SPECIAL TO THE SENTINEL
The Douglas County Chamber released information last week in support of the Redevelopment Powers Referendum which is listed on the 2020 General and Special Election Ballot that will take place on Nov. 3. The Redevelopment Powers Law, adopted by the General Assembly in 1985, gives local governments (cities and counties), such as Douglas County, the ability to facilitate the redevelopment of blighted or economically depressed areas within a community.
The residents of the City of Douglasville approved the Redevelopment Powers Law in the 2018 election. With the passage, the City of Douglasville was given the ability to utilize economic development tools such as creating a tax allocation district (TAD) in downtown Douglasville which focused around the currently under construction Douglasville Town Green project. The Douglasville Town Green project will create a new town center for the community. Built around a large public green space and amphitheater this project will bring a mix of office, retail, and residential development. The Town Green will be the new home for community events, concerts and cultural activities.
Douglasville Mayor Rochelle Robinson commented on the benefit of the Redevelopment Powers Law and the impact it has had on the City of Douglasville’s future plans, “Being able to establish a Tax Allocation District in Douglasville and have it approved by the voters, shows that our citizens understand the value that this designation brings to our community. Having the TAD in place gives us the tools to attract positive growth and development to our City and expanding those powers with a County TAD will attract even more potential investors to our community.”
According to Sara Ray, Douglas County Chamber president and CEO, redevelopment efforts provide residents with greater amenities and accessibility to things like sidewalks, housing, restaurants and retail. The Redevelopment Powers Law does not raise taxes,” she said.
“The Chamber has always been committed to promoting and supporting business for the advancement of our community,” Ray said. “We support economic development tools that encourage private investment in Douglasville and Douglas County, enhancing our global competitiveness and creating more jobs for our community including the Redevelopment Powers Law and Tax Allocation Districts.”
If passed, residents can expect to see a focused effort on redevelopment in the community, Ray said. While no action can be taken unless the referendum is passed, one area that is prime for redevelopment is the Lee Road Corridor and the adjoining land sites, which Ray said are essential to the future success of Douglasville and Douglas County. Douglas County has envisioned the expansion and extension of this corridor for many years as it moves towards to fulfillment of the southern inner arc of the county, she said.
For years Douglas County has developed as an industrial hub along Thornton Road, a residential suburb from Lee Road into the retail hub along Chapel Hill Road. Ray said the new vision for Lee Road opens the door for a better transition between the industrial and residential core. Ray said this transition will introduce walkability, connectivity and diversity within the development options.
Ray emphasized, “The support from Douglasville voters in 2018 has proven to serve as a catalyst for redevelopment in downtown Douglasville. Within a year, the tax allocation district was established, ground was broken on the Douglasville Town Green, and private investors are already expressing interest in developing within the TAD. Douglas County residents can benefit from this and by voting YES for redevelopment on your November 3rd ballot. We are all voting to improve and strengthen the community, improve amenities and build on the unique characteristics that will continue to make Douglas County an attractive destination to live, work and play.”
When voting, Ray urged voters to be sure to locate the Redevelopment Powers question at the bottom of your ballot stating, “Shall the Act be approved which authorizes Douglas County to utilize tax allocation districts and redevelopment powers under the “Redevelopment Powers Law,” as it may be amended from time to time?”