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Students plan eco-friendly community
City, BoE ask teens how to improve downtown
poster board
This display shows students' concept of the downtown area. - photo by Photo by Lauren Hunsberger
The city of Hinesville challenged local students to put their energy and creativity to good use while helping to clean up some of the area’s environmental sore spots with their “A New Hinesville” contest.
 After receiving a brownfield and land revitalization grant from the EPA about a year ago to help clean up the downtown area, Assistant City Manager Kenny Howard said the city asked students to help conceptualize and design, with the environment being the top priority, plans for some toxic property on Memorial Drive.
“It’s an opportunity to get the community intimately involved in terms of putting together a model,” Howard said.
The winning team, with their project “The Ville,” was composed of David Hoang, Samantha Gonzalez, Karen Donaldson and Ryan Althouse. Other participants were: Khameron Mitchem, Sharaina Mitchell, Byron Johnson, Julian McCroy, Laurent Debrossard, Kayla Rand, Heather Marshall, Dianna Jimenez and Cody Heard.
All the students go to Liberty County High School and they all received gift certificates at the Tuesday board of education meeting for their work.
“We’re very pleased with the outcome,” Howard said. “The young people were really tuned into what brownsfields are all about.”
While the plans may not be exactly the same, Howard said officials will definitely take the students’ ideas into consideration when making decisions about how to develop the property.
“The designs they used lent themselves to what we’re currently doing,” he said. “One thing they all had in common was open space for recreation, and we have plans to create a critical mass gathering area.”
The students, broken up into three teams, had plenty of ideas regarding what types of recreational activities and venues should be added to the downtown area.
“Our plans for the brownfield project were to mainly provide recreational buildings, eateries and other facilities, such as Memorial Mall,” said the winning team in its essay.
The team said the mall includes a mini-golf course, laser tag facility, a climbing wall, bowling alley and a lounge, among other things.
Howard said the city may not be able to swing all of their plans, but said the student’s desire for more recreation left an impression on him.
“In the area where there is open space we might want to consider incorporating a skate park,” Howard said. “They [students] always talk about a skate park. The concept is to bring people in, and they were really excited about providing activities and entertainment for young people.”
The other teams submitted ideas for parking garages, apartment homes, places for public transportation, and, of course, more spots for teenagers to hang out.
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