- Business & Development
Approximately 1,000 metro Atlanta regional leaders recently gathered at the Georgia World Congress Center for the Atlanta Regional Commission's (ARC) 2012 State of the Region Breakfast. ARC Chairman Tad Leithead addressed the large audience, challenging everyone in the room to continue working together and even ramp up their united efforts to maintain a strong and vibrant region. In addition, ARC and the Livable Communities Coalition (LCC) presented the 2012 Developments of Excellence Awards, including the Livable Centers Initiative Achievement Award given to the City of Norcross.
The Developments of Excellence awards, presented annually by ARC and the LCC, recognize developments in the 10-county Atlanta region that exemplify cutting-edge, livable designs that are helping to create a positive framework for future development.
According to the ARC, few communities have done more with their Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) funds than the City of Norcross has since receiving its first LCI grant in 2001 with a vision of transforming its underutilized downtown into a walk-able, livable community. One of the city's first steps was to appoint a citizen-based Architectural Review Board and a Design Concept District to encourage design consistency and develop a unified plan for downtown. In recent years, the city converted an old church into a Cultural Arts and Community Center and turned a worn baseball field into a public space for concerts, events and public gatherings. Currently, sidewalks and bike facilities around downtown Norcross are being improved, as well.
Five of the region's most innovative developments and one "Great Place" were recognized; in addition to Norcross, the Historic Fourth Ward Park in Atlanta, the City of Decatur, the College Park Gateway Center, and Ivy Hall in Atlanta received prestigious Developments of Excellence Awards. The "Great Place" award is given to a place in metro Atlanta that represents livability and sustainability, but is not necessarily a single, private development.
"We are proud to recognize developers, local governments and nonprofit organizations that change the way people and businesses in the Atlanta region interact," said ARC Chairman Tad Leithead. "These projects and their success show us that metro Atlantans want to create a better region for themselves and for the residents of the future."
Mayor Bucky Johnson accepted the award on behalf of the city, later crediting the citizens for their vision as well as the efforts of city staff.
"From the very beginning when we started on an LCI study and during recent updates to it, residents and local business owners have significantly contributed to the vision of how this community is developed and redeveloped,"explained Mayor Johnson. "And they've played a key part in making sure that these ideas were implemented and kept on the front burner, not just collecting dust on the shelf."