UPDATE: Athens residents can now submit their comments on the Clayton Street Area Infrastructure & Streetscape Project via an online comment form on the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government website.
In addition, residents can find draft designs, angled parking information and three possible construction schedules online.
These documents and the comment form are the same ones offered at the public drop-in meetings on Feb. 28.
Athens residents and business owners had the opportunity to drop in and meet with Athens-Clarke County government officials to share and discuss ideas about the Clayton Street Area Infrastructure & Streetscape Project.
On Wednesday, Feb. 28, between 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m., staff from the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax Office, the Transportation & Public Works and Public Information Office held public drop-in meetings in the Mezzanine of the Michael Brothers Building on Clayton Street.
At the meetings, attendees were provided maps and drawings, updated timelines, FAQs and other important information surrounding the project.
One purpose of the project is to update the infrastructure in the Clayton Street area, meaning improvements would be made to the stormwater drainage systems and underground utilities. The other purpose of the project is to enhance the region’s streetscape, focusing on the streets, benches, sidewalks, crosswalks, lighting, landscape and pedestrian gathering areas.
“Athens is a gem, and it needs to be beautified.”
- Rhonda Clower, Athens resident
The guarantee of a lengthy construction process and active roadwork along the populated street has caused concern in business owners regarding the usability of the street during the project.
“I don’t think enough consideration has been given to the impact that this project could have on the businesses on Clayton Street,” said Rhonda Clower, Athens resident whose daughter owns Frontier Athens. “The businesses downtown bring Athens-Clarke County a lot of revenue, so what are they going to do for the businesses?”
The meeting on Feb. 28 presented three different project time frames to the public: an accelerated schedule (June 2018 - August 2019), a continuous schedule (June 2018 - January 2020) and a split schedule (June 2018 - September 2020). Members of the community were able to share and submit their input on which time frame best suits the needs of the city.
Clower, and other members of the community, also shared their opinions on the appearance and cleanliness of downtown Athens.
“Athens is a gem, and it needs to be beautified,” Clower said.
Residents were also able to submit their preferences for forward or reverse parking in the downtown parking spaces and what street elements they would like to see on the newly constructed Clayton Street.
“The extra sidewalk space is really needed,” said Sachi De La Cruz, graduate student in the school of Public Administration and Policy. “Walkability is very important for people in downtown Athens.”
Following the start date of June 2018, businesses on Clayton Street will remain open and accessible as much as possible throughout the duration of the project.
During the process, if construction interferes with the entrance of a business, owners will be notified and construction will be scheduled around the business to allow for minimal disruptions.