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Resolution Calls For Downtown Atlanta Planning

A 15 member advisory group would issue recommendations aimed at luring more private investment to downtown Atlanta and revitalizing Underground Atlanta under a resolution introduced at Atlanta City Hall.To hear the on-air version of this story, click the listen button above.

With the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the College Football Hall of Fame, a new Falcons stadium and other projects coming to or near downtown Atlanta, City Council members H. Lamar Willis and Keisha Lance Bottoms say an advisory group would wrap those projects into a bigger plan.

“The idea of this legislation is to take what private developers are doing or private entities are doing and create some synergy amongst all of those projects,” said Willis.

He acknowledges projects slated for downtown Atlanta are moving forward without a master plan from the city.

“But, there hasn’t been the private investment,” said Willis. “And I think a part of that is private investment is wanting to see what the city is going to do synchronize those efforts.”

When it comes to private businesses showing interest in downtown Atlanta, Willis says the area lags behind midtown Atlanta and Buckhead. He says those neighborhoods have benefited from long term community planning. Willis says the same could happen in downtown if city government came up with a plan.

If approved by city council, city government appointees, the city’s economic development arm, MARTA, Central Atlanta Progress, Georgia State University and neighborhood groups would sit on the 15-member advisory group. It would issue recommendations 6 months after being approved by city council.

The recommendations would include a game plan for the revitalization of Underground Atlanta. The downtown Atlanta building is owned by the city and leased to Atlanta developer Dan O’Leary. In November 2012, O’Leary told WABE Underground Atlanta suffers from a number of issues, including quality of life.

“Those issues range from aggressive panhandling to the homeless issue, which we deal with downtown,” said O’Leary.