Residents and business owners saw what could become the future of central Martinez in the form of three concept maps at a Tuesday night meeting.
Sandy Williams, a Martinez businesswoman, examines a map detailing a Central Martinez Study. The study and public comments will help plan the city's future.
Photo by Preston Sparks
There was a plan to add grass median islands to the center of portions of Washington Road between Bobby Jones Expressway and Davis Road, a plan to someday turn West Town Shopping Center into a town center for Martinez and a goal to add new town homes, condominiums and high-end multifamily residences to the area.
Overall, the approximately 30 people attending the meeting said they liked the idea.
"I love Evans being built up, but Martinez doesn't get any credit for being first,'' said Sandy Williams, an Evans resident whose business, D.J. and Co., is located off Davis Road in Martinez.
Caleb Racicot, of the consultant firm Tunnell-Spangler-Walsh and Associates, told residents and business owners Tuesday the idea is to take public comments and create an identity for central Martinez, an area that surrounds the stretch roughly from Davis Road to Bobby Jones along Washington Road.
"What we've heard over and over again is Martinez has very little sense of place,'' Racicot said, adding that a Central Martinez Study aims to change that.
Several goals for central Martinez were laid out at the meeting, including a goal to distinguish the area by cleaning up major entrances and increasing the area's restaurant and entertainment options.
Another goal is to preserve churches in the area and create a town center for the county where K-Mart is now located.
"This property has the potential to be a catalyst to changing central Martinez,'' Racicot said. Part of that plan would be to first redevelop the area of the West Town Shopping Center fronting Washington Road to include several new businesses within the next five to10 years. Parking decks also could be added where the shopping center parking lot is now.
Twenty years out, if K-Mart were to close, Racicot said the K-Mart site also could be developed into a main street/town square concept.
And neighborhoods behind K-Mart "could develop into more of an upscale neighborhood,'' Racicot said.
Racicot said a market survey for the central Martinez area for the next 10 years determined the market would support as many as 600 new townhomes in the area, 590 condos and 300 high-end multifamily residences.
Still, Racicot stressed that "any of these phases could be the ending point.''
Concerning Washington Road, Racicot told those at the meeting that fewer curb cuts would be recommended for safety reasons and to prevent as much traffic gridlock with people turning every 20 feet.
"Maybe we have them turn every 100 feet,'' he said.
Racicot said a grass median island in places would give a nice aesthetic look to the road, but the remainder of the middle turn lane would remain open for motorists.
"Our recommendation to the county is there should not be a concrete median on Washington Road,'' he said.
Although it would be the county's and Georgia Department of Transportation's lead to undertake road projects, add new sidewalks and beautify certain areas with greenspace, a lot would depend on the private sector as well.
Part of the study also includes the possibility of building a bridge on Old Evans Road over the railroad line at Washington Road. Consultants said Tuesday that such a bridge would cost about $1.4 million and would be a positive because it would eliminate waiting times on trains. However, the consultants also said that a bridge could increase speeding on Old Evans and create the need for widening the road.
Racicot said his firm will compile a plan in the next three weeks on how the study can be implemented to be presented to the county commission.
For more information on the plan, visit the Web site www.tunspan.com/martinez.
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