By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Officials rethinking downtown Hinesville
Courier now
What the Courier office looks like now.
After returning from a four-city tour of growing communities in the Atlanta area, members of the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority are rethinking the possibilities for the city’s downtown district.
The DDA and members of the Hinesville City Council recently visited Duluth, Smyrna, Suwanee and Woodstock to get a look at how similar communities have transformed their downtowns into major community hubs.
“We saw different ways of doing things. We saw developers that had different plans, different focuses,” Hinesville Downtown Manager Sandy White said. “Now we’re coming back and trying to look at what will be appropriate uses here.”
With the Memorial Drive realignment “about to take shape,” the downtown manager said the group gave special attention to how each community used its vacant space.
“There’ll be some brand new space created when the roads are realigned,” White said. “Woodstock is doing a lot of mixed-use where they’re doing commercial and residential ... I think you’ll see Memorial Drive develop in that way.”
According to White, local developers have already expressed interest in creating these mixed-use properties that could include “everything from townhouses to single family residences” and commercial entities such as bookstores, small specialty shops and restaurants.
She said the idea is to create a downtown that is usable for work and play.
“Over time, just kind of quietly, downtown has become more of a service sector with a lot of offices, lawyers and doctors, which is fine, but you want a good mix,” White said. “Our focus is going to be on trying to get more things that will compliment the services that are already here, but even it out more.”
But she quickly pointed out changing the area’s image does not mean destroying downtown’s standing historic properties.
White said the group saw examples of shaping historic property into redevelopment plans in both Woodstock and Suwanee.
“Woodstock and Suwanee had a small historic core, and with the new construction they are working to make it compatible to the old and preserve the old,” she said.
Regarding Hinesville, White said blending the old with the modern could come with the $120,000 renovation planned for the old historic jail.
“We’re hoping we can sponsor with the (Hinesville) Arts Council to use the actual jail cell part in the back as a local art gallery and have local displays,” she said. “The building itself would be a destination, but it would also be a place to show off local artists.”
The DDA has also been provided with architectural renderings from South Carolina consulting firm Arnett, Muldrow and Associates that include creating “contemporary compatible” color schemes and “more pedestrian friendly” sidewalks for buildings on South Main Street.
With the trip in the background and suggestions on the table, White said the group is excited and ready to go to work on Hinesville’s downtown.
“I think more so than anything, the enthusiasm that comes from actually seeing how a community planned and then actually seeing that plan come to fruition gives you a shot in the arm,” she said. “But you have to take all that and then hit the ground running.”
Sign up for our e-newsletters