Revitalization efforts continue in Lovejoy

LOVEJOY — Lovejoy City Council approved resolutions and received news Monday that effectively advance the city’s push to expand and improve its infrastructure.

Spokeswoman Kaycia Rhone gave a rundown of the efforts.

“The first resolution approved was a resolution to apply for a Gateway Grant allowing for improvements on Tara Boulevard,” said Rhone. The mayor and council also approved a resolution to apply for a new HUD Grant. This grant will fund the second phases of the Lovejoy City Garden and Skateboard Park.”

The city received funding from the two grant programs in 2013 to begin the first phases of its downtown projects.

Clayton County government reimbursed the city about $46,000 from the Gateway Grant through the Georgia Department of Transportation to cover roughly 80 percent of the costs associated with landscaping along Tara Boulevard.

Lovejoy also was awarded the $144,000 Community Development Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Rhone said council also approved annexing just over 77 acres of property owned by The GEO Group Inc. The Boca Raton, Fla.-based company offers correctional and detention management and community reentry services and manages the Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility in Lovejoy.

Officials have said The GEO Group has designs on expanding its services, which would create several new job opportunities for the area.

Additionally, council heard presenters of two nonprofit organizations and a business expanding programs in the city.

“HERO Dream Team is a nonprofit organization designed to encourage academics, athletics and character in our youth,” said Rhone. “The HERO Dream Team has hosted sports camps in Lovejoy and has recently partnered with Lovejoy High School to host a spring camp.”

The mayor and council were updated on Habitat for Humanity’s plans to build a 15-home subdivision on Hastings Bridge Road across from Mayor’s Park.

“Cinema Greens is a new business in the process of purchasing the Aukerman property on Lovejoy Road for a Film and Entertainment Industry Business and Special Event facility,” added Rhone.

The Aukerman property is owned by Frances Aukerman, widow of former city councilman Arlie Clay Aukerman.