As the Memorial Drive realignment project comes to a close, the city of Hinesville has continued its long-standing urban redevelopment plan by approving the Memorial Drive sub-area plan last week.
“The sub-area includes Memorial Drive and two blocks deep,” Vicki Davis, director of the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority, said of the area included in the plan.
According to Davis, the HDDA board of directors and a group of local leaders have spent months drafting the plan that will eventually turn Memorial Drive into a more diverse area.
“Our desire is to realize a total redevelopment of the commercially blighted area, encouraging business growth, and making it a more livable, workable and entertaining
district,” Davis said.
As part of the board’s vision, she said the plan incorporates the expansion and development of housing, private and public business. However, there are three main projects that top the list of priorities.
While details on the three projects still are up for discussion, the group decided that an expansion of the AASU Liberty Campus and a new library, a boutique hotel and three multi-use buildings will be the first major construction projects in the plan.
“It’s a public, private partnership,” Davis said. “It’s a whole community project.”
Under the plan, Davis said new buildings will be required to follow specific construction and design guidelines. Buildings that already house established businesses will only have to conform to the design standards when they are updated.
“The development standards included in the plan are not new impositions on property owners. Rather, the new guidelines will actually loosen up the standards to allow activity more conducive to new construction and encourage density,” Davis said. “This isn’t something we’re doing to them [business owners and property owners in the area], or for them, we want to experience the redevelopment of the area with them,”
Davis said she and members of the board in charge of the project want to ensure that property owners in the district know the board wants to work with them and values their input.
“Sometimes they have considerations that we didn’t think about,” Davis said.
As of right now, she said the redevelopment is in the beginning stages, but after approval from the council last week, work can seriously begin.
“There are many variables but we have a plan and a direction,” Davis said.
Any interested business or property owners can call Davis at 877-4332.