Downtown Master Plan final draft presented to city council

Special/City of Douglasville The old jail site on Church Street is Phase I of the city's 10-year Downtown Master Plan. An option for the site being considered would involve demolishing the old jail and building a mixed-used development with an amphitheater, dedicated green space and retail.

The final draft of the Downtown Master Plan for Douglasville was presented to the city council during Monday night’s committee meeting.

The Downtown Master Plan committee collaborated with TSW Design to draft the 10-year plan. The committee was made up of downtown business owners, a number of civic groups and interested parties who wished to participate in the process. The committee started with 60 participants and decreased to about 30 people, Douglasville Community and Downtown Services Manager Patrice Williams said.

The old jail site is considered Phase I. The county, the current owner of the site, and the county development authority are aware of the city's potential plans for the site on Church Street. Those plans all include demolishing the old jail site. In the building’s place, the city could have a mixed-used development with an amphitheater, dedicated green space and retail under the master plan.

Housing in the area is also a big focus. The focus of Phase II is to continue going eastward, Williams said, with the current city buildings being potentially vacated and sold to private owners for redevelopment. City hall can also be moved into the old Douglasville Police Department on the corner of Bowden and Church streets, City Manager Marcia Hampton said.

If that part of the plan goes positively, then the plan would move on to Phase III, which is the Highway 92 area.

A large investment from the private sector and a proposed Tax Allocation District are potential funding sources for the overall master plan, according to Williams.

“With the adoption of the plan, what we see happening is that this document would begin to talk to all your other documents,” Hampton told the council. “Like your future land use plan, your comp plan and working with all the changes as far as land use recommendations that you would see come before you from Jacob’s Engineering what they’re all recommending.”

While the city has looked into luring a hotel to the downtown area, Hampton told the council it's not feasible right now.

“If we were to partner with a hotel at this juncture, based on the economics, more than likely we would have to do something aggressive,” Hampton said. “Which would mean the city would have to build a hotel and then we would lease it out to a hotel operator to operate it. We would be responsible for the construction. [So to make it work] it would have to be a public-private partnership. I don’t see in these economic standings that a major hotel would come and say, ‘Hey. Based on the conditions, we’re willing to invest.’”

Mayor Rochelle Robinson said Hampton Inn & Suites might show interest in coming to downtown Douglasville.

The council agreed to place the final draft of the plan on the agenda for the next round of council meetings on Dec. 14 and Dec. 18.

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