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Ordinance under study to alter McDonough’s facade

Measure aims to boost commerce, enhance safety

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Sidewalks and other enhancements are included in proposed plans for the McDonough Square, as part of a Livable Centers Initiative in the area.

Special Photo Sidewalks and other enhancements are included in proposed plans for the McDonough Square, as part of a Livable Centers Initiative in the area.

Megan Faile, of McDonough, waited at a traffic signal before she could cross a street on the city’s Square on Wednesday. A Tennessee native who moved to Henry County when she was 2 years old, Faile said she has been a witness to downtown McDonough’s growth in recent years.

“I just see the Square expanding,” said Faile, 24. “More people like shopping and eating here.”

She added that city leaders must work to keep pace with McDonough’s growing population, as well as local transportation needs.

“There’s always room for improvement, just like with anything,” said Faile.

City leaders in McDonough are preparing to unveil a pair of measures designed to enhance development opportunities in the area.

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Photo by Jason A. Smith Street safety and connectivity on the McDonough Square are among the issues being discussed as part of Livable Centers Initiative, for the city’s downtown area.

The McDonough Community Development Department is working to create a new zoning and development ordinance for the municipality’s downtown area, and surrounding neigborhoods. The local government is also conducting a retail market analysis, to provide the foundation for a downtown business recruitment and retention program, according to McDonough’s Media Relations Specialist, Casey Case.

“The new ordinance will be aimed at maximizing McDonough’s opportunities to attract quality mixed-use in-fill development; improve connections to recreational amenities near the Town Square; and enhance street and sidewalk appearance, safety and connectivity,” said Case. “The business retention and recruitment program will provide a range of assistance programs and investment incentives to stimulate business growth in downtown.”

The city government began to revamp its Downtown Revitalization program in October of 2011, as part of a Livable Centers Initiative endeavor, with financial assistance from the Atlanta Region Commission (ARC). The first improvements which will result from the program are pedestrian and bike improvements for the sidewalks around the McDonough Square, and from Atlanta Street to Alexander Park, according the city’s Community Development Director, John Cheek.

“A $1.3 million matching grant from ARC will help us design and build this half-mile of new streetscape,” stated Community Development Director John Cheek.

Case added that a steering committee, composed of downtown business people, residents and civic groups, has been giving feedback to McDonough’s planning team regarding the zoning ordinance and the business program.

“Both of these new tools are scheduled to be ready for the Mayor (Billy Copeland) and Council’s consideration in June,” said Case.