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Hinesville R E N A I S SA N C E S T RAT EG I C V I S I O N and P L A N

2019


Table of Contents 4

CREDITS

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G EO R G I A D OW N TOW N R E N A I S SA N C E PA RT N E R S H I P

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INTRODUCTION

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T H E R E N A I S SA N C E S T RAT EG I C V I S I O N I N G A N D P L A N N I N G ( R SV P ) P R O C ES S

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T H E H I N ESV I L L E R E N A I S SA N C E S T RAT EG I C V I S I O N A N D P L A N : TO P I S S U ES 2 1 | Top Issue: Create a Downtown Destination 2 6 | Downtown Hinesville Conceptual Masterplan 2 9 | Create a Downtown Destination: Streetscaping 3 6 | Create a Downtown Destination: Bradwell Park Improvements 5 2 | Hinesville-Liberty (HiLi) Arts and Entertainment District 6 2 | Create a Downtown Destination – Infill Development 7 3 | TO P I S S U E : ES TA B L I S H A H O U S I N G WO R K I N G G R O U P 7 7 | TO P I S S U E : D OW N TOW N D E V E LO P M E N T

I N C E N T I V ES A N D O R D I N A N C ES 8 3 | TO P I S S U E : C E L E B RAT E A F R I C A N -A M E R I C A N H E R I TAG E

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I M P L E M E N TAT I O N A N D C O N C LU S I O N 8 9 | First Steps 1 2 8 | Work Program


Credits Hinesville RSVP Steering Committee John Baker, Chairman, Hinesville Downtown Development Authority Allen Brown, Mayor, City of Hinesville Karen Durham, Executive Director, Hinesville Downtown Development Authority Kenneth Howard, City Manager, City of Hinesville Roger Jones, Secretary, Hinesville Downtown Development Authority Shonda Mickel, Unlimited Taxes & More, Inc. Sabrina Newby, President, Liberty County Minority Chamber Tom Ratcliffe, Attorney and Former Mayor Melissa Carter Ray, State Farm Cathy Thomas, Coldwell Banker Michelle Ricketson, Former Executive Director, Hinesville Downtown Development Authority

Georgia Department of Community Affairs Jennifer Fordham, District 12 Regional Representative

Georgia Municipal Association/Georgia Cities Foundation Perry Hiott, Director of Community Development Chris Higdon, Manager, Community Development Stephanie Aylworth, Manager, Downtown Development

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The University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute of Government Danny Bivins, Senior Public Service Associate, Co-Principal Investigator J. Scott Pippin, Public Service Associate, Co-Principal Investigator Kaitlin Messich, Public Service Assistant, Senior Designer T. Clark Stancil, Landscape and Urban Designer Allison Cape, Graphic Designer Elizabeth Solomon, Graduate Assistant Karen DeVivo, Editor

Produced for the people of

HINESVILLE, GEORGIA as part of the

Georgia Downtown Renaissance Program

Fall 2019

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Partners

GEORGIA DOWNTOWN RENAISSANCE PARTNERSHIP

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ringing together public institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and private foundations, the Georgia Downtown Renaissance Partnership combines

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the skills and resources of the Georgia Municipal Association, the Georgia Cities Foundation, and the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government in cooperation with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to revitalize communities across Georgia. The Georgia Downtown Renaissance Partnership facilitates the creation of strategic visions, plans, designs, and work programs for partner communities in Georgia. The Georgia Downtown Renaissance Partnership works with government leaders, chambers of commerce, downtown stakeholders, and local citizens to help ensure that all cities in Georgia have the resources and tools necessary to realize their vision and maximize their potential.


Since 1927, the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government has worked with public officials throughout Georgia and around the world to improve governance and people's lives. From Georgia's early days as a largely agrarian state with a modest population to its modern-day status as a national and international force in business, industry, and politics with a population of 10 million, the Institute has helped government leaders navigate change and forge strong directions for a more prosperous Georgia.

Created in 1933, the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) is the only state organization that represents municipal governments in Georgia. Based in Atlanta, GMA is a voluntary, nonprofit organization that provides legislative advocacy and educational, employee benefit, and technical consulting services to its members. GMA’s purpose is to anticipate and influence the forces shaping Georgia’s communities and to provide leadership, tools, and services that assist local governments in becoming more innovative, effective, and responsive.

The Georgia Cities Foundation, founded in 1999, is a nonprofit subsidiary of the Georgia Municipal Association. The foundation’s mission is to assist cities in their efforts to revitalize and enhance downtown areas by serving as a partner and facilitator in funding capital projects through the revolving loan fund. Its services include the Revolving Loan Fund Program, the Heart and Soul Downtown Workshop, the Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Tour, Downtown Development Authority Basic Training, and the Renaissance Award.

