UPDATE: Grovetown council approves plan for downtown redevelopment

By: Katie Beasley Email
By: Katie Beasley Email
Members of Grovetown's council are looking into a plan that would benefit the area in the long run. (WRDW-TV / April 9, 2012)

Members of Grovetown's council are looking into a plan that would benefit the area in the long run. (WRDW-TV / April 9, 2012)

10 P.M. UPDATE:
This just in: News 12 has just learned council members unanimously approved the redevelopment plan during their meeting Monday night.

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, April 9, 2012

GROVETOWN, Ga. -- The City of Grovetown may be getting a facelift.

Council members are expected to approve a new plan to revamp downtown on Monday night.

Over the last 10 years, Grovetown has seen some booming growth, but instead of continuing to expand its borders outward, city leaders want to focus on fixing up what's already there.

"We don't have an identifiable downtown like a lot of towns do," said Councilman Sonny McDowell, who is excited about a possible plan.

There's no doubt the city has grown, but he says there's one thing lagging behind.

"Grovetown is booming residentially...what has not caught up is commercial development. We were exploring ways to attract businesses to downtown," McDowell said.

The new plan calls for a revamped downtown along the railroad, using mixed commercial and residential properties with walking paths and parks.

"We've created a vision. Even with all this growth, our economy is still depressed because of sub-standard housing in the inner core, because of the appearance of the city," McDowell said.

They'd also like to add affordable housing to the plan where a mobile home park currently sits.

"We had to admit to ourselves that there's some ugly in Grovetown that needs some attention. In general ... just cleaning up the city," McDowell said.

Grovetown resident Cynthia Prickett agrees.

"I'd like to see some positive changes ... yeah, that area does need to be redone," Prickett said.

But not everyone is giving the plan a green light.

"Some people can't afford it ... most of them can, but like us, we can't. Build something for us that we can afford," said Grovetown resident Margaret Lanier.

Others are calling it too ambitious.

"Keep it simple. Don't grow it too extravagant, don't make it look like Augusta, where it's all cramped," Prickett said.

But McDowell says it's a move in the right direction.

"The core downtown area of Grovetown -- the neighborhoods that have been here for decades -- would now get the attention," he said.

If the plan is approved, they could go to work immediately with a lot of planning and research. The plan itself has a five-year timeline and would take special funding to become a reality.

Council members are also expected to take up another topic -- the investigation into a member of the Grovetown Public Safety Department.

City leaders tell News 12 the investigation into the unnamed member is complete and they may talk about it in Tuesday night's executive session. Last month, city council members called a special meeting to hire a private investigator to look into multiple allegations of misconduct.


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