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Jonesboro LCI plan to be discussed

By Ed Brock

Jo Lynne McEwen hopes to have all, or at least most of her questions about Jonesboro's Livable Centers Initiative answered today.

McEwen and other members of the "stake holders committee" that has been providing input on the project that would revitalize Jonesboro's downtown area will meet at 5 p.m. in the Joneboro Volunteer Fire Department headquarters on N. Main Street. That's when planners with Jordan, Jones & Goulding will advise them on the results of several public hearings on the LCI program that is sponsored by the Atlanta Regional Commission.

"I'll be very interested to hear what they have to say," said McEwen, owner of Simple Pleasures gift shops on Main Street. "I have two shops so I'd love to see something work," McEwen said.

The LCI includes redesigning Jonesboro's downtown area and the city itself to make it a more attractive place to live. That includes functional changes like more sidewalks and proper placement of complimentary facilities along with simple beautification.

Several other cities in the Atlanta area are participating in the project including Forest Park. During an initial public hearing in June about 60 people turned out to discuss the particular issues they think should be included in the plan. Another general meeting was held on Sept. 5.

The central issues include parking, traffic and a possible rail transit station, Jonesboro City Manager Jon Walker said.

"Do we need more of a town green or a focal point to the town?" Walker asked. "A lot of positive ideas were generated but we didn't settle on anything."

During tonight's meeting the planners will review the findings of the previous meetings, define key recommendations and then discuss implementation strategies, Jordan, Jones & Goulding Senior Civil Engineer Abe Abouhamdan said.

Abouhamdan said he couldn't list all of the recommendations to be discussed at today's meeting because they still have to be voted on.

"This particular study is on revitalizing downtown Jonesboro and to capitalize on the historic character of the place," Abouhamdan said. "They have something that they want to capitalize on and this study is to help them get there."

Walker said he is hoping Abouhamdan and the other Jordan, Jones & Goulding planners will present several options.

"We'll have one more meeting where we'll actually reveal the final product," Walker said.

That meeting should be on October 27.