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Introduction H I N E S V I L L E R E N A I S S A N C E S T R AT E G I C V I S I O N A N D P L A N


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estled along Georgia’s hundred miles of golden coastline, the City of Hinesville and Liberty County boast rich history and a vibrant community — all within a unique and important natural environment. From the area’s modern beginnings as a hotbed of independence fervor during the American Revolution to the community’s role in training some of the key Civil Rights leaders in the 1960s, Liberty County and Hinesville share a heritage steeped in the promise of freedom and independence. Hinesville was founded in 1837 as a centrally located seat of government for the growing county. Long a sleepy southern courthouse town, the community’s fate changed forever with the establishment of Fort Stewart in 1941. Today, Fort Stewart proudly serves as the home to the 3rd Infantry Division. According to the US Census, Fort Stewart officially boasts a population of roughly 5,000. Additionally, local estimates indicate that the fort supports well over 20,000 residents in the area. For more than 70 years, Fort Stewart has propelled growth in Hinesville. The friendly, welcoming embrace of this community makes Hinesville a lifetime home for many service members. Liberty County’s vibrant heritage lives on in the growing and diverse community that calls the area home.

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The historic Liberty County courthouse was built in 1926.

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While Hinesville boasts a strong and thriving community, attractive public buildings, lively events and festivals, a growing Georgia Southern satellite campus, and the tremendous economic impact of Fort Stewart, many community members see the city’s downtown as a missed opportunity. For decades much of the explosive growth in the community has occurred outside of Hinesville’s historic downtown area. Sprawling development along US-84 and other key corridors siphons commercial activity and other development that could bring life and vitality to downtown. With continued growth on the way, Hinesville officials sought the assistance of the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government to help create a plan that would bring energy and life to the downtown area. The Hinesville Renaissance Strategic Vision and Plan (RSVP) incorporates the voices of community members, civic leaders, business owners, and major downtown stakeholders to create a cohesive, community-supported concept for the future. The RSVP approach relies on three basic questions to evaluate current conditions in the community, address issues to ensure success, and create a roadmap to enacting Hinesville’s vision for the future: Where are we now? Where are we going? How do we get there? Answers to these key questions provided the foundation for the eight-month strategic visioning effort outlined in this report.

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T H E R E N A I S S A N C E S T R AT E G I C V I S I O N I N G A N D P L A N N I N G

Three Step Process STEP 1

Wh e re a re we now?

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To know where you are going, it helps to know where you have been. Step One of the RSVP process provides a fundamental understanding of current conditions in Hinesville through an extensive public engagement and research process.

ST E P 2

Wh e re a re we going? In the second step of the RSVP process, the community looks to the future to shape the shared vision for Hinesville that emerged in Step One. Built on the community desires and strengths discovered in community input sessions, in Step Two Hinesville’s community vision is interpreted through illustrations and design recommendations. Step Two also involves creating a rendered illustrative masterplan showcasing the ideal vision for downtown Hinesville. 3

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implementation plan

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During the final step in the RSVP process, community leaders come together to create an implementation plan and one-year work program to move Hinesville toward the community’s vision for the future. By focusing on achievable implementation items that harness community support, Step Three builds momentum while helping to enact the shared community vision in a step-by-step process.

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Hinesville residents discuss assets and issues facing the city at the RSVP town hall meeting.

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This planning effort began with a robust public input process that encompassed multiple one-on-one interviews, focus groups, an open community town hall meeting, a survey with more than 750 responses, a comprehensive analysis of community demographic and economic trends, and a thorough plan review. The resulting Hinesville RSVP incorporates the desires of the community in a focused vision for the future of downtown. As part of this process, community members identified both the major strengths of the area and priorities that must be addressed for downtown to reach its full potential. Though many issues were identified during this process, nearly all participants agreed on one top priority: creating a vibrant downtown with a diverse array of dining, family-friendly activities, and entertainment options. Because Hinesville’s historic downtown core was left behind in the growth of past decades, many see a need to focus on this area, prioritizing the downtown infill and mixed-use development necessary to make downtown the vibrant and active hub the community desires.


“ THOUGH

M A N Y I S S U ES W E R E I D E N T I F I E D D U R I N G T H I S P R O C ES S , N E A R LY A L L PA RT I C I PA N T S AG R E E O N O N E TO P P R I O R I T Y:

creating a vibrant downtown with a diverse array of dining, family-friendly activities, and entertainment options.” This effort includes creating an identity for downtown, making the area more user-friendly, targeting blighted and vacant properties for redevelopment, and establishing incentives to spur the creation of a thriving downtown destination for all ages. A key component of building a dynamic and prosperous downtown is ensuring that Hinesville residents have diverse housing options in downtown and adjacent neighborhoods. This includes providing new types of housing in mixed-use developments that incorporate apartments and townhomes within commercial and office buildings in the city’s urban core. This also means expanding affordable housing options in the existing neighborhoods around downtown and protecting the current housing stock from degradation or from being transformed into other types of uses. While the local community puts a priority on growing downtown, many recognize the importance of honoring Hinesville’s heritage and ensuring that long-time residents are not left behind in new development. Celebrating Liberty County’s vibrant African American heritage and preserving important cultural landmarks will ensure that Hinesville’s character is not lost in future waves of development. Making efforts to integrate the community’s rich heritage, whether through art, signage, or other means, should be seen as a priority in all improvement efforts.

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The Georgia Southern University Liberty Campus opened in 2016.

