Grovetown City Council members unanimously agreed Monday to the first step of a Grovetown Merchants Association initiative that will focus on aesthetic enhancements to commercial areas.
The improvements are called for in the city's 20-year comprehensive plan that was approved in the fall.
"It is a very ambitious plan. There is a lot in there," said Sonny McDowell, the Merchants Association president, of the 204-page plan that governs the city's management of future growth to include aesthetics, development and infrastructure. "It is where we want to end up and the difficulty we have all had is where to start."
McDowell equated the endorsement to his favorite Chinese proverb - "A journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step."
The first step is to allow the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to use photos of Grovetown's Wrightsboro Road and Robinson Avenue corridors to create renderings of what the areas would look like if all things in city right-of-ways that are not consistent with the comprehensive plan are taken out and replaced with things such as street trees, pedestrian lighting and sidewalks, McDowell said.
"I think this is just exactly what the city needs to do," City Councilman Dick Manion said, adding that some changes need to be made to the city's zoning ordinances.
The initiative, which includes a timeline through January 2010, was put together to facilitate the implementation of the comprehensive plan and to focus attention on how to merge the fast-growing commercial development sector with the plan.
"The commercial development is going to come to Grovetown," McDowell said. "The rooftops are here. The people are here. The money is here. So the commercial development is going to come. The real question is going to be how well does the city manage that."
McDowell said he expects the renderings to be complete in September for presentation to the council in October, when the initiative proposes that a citizen council be formed to oversee the rest of the planning that will include seeking out funding such as grants to pay for the improvements.
Mayor Dennis Trudeau told McDowell, "Like that Chinese proverb, you have taken the first step of 1,000 miles."
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