historic Licking Riverside Neighborhood, Covington, KY; West Freemason, Norfolk, VA; Downtown Norwich, Norwich, CT; Williamson-Marquette Neighborhood, Madison, WI; Chinatown, San Francisco, CA; Downtown Mason City, Mason City, IA; Kenwood, Minneapolis, MN; Central Street Neighborhood, Evanston, IL; Beaufort Historic District, Beaufort, SC.

For more information about these neighborhoods, as well as APA’s top 10 Great Streets and top 10 Great Public Spaces for 2013 and previous years, visit www.planning.org/greatplaces. For more about National Community Planning Month taking place throughout October visit www.planning.org/ncpm.

DeKalb Medical Center Area Receives Livable Centers Grant

Deanne points out that the latest Atlanta Regional Commission press release regarding the latest round of Livable Centers Initiative grants includes a good chuck of money ($120,000) for a study focusing on the area around DeKalb Medical.  Here’s the description from the release…

This study focuses on the area around DeKalb Medical Center and will plan for redevelopment of underutilized and vacant properties to create a variety of housing options and an appropriate mix of commercial, office and retail. The study will incorporate Lifelong Communities concepts and the establishment of a “wellness district” for the DeKalb Medical Center area. Additionally, the plan will address sidewalk and bicycle facilities along the major corridors in the area to create a more walkable center and to improve connections to MARTA bus routes and Emory’s Cliff shuttle.

 

Decatur Named One of Georgia’s “Renaissance Cities”

ponce

Georgia Trend magazine recently asked the Georgia Municipal Association to help them identify some of Georgia’s “most successful downtown revitalizations”.

From the initial list provided, Georgia Trend chose to highlight eight downtown areas in their February issue: Blue Ridge, Columbus, Dahlonega, Decatur, Hinesville, Roswell, Savannah and Statesboro.

Here’s a snippet of the Decatur write up from the article

The city of Decatur could give a clinic on downtown revitalization. Since the early 1980s, the city’s leaders, business owners and citizens have worked diligently to create Decatur’s small-town atmosphere with a big-city buzz. “We did a town center plan around 1982,” says Bill Floyd a longtime mayor and city commissioner. “That’s when the vision of this community started. If you go back and look at that plan, you’ll see that what’s happened in Decatur is basically what’s in the plan.”

Old Tyler Perry Studio in Inman Park Being Converted to House “West Coast Market”

Oh Decatur, where are your defunct movie studio spaces to do these sorts of things?  Wheatley we-ports

An Atlanta developer plans to transform Tyler Perry’s old production facility and warehouse near the Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside Trail into a mixed-use development centered around a 12,000 square-foot, west coast-style marketand restaurants. The redevelopment, titled Krog Street Market, would eventually include housing on the complex’s south end.Paces Properties in late October closed on several adjacent parcels in Inman Park near the Beltline, including: the Stove Works, the vibrant dining and office complex; Tyler Perry’s old 66,000 square-foot studio at the intersection of Krog Street and Lake Avenue; and several smaller adjacent parcels. According to commercial real-estate research firm Databank, Paces paid $13.4 million for the combined nine acres.

Well, at least it’ll be accessible via quick trip on MARTA followed by a short walk until someone dreams up and funds that Inman Park to Decatur streetcar line!

Atlanta Beltline Eastside Dedication Date Set and Other Related Linkage

The Atlanta Beltline’s blog announced last week that the official dedication for the Eastside Trail will take place on October 15th.

The official dedication for the new trail will be held on Monday, October 15 at 10 a.m. It will also be featured as part of the Art on the Atlanta BeltLine exhibit, which starts on the evening of September 8 with the Krewe of the Grateful Glutton’s Lantern Parade and ends on November 11. In addition, the trail will be part of the route for Atlanta Streets Alive on October 7.

If you waiting for the trail to get all prettied up and ready for primetime, you’ll have to wait a bit longer. The post goes on to say that landscaping will commence “mid-fall” with tree plantings and then reconvene in the Spring when the native flora species hit the dirt. [h/t: CL]

In related news, Creative Loafing reports that new “No Trespassing” signs have been seen along the Eastside Trail, as some “rebellious bikers and joggers” have already hit the pavement while still construction continues.

Additionally, the October 7th Atlanta “Streets Alive!” event, which will shutdown nearly five miles of “car-free community space” (a “Virginia to North Highland to the Beltline” loop of sorts) plans to include $2 tours of Ponce City Market. [h/t: Curbed]

Map courtesy of The Beltline Blog

Ponce City Market at Sunset Rendering

Many of the Ponce City Market renderings too date have looked like something you could only enter on your Xbox.  Which I suppose is why I found this new, dramatic, sunset rendering so lovely and interesting.

And what’s all that stuff on the various roofs?  A golf course?  Chicken coops?  A merry-go-round?

Rendering courtesy of Silverman Construction