Photo: Georgia Southern University

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Throughout the public input process, many residents praised ongoing investment and expansion efforts at Georgia Southern’s Liberty Campus. Already home to 500 college students, Georgia Southern has indicated plans to expand campus facilities in the coming years. Many residents and business owners support expanding the presence of Georgia Southern in the area as these additional students bring life and economic activity to downtown Hinesville. In addition to increasing the number of students, GSU is developing other facilities that will benefit the local community. For instance, through the University Business Innovation Group’s planned business incubator and other elements, many community leaders see the benefit of integrating college students into the downtown community through creative, home-grown businesses and housing. Local leaders view attracting more college students downtown as one way of helping to create the energetic downtown destination desired by community members. As with the transformative revitalization of downtown Columbus following the relocation of Columbus State’s College of the Arts, working to build a more student-focused culture downtown could benefit Hinesville for decades to come.

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T H I S WO R D C LO U D R E P R ES E N T S H OW R ES I D E N T S D ES C R I B E T H E I R V I S I O N O F H I N ESV I L L E I N 1 0 TO 1 5 Y E A R S . T H E S I Z E O F T H E WO R D C O R R E L AT ES TO H OW O F T E N I T WAS SA I D D U R I N G T H E P U B L I C I N P U T P R O C ES S .

Throughout this process, a dedicated group of local citizens, business leaders, volunteers, and government officials convened under the leadership of the city and the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority to refine desired priorities and guide development of the final plan. This group, called the Hinesville RSVP Steering Committee, reviewed and honed the hundreds of individual public responses to determine the community’s top concerns. The resulting top priorities listed on the next page guided the strategies and designs found throughout this plan.

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T H E H I N E S V I L L E R E N A I S S A N C E S T R AT E G I C V I S I O N A N D P L A N

Top Issues • Prioritize Streetscape Improvements Create a • Improve Bradwell Park Downtown Destination • Determine Boundaries and Focus Growth Downtown • Attract Activities and Events for Families and Adults

Establish a Housing Working Group for the Intown Area

Create Downtown Development Incentives and Ordinances (Carrots and Sticks)

Celebrate African American Heritage

• Separate the Housing Initiative from the Downtown Planning Process

• Formalize a Working Group • Continue Ongoing Efforts

• Attract Mixed-Use Infill Development • Address Vacant Properties • Review and Update Existing Incentives and Ordinances • Consider Creating a Downtown Arts and Cultural District

• Work to Incorporate Murals, Plaques, and More Downtown

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| D OW N TOW N H I N ESV I L L E

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Create a Downtown Destination 21


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The Hinesville Farmer’s Market is held downtown every Thursday.

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f all the ideas presented by community members during Step One of the RSVP process, one issue cut across all demographics. Whether through the community town hall, in response to the survey, or in interviews and focus groups, every group of Hinesville residents expressed a desire for a vibrant downtown that matches the energy, vitality, and diversity of this growing community. Downtown Hinesville is currently an active destination for business, banking, and government institutions, but it lacks cultural, artistic, and entertainment opportunities that will keep people coming downtown after offices close at 5:00. Fundamentally, locals want a downtown that offers diversity and life, with plenty to see and do throughout the day and into the evening hours. Many see the need to focus on making downtown “alive after five� with restaurants, family attractions, and entertainment to draw community members to the area after regular business hours.

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Residents want a downtown that offers a variety of activities and events appropriate for all residents. For the community’s growing families, many desire a downtown with childfriendly entertainment and activities, including businesses like ice cream parlors and features like a downtown splash pad. Young professionals, parents, and retirees all see increasing the number of dining options downtown as a potential community draw, with many favoring outdoor and café dining to enliven Hinesville streets and bring evening activity downtown. Additionally, many expressed an interest in expanding arts and cultural programming downtown, specifically by developing an event venue for outdoor performances as well as a flexible indoor entertainment venue. Many community members also favored “greening” downtown by adding tree cover and more vegetation to make the area more hospitable and attractive to all groups. By providing shade and making the area more inviting, landscaping helps address some of the major impediments to more people coming downtown. Hinesville residents see the need to focus on downtown first, attracting the vibrant businesses and variety of entertainment necessary to create a stable and inviting downtown that will expand the commercial opportunities downtown beyond the traditional 9-5 workday. In pursuit of this goal, all designs and renderings included in the RSVP focus on a central business district within the boundaries of

Hinesville’s downtown development authority area. Additional concepts are provided for a more centralized arts and cultural district that is intended to become a hub of local activity and a destination attractive to all ages and all members of the Hinesville community. In short, this plan provides four primary recommendations that, if enacted, will promote this centralized hub of activity. Hinesville must prioritize expanded streetscaping, update the design of Bradwell Park to serve as an attraction for the entire community, promote downtown redevelopment, and attract the downtown resident population necessary to support downtown businesses. As Hinesville moves toward implementing this vision, local leaders must work to incorporate the traits that make the community special. This includes making a commitment to celebrate the diverse community and heritage of Hinesville and Liberty County.

