Atlanta Regional Commission awards $800,000 in grants to 11 communities

By Maria Saporta

One of the most popular programs of the Atlanta Regional Commission — the Livable Cities Initiative — has awarded $800,000 in grants to 11 communities throughout the metro area.

The grants help town centers plan and implement policies and designs to create more vibrant and connected communities — often through transportation projects that reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality.

Since its inception in 1999, LCI has assisted 113 communities with about $15 million in planning grants that better connect homes, shops and offices. Another $173 million has gone to help recipients build transportation projects to implement their community goals.

The LCI program is funded with federal transportation dollars. The grants fund 80 percent of the study with the grant recipient making a 20 percent match.

In this latest round of grants, there will be a total of $1 million LCI investment in these 11 communities — $800,000 from the LCI program and $200,000 in the local matches.

“Over the years, LCI has helped communities across metro Atlanta reinvent and improve themselves, creating more places that attract residents and businesses alike,” said Kerry Armstrong, the recently-elected ARC Chairman. “Our local government partners have used these grants to the benefit of their individual communities and the entire region.”

LCI communities cover only five percent of the region’s land area, but contain seven percent of its residential development, 24 percent of its commercial development and 38 percent of its office development.

“Communities are eager to revitalize their town centers and underutilized properties to create places that foster a vibrant neighborhood feel and environment,” said Doug Hooker, ARC executive director. “LCI grants have helped communities re-imagine what they can be, and then helped them make those plans a reality.”

The 2014 LCI grant recipients are:

Hiram Town Center
Award:                $60,000

Local match:              $15,000
             City of Hiram


This study focuses on downtown Hiram and a portion of the Silver Comet Trail, exploring appropriate mixed-use and infill development, as well as connections to the Silver Comet Trail and to the major retail corridor along US 278.

Peachtree Corners Town Center Award:           $96,000

Local match:         $24,000
          City of Peachtree Corners


This plan will focus on providing a roadmap for the development of a town center within the newly-incorporated City of Peachtree Corners. The study will help the city develop a walkable, connected downtown core and create a community identity.

The nine remaining grants are for supplemental studies to help existing LCI communities implement their existing plans through additional studies, zoning changes and plans.

Communities receiving supplemental study funds are:

  • Atlanta Downtown Improvement District/Central Atlanta Progress, $70,000, to study the improvement of transit stations in the southern end of downtown.
  • City of Atlanta, $40,000, for a transportation study of the Vine City-Washington Park area.
  • City of Avondale Estates, $50,000, to study the feasibility of a roundabout, road diet and “Better Block” demonstration project.
  • City of Clarkston, $80,000, for a major plan update.
  • Gwinnett Place CID, $90,000, for a master plan of the Gwinnett Place Multi-Modal Boulevard.
  • City of Kennesaw, $80,000, for a major plan update.
  • Lilburn CID, $60,000, for Lawrenceville Highway Urban Design Implementation Study.
  • Town Center Area CID, $114,000, for a major plan update.
  • City of Woodstock, $60,000, to expand the Highway 92 Corridor Study.

To learn more about the LCI program and the impact it has had on the Atlanta region, visit www.atlantaregional.com/lci.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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