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Hinesville Conceptual Masterplan

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uilt on the input of hundreds of community members, the Hinesville Conceptual Masterplan incorporates the top issues identified by local residents to create an active, welcoming, attractive, and more vibrant future for downtown Hinesville. The plan identifies locations for key streetscape improvements, including planted medians and bump-outs. The plan identifies sites for dozens of proposed street trees that will improve walkability, enhance the aesthetic appeal of downtown, and provide environmental benefits. Finally, the plan lays out a vision of an expanded Bradwell Park and flexible event area in the heart of downtown. This three-block area, centered on a rejuvenated Bradwell Park, is meant to become a central hub of activity downtown. This area is referred to as the “HiLi Arts and Cultural District� throughout this plan to underscore its potential as a driver of future development downtown. Streets in the HiLi Arts and Cultural District feature high-quality pavers, a pedestrian-friendly element that elevates the appearance of an area. In addition, the streets around Bradwell Park are designed with removable bollards that enable streets to be closed for major events. The plan also identifies key infill development locations in the district. Attracting mixed-use development at these sites could create a stable, 24-hour resident population downtown that would support local businesses and boost the area’s vitality. If fully implemented, these improvements could forever reshape the community, improve the local quality of life, and ensure a vibrant community center that reflects the unique character and future of Hinesville.

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D OW N TOW N H I N ESV I L L E

Masterplan

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ROADS & ON-STREET PARKING

CROSSWALKS & UPGRADED PAVING

KEY INFILL DEVELOPMENT SITES

HILI ARTS & CULTURAL DISTRICT

EXPANDED BUMP-OUTS & PARKS

LARGE CANOPY STREET TREES Laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia), Willow oak (Quercus Phellos), Blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica), Plane tree (Platanus x Acerifolia)

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| MEMORIAL DRIVE

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C R E AT E A D OW N TOW N D ES T I N AT I O N :

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g n i p a c s t Stree

esidents and local leaders involved in Step One of the RSVP process agreed that updated streetscaping along Memorial Drive has made entering downtown attractive and has bolstered development along the corridor. Residents approve of the high quality and local character evident in the Memorial Drive streetscaping, which features elements like an attractive landscaped traffic circle, live oak–planted medians, and brick crosswalks. Like Hinesville’s well-built public buildings, streetscaping along Memorial Drive sets a high standard that informs redevelopment along the corridor. Many of the participants in the public input process praised ongoing efforts to improve Hinesville’s streets, and they welcomed the idea of extending high-quality streetscaping elements found along Memorial Drive to Main Street and to other areas within the downtown core, including increasing the number of street trees and the amount of vegetation downtown. These installations will make the area more attractive and pedestrian friendly while also providing other community and environmental benefits. Wide sidewalks, safe crosswalks, planted bump-outs and medians, more street trees, and additional streetscaping elements facilitate pedestrian connectivity throughout downtown and help create the attractive, vibrant, and accessible downtown environment desired by residents and visitors. The renderings that follow illustrate the impact of extending Memorial Drive’s planted medians and expanded streetscaping elements to several areas along Main Street. Streetscape renderings and the Hinesville Conceptual Masterplan found on page 26 and 27 show a series of 8’ planted medians incorporated into Main Street’s existing 50’ right-of-way. In addition to acting as pedestrian refuges and welcoming visitors, these medians could also serve as bioswales that filter and treat stormwater runoff.

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Main Street at Hinesville First Methodist Church

EXISTING, RIGHT | Main Street at Hinesville First United Methodist Church is approximately 40’ wide. The attractive median and pedestrian refuge seen in the background could be continued along unused portions of the center turn lane.

PROPOSED, ABOVE | Extending an oak-lined median in portions of the center lane creates a welcoming canopy for downtown visitors. Regular spacing in the curbing allows these medians to serve as bioswales to filter pollutants and sediment from stormwater runoff.

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Main Street at Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive PROPOSED, BELOW | Downtown’s most prominent intersection has undergone a number of improvements in this rendering. Landscaped bump-outs replace formerly striped asphalt areas, bringing much-needed shade to downtown streets. Landscaped medians just past the Liberty County Justice Center extend Memorial Drive streetscaping elements to this segment of Main Street. A prominent multistory infill building with active street-level retail brings an urban feel to this corner.

EXISTING, RIGHT | The corner of Main Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive is downtown’s most prominent intersection. Unused portions of the center turn lane could be used to extend shaded medians along this key corridor.

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Main Street at Main Street Park

EXISTING, LEFT | Main Street widens as it approaches the intersection with Hendry Street. Shown here at the new 310 Main Street building, the approximately 54’ right-of-way could be better utilized to serve potential businesses.

PROPOSED, ABOVE | This proposed design shows the same stretch of Main Street transformed by the addition of planted medians and bump-outs. Featuring fast-growing laurel oaks, these planted areas bring shade and leave visitors with a dignified impression of the community. The addition of parallel parking further boosts the appeal of this corridor to business owners.

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Commerce Street Sidewalk PROPOSED, BELOW | Extending unified streetscaping, including sidewalks and street trees, along Commerce Street visually ties this area to the rest of downtown.

EXISTING, LEFT | Commerce Street south of Hinesville City Hall lacks sidewalks, crosswalks, and other streetscaping elements.

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Main Street and Hendry Street

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EXISTING, ABOVE | Hendry Street intersects with Main Street at an odd angle, creating an unused triangle with a confusing traffic pattern. This intersection serves as a southern gateway into downtown Hinesville. PROPOSED, LEFT | Using brick crosswalks, planted medians, and a landscaped traffic circle similar to those found on Memorial Drive extends a unified feeling to Main Street. Planting oaks in landscaped areas and available lawn along the sidewalks will create an impressive shade canopy in time. Breaks in curbing seen in this and other renderings allow new medians and bump-outs to serve as bioretention sites.

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Bradwell Park Improvements 36


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ocated in the center of Hinesville, Bradwell Park was a major topic of discussion during the input process. Walled off by tall evergreens and overgrown shrubbery, this long-neglected downtown park could be significantly improved. While many locals see the park as an underperforming resource, community members recognize the potential of Bradwell Park. Home to Hinesville’s weekly Farmer’s Market, Commerce Street adjacent to Bradwell Park already regularly attracts visitors.

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C R E AT I N G A D OW N TOW N D ES T I N AT I O N

Anchored by a massive live oak and boasting a location in the heart of downtown, Bradwell Park could be improved to make this space a true community hub. Previously developed plans for Bradwell Park envisioned uses like a public parking lot, a stage area, outdoor tables, and more. However, those plans closed off Commerce Street between Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and Court Street. Following conversations with community members and downtown small business owners, Institute of Government designers developed a new plan for Bradwell Park. While incorporating favored elements found in the original concept, the proposed design shown on page 41 retains traffic and parking along Commerce Street to serve downtown businesses and events like the Farmer’s Market. Sidewalks along Commerce and Midway Street are further extended in the plan to accommodate outdoor dining and cafÊ tables, which should help nourish a vibrant street life downtown. This concept also includes retractable bollards that allow Commerce Street and the surrounding areas to be temporarily closed off for large block parties and other events. Installing attractive brick permeable pavers (appropriate examples include Pine Hall StormPave, Belgard Aqualine, Unilock Holland Premier) on these streets could also lend a festival-like atmosphere to the area while improving downtown stormwater management. To further accommodate successful events and activities, city leaders should prioritize creating nearby downtown public restroom facilities to serve a revitalized Bradwell Park. These necessary public services could be located in an adjacent storefront or be integrated into the final design of a community pavilion. Bradwell Park offers the perfect opportunity to bring life back to downtown Hinesville. Elements like an outdoor stage and a unique interactive water feature would transform the park into a community-wide attraction. Incorporating art and other elements that reference the area’s culture, diversity, and history will ensure that this is a space for all parts of the Hinesville community.

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Bradwell Park Plan

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ound by Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Commerce Street, Midway Street, and the unnamed service alley behind Main Street, Bradwell Park’s long, narrow layout poses a design challenge for any improvement plan. This concept removes angled parking adjacent to the park along Midway and Commerce Street to extend the park approximately 23’ to the north and 15’ to the east. This plan shows the north end of the park anchored with a flexible stage and a community splash pad with over 1,300 square feet of usable space. Comparable in size to the water feature at Savannah’s Ellis Square, this signature splash pad and interactive fountain is designed to be a unique community attraction for Hinesville’s growing and diverse population. Seat walls surrounding the splash pad and stage area accommodate parents or attendees at community gatherings and performances. This concept maintains the historic live oak at the center of the park and removes paving near this legacy tree to create more available rooting area. Additional plantings of live and laurel oaks ensure an expansive canopy over time. Open plaza areas at the southern and eastern ends of the park create opportunities for café tables and movable seating and offer flexible areas for programmed events. Improvements to surrounding streets include handsome permeable brick pavers, retractable bollards that can close off streets for festivals and events, and expanded sidewalks for outdoor dining along Commerce and Midway Street.

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Midway Streetscape

EXISTING, LEFT | Zum Rosenhof German Restaurant on Midway Street is Hinesville’s only spot for downtown dining and nightlife. The narrow sidewalk along Midway Street could be widened to better serve activity at this important establishment.

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Rain Garden P L A N T S E L EC T I O N S

Joe Pye Weed

Muhly Grass

Panicum Shenandoah

PROPOSED, ABOVE | Reconfiguring the layout of Midway Street could allow for extended sidewalks and more comfortable outdoor dining and entertainment. Elevated paving along Midway Street enhances the pedestrian experience and creates a distinctive ambiance for the heart of downtown. Pictured with colorful muhly grass, black-eyed Susans, and handsome laurel oaks, the expanded landscaped bump-outs shown flanking Midway Street serve as a model for bioretention gardens. Retractable bollards shown above the crosswalk allow for Midway and surrounding streets to be closed off during downtown events. Additional street trees shown in new bump-outs add shade and soften the hard lines of surrounding buildings. The flexible stage and pavilion shown in Bradwell Park extends activity into the surrounding area.

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C R E AT I N G A D OW N TOW N D ES T I N AT I O N

Bradwell Park Stage and Interactive Water Feature

PROPOSED, RIGHT | Expanding Bradwell Park to the north and east into former on-street parking opens up this space. A wider area allows for a flexible stage and pavilion with an impressive interactive water feature. Designed as a community landmark and attraction for all ages, this handsome park becomes the centerpiece of Hinesville’s downtown. Low seat walls provide seating for parents watching children and attendees at events held in the pavilion. The pavers could be permeable and installed over a suspended pavement system like Silva Cells to minimize disturbance of tree rooting areas. The design also features plantings such as Asian jasmine, shade-tolerant cast iron plants, laurel oaks, and live oaks. The plantings and materials proposed for Bradwell Park connect the park to the surrounding area, while referencing the coastal environment and culture of Liberty County.

Old World Tabby Blocks, Savannah Surfaces

Old World Tabby Pavers, Savannah Surfaces

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EXISTING, RIGHT | Bradwell Park features many diverging styles, from angular geometric pathways to classical sculpture and economically designed benches. Shown closed and covered with artificial turf, the fountain in the middle ground was commonly cited as a downtown eyesore. High shrubs limit visibility on both sides of the park, encouraging vagrancy.

Turning off the interactive water feature allows this space to serve as seating for concerts and events.

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I N T E RAC T I V E WAT E R F E AT U R E E X A M P L ES With a design similar to Portland, Oregon’s Jamison Square, this interactive water feature provides an active community destination in the heart of downtown. Well-designed water features, including the splash pad at Savannah’s Ellis Square, invite exploration and offer an affordable escape from the summer heat. Anchoring Bradwell Park with a similar attraction would offer a destination for families and help restore downtown as the heart of the community.

Jamison Square | Portland, Oregon

Ellis Square | Savannah, Georgia

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Bradwell Park Water Feature and Stage


Bradwell Park Alley EXISTING, ABOVE | The service alley adjacent to Bradwell Park is currently used for deliveries to Main Street businesses. PROPOSED, RIGHT | Adding back dining and patio spaces for Main Street businesses could bring more activity and life downtown. Festive string lights and attractive brick pavers lend a welcoming ambiance to this space. Screening trash receptacles and utilities makes this area seem well cared for.

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C R E AT I N G A D OW N TOW N D ES T I N AT I O N

EXISTING, LEFT | The downtown commercial buildings east of the historic Liberty County Courthouse are partially vacant. To the rear of the image, rundown single-story buildings add little to the downtown commercial district. One block off of Main Street, the occupied storefronts housing the Hinesville Area Arts Council and the Liberty History Center lack visibility due to undersized signage and aging awnings.

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Bradwell Park at Commerce Street PROPOSED | Streetscape improvements including brick pavers, bioretention bump-outs, and sidewalk extensions are complemented by improved signage and fully occupied storefronts. Housed within a city welcome center or public office, the addition of a public restroom adjacent to Bradwell Park provides an essential public amenity necessary for daily visitors and special events. A coastal-style infill building, at the rear of the image, adds classic Southern character to the block. A blank wall becomes a branding opportunity for the HiLi cultural district.

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Hinesville-Liberty (HiLi) Arts and Cultural District 53


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i L i H e h T The name “HiLi� reflects the extensive and long-lasting cooperation between Hinesville and Liberty County. Note, however, that this is just a conceptual name used to indicate that this area needs its own identity separate from the rest of downtown and that a distinctive name will do a lot to create that identity. If desired, local leaders could consider inviting the public to propose a name or even host a community-wide contest to name the area.

p a M t c i r H i L i D i st

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l a r u t l u C d n a s t r A District

he Hinesville RSVP Steering Committee identified the need for an arts and cultural district downtown as well as a venue that could host a variety of cultural events and provide entertainment opportunities for the Hinesville community. Many see an arts and cultural center with varied programming as an important way to keep downtown “alive after five,” with events attracting a diverse cross-section of the community. An arts and entertainment district is defined by Americans for the Arts as a “well-recognized, labeled, mixed-use area of the city in which a high concentration of arts and cultural facilities serve as the anchor attraction.” Nationally, they can be found in cities and towns of all sizes, each uniquely reflecting a local mission, history, and cultural development. Some districts succeed with thoughtful landscaping and signage, others focus on arts programming or event production, and other districts encourage renovating existing buildings and attracting complementary businesses. In Hinesville, an arts and culture district would create a focal point downtown that would prioritize social and cultural activities. These desired activities could be incentivized by various regulatory changes and supported by public arts programming and other events. The Hinesville RSVP Steering Committee recognized that such a district must have a creative name. Although local stakeholders will need to determine the district’s official name, the following section shows one name option and branding concept for the district: the HiLi Arts and Cultural District. This name was inspired by other well-known districts, such as the SoHo neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, New York City (named for its location, south of Houston Street), which is recognized for its many artists’ lofts and galleries that began to fill abandoned industrial buildings in the 1970s. The HiLi Arts and Cultural District concept recognizes the successful collaborations and cooperative projects between the City of Hinesville and Liberty County.

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HiLi Branding

arts

culture

The following concepts show how the HiLi District might be branded. There are a variety options for how the HiLi branding could work, but the goal is to give the district a distinct look and message that stands out from other areas of Hinesville so that residents and visitors know when they are within the boundaries of the arts and cultural district.

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H I L I B RA N D I N G BANNER, ABOVE | Using elements like attractive branded banners could help unify the downtown district. T-SHIRT, LEFT | Embracing a district brand could create opportunities for merchandising. T-shirt sales could support programming within the HiLi district.

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HIGHLIGHT THE HILI EVENT

A signature new evening festival or event could encourage exciting new ways to experience downtown. An evening light festival or parade could create a memorable downtown event similar to the Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade.

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Hinesville Arts and Cultural Center

In connection with the formation of an arts and cultural district, the steering committee and community input participants identified the need for a venue within the district that could host various events and performances. Currently, Hinesville has no such venues. Locals leave the area and go to Savannah or other nearby counties to attend events, often having to stay overnight in hotels—both increasing the cost for the patrons and causing Hinesville and Liberty County to miss out on potential revenue. An arts and cultural center would not only keep locals in town but would also attract visitors from other communities, providing additional revenue for downtown businesses.

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Arts and Cultural Centers:

5

after

A C OAS TA L D ES I G N E X A M P L E F R O M O RA N G E B E AC H , A L A BA M A C O A S TA L A R T S C E N T E R O F O R A N G E B E A C H , A L A B A M A BY J A C K Y R AY B A R G A N I E R A R C H I T E C T, I N C .

The City of Hinesville has demonstrated a willingness to invest in the quality and aesthetic design of its public buildings, all of which are beautiful, functional, and fit within the context of downtown’s architectural character. The proposed arts and cultural center’s architectural style, building materials, and scale should also reflect this aesthetic, the community’s culture and values, and the geographical region. The following example shows an arts and cultural center in Orange Beach, Alabama, constructed in a southern coastal style, an architectural style found in the southeastern coastal region. This architectural style would complement the many existing brick public buildings found in downtown Hinesville. Example (Below): Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach, Alabama by Jacky Ray Barganier Architect, Inc.

This arts and cultural center was constructed in the southern coastal style, featuring large porches tucked beneath deep overhangs to help cool rooms from the humid air by shading the structure’s front walls. Catering to southerners’ sense of community and their social nature, porches provide a space for people to gather. Classic architectural details give this structure an elegant sense of refinement, which reflects the nature of the arts and cultural community. Architecture firm Historical Concepts (Atlanta, New York) specializes in southern coastal architecture. The firm’s designs include civic architecture, planned communities, resorts and hospitality, and residential. | www.historicalconcepts.com


t n e m p o l e v e Infill D

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hile residents praise the high quality of Hinesville’s public buildings and are pleased with these investments downtown, not all of the buildings downtown contribute to the ultimate goal of a vibrant and active downtown. During the input process, community members overwhelmingly favored a downtown that offers more than a 9-to-5 government center. Many recognize that to create the vibrant and diverse downtown desired by the community, the building stock must be improved and expanded for both commercial and residential uses. To make downtown an active and energetic destination, Hinesville must work to attract a stable population of residents working, dining, and living downtown. Hinesville residents want high-quality mixed-use development downtown. Ensuring that new development complements the historic context and materials of downtown is important to creating the experience desired by residents. City and local leaders must look first to public property and address necessary maintenance of city- and county-owned parcels, including key properties like the former Labor Department building and public assets like Bradwell Park. Additionally, simple tools are available to guide successful infill development of vacant and underutilized lots throughout downtown, a major issue brought up in public input sessions with Hinesville residents. Using the FRESH method developed by Pratt Cassity, former director of public service and outreach at the University of Georgia’s College of Environment and Design, will ensure that future infill development is compatible with adjacent buildings in scale, height, materials, shape, orientation, rhythm, mass-void proportion, and texture, which are all essential elements of good urban design. The FRESH method helps break down these elements in a simple formula for new downtown development. By following all five elements of the FRESH method, new development will be cohesive and complementary to surrounding structures, regardless of the architectural style of the new construction.

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F

FOOTPRINT: The outline of a building as seen from above

• The footprints of new structures should reflect those of surrounding and adjacent buildings.

• New buildings should respect the established setback line and generally not protrude from it.

• The orientation of the proposed building should align with adjacent buildings.

R E S

ROOFLINE: The profile of or silhouette made by a roof or series of roofs

• The roof of new buildings should be consistent with the pitch, complexity, and orientation of existing adjacent roofs.

ENVELOPE: The outside shape or form of a building

• New infill buildings should maintain a similar size, spacing, and massing to nearby historic buildings.

• If the infill area is significantly wide, consider a series of bays. • New infill on corner lots should address the corner. SKIN: Materials used on a building’s façade

• New structures should be clad in visually and physically similar materials. • New infill façade construction should be of similar materials and colors but should not imitate features of historic styles.

• Use building materials that have a texture, pattern, and scale similar to existing structures in the district.

H

HOLES: Doors and windows

• Holes should mimic the style and pattern of openings used on surrounding structures.

• The size and proportion should mimic those of surrounding buildings. • Holes should maintain the rhythm established by adjacent buildings. 63


EXISTING, ABOVE | Shown at the intersection with Main Street, Memorial Drive has undergone a wave of reinvestment and development in the past decade. Many community members praised the appearance of Memorial Drive and would like to continue encouraging appropriate housing and mixed-use development along the corridor. PROPOSED, RIGHT | The prominent intersection of Main Street and Memorial Drive could be the perfect site for a signature multistory mixed-use building. This three-story building features brick and other design elements that match the look and feel of Memorial Drive.

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Memorial Drive Infill

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Main Street and Court Street Infill

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PROPOSED, ABOVE | This rendering shows the site of the fire-damaged properties and adjacent lot transformed with a new multistory mixed-use building. Featuring vibrant street-level commercial spaces and two stories of residences, such a building could bring a wealth of new activity and energy downtown. Faced in brick and complete with historically sensitive detailing, this development fits within the historic context of downtown.


EXISTING, BELOW | The owners of two commercial buildings damaged in a recent fire are exploring options to rebuild on this site.

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EXISTING, LEFT | Constructed in the 1940s, the vacant corner building at Main Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive was often cited as an issue during Step One of the RSVP process. Built as a hospital, this publicly owned building most recently served as Labor Department offices.

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Main Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive Infill

PROPOSED, LEFT | This rendering shows the same site as now housing a prominent multistory mixed-use infill building. With an updated classical style and timeless brick exterior, this building neatly conforms to the size, materials, and scale of surrounding institutional buildings. This building features two stories of downtown residences or offices and four ground-floor retail and restaurant spaces to bring street-level activity to this corner.

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Commerce Street Infill

EXISTING, RIGHT | The majority of the governmental buildings downtown feature traditional brick styles; however, variation is what makes places interesting. This rendering shows a new two-story, mixed-use infill building constructed in the traditional southern coastal style. This property is purchased by the city or DDA, local leaders should conduct all due diligence and be prepared to deal with potential environmental consequences

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EXISTING, RIGHT | Many noted the potential of the vacant corner building at Court and Commerce Streets. This former car wash could one day be the site of downtown mixed-use infill development.

that may exist at this former gas station. Prior to acquisition, interested parties should consider exploring Georgia Environmental Protection Division and US EPA’s brownfield programs, which provide technical assistance, planning and assessment grants, tax benefits to developers, and limitations of potential liability for qualifying projects that decontaminate and revitalize brownfield properties.

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e u s s I Top Establish a Housing Working Group

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ES TA B L I S H A H O U S I N G WO R K I N G G R O U P

O N G O I N G H O U S I N G D E V E LO P M E N T S Many residents praised efforts to bring affordable housing downtown. Photos show attractive new construction by Hineshouse Development that provides housing for disabled and formerly homeless veterans.

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hroughout the RSVP process, local residents discussed a variety of potential interventions to improve housing quality and availability in downtown neighborhoods and beyond. Hinesville’s high ratio of renter-occupied housing and the large population of service members living off base create a unique housing market in the community. Although the issue is outside the scope of a downtown-centered development plan, community leaders must take a serious look at housing availability and the condition of housing in the area. From attracting redevelopment in targeted areas and preventing blight to working to stave off gentrification, Hinesville residents discussed a variety of housing issues and priorities. Many want to build on the success of recent housing development along the Memorial Drive corridor and would like to see additional efforts like attracting senior housing and working with residents to redevelop intown properties. Many also praised Hineshouse Development and efforts aimed at solving homelessness in the community. Community leaders should consider partnering with key stakeholders, real estate professionals, veterans’ and community groups, Georgia Southern representatives, and others to create a housing working group. This group could be tasked with outlining current housing conditions in the area, gathering input from community members, and determining what community-appropriate actions should be taken to ensure quality housing growth in Hinesville.

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D OW N TOW N D E V E LO P M E N T I N C E N T I V ES & O R D I N A N C ES

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rowing a vibrant, active downtown with a thriving and diverse array of local businesses requires multiple approaches, and Hinesville will need to use all of the tools at the city’s disposal. One important tool is Hinesville’s code of ordinances. City leaders should review the development requirements and business regulations governing businesses in the downtown area, especially in the central business district, to determine whether the type of downtown development the community desires is sufficiently encouraged and incentivized. During the RSVP input process, many business owners and others indicated that Hinesville and downtown in particular can be a difficult place to start and operate a small business. While the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority (DDA) offers some attractive incentives, accessing these resources can be a daunting process for potential business owners and developers. Many downtown business owners requested a simple checklist for bringing buildings up to code, applying for necessary permits, and meeting other legal requirements. Restrictive ordinances with inconsistent enforcement has made some business owners feel unfairly targeted. Alcohol ordinances, restrictions on outdoor dining, and event permit requirements are all regular obstacles for business owners. In addition to a building stock that often needs significant renovation to meet code, these requirements can be costly obstacles for business owners. Taken together, these regulations and conditions impede the development the community most desires downtown. Because downtown Hinesville must compete with a much more highly trafficked highway corridor, restaurants and other such establishments may need regulatory incentives to locate downtown. Such incentives would reflect the community’s desire for increased development downtown, which would bring broader social and economic benefits, as well.

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Hinesville’s code of ordinances and vision must be aligned if the city’s desired future is to become a reality. The first step in achieving such alignment is to conduct a general review of regulations and practices across the downtown district, prioritizing the creation of a set of regulations that could promote the type of development the community desires in the central business district. This might be done through the creation of an overlay district for the HiLi Arts and Cultural District discussed above on page 54.

The following specific items should be considered in such an Arts and Cultural District:

Arts and Cultural District Considerations

Revising alcohol and food sales ratios to allow venues in the overlay district to receive a greater percentage of their revenue from alcohol sales

• •

Allowing outdoor sales of food and alcohol

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Easing restrictions on open containers in designated areas of the overlay district at designated times Waiving alcohol licensing fees for the first year of an existing or new establishment


Another important regulatory issue that arose during this planning process concerns blight remediation and enhanced code enforcement practices that target particularly dangerous and dilapidated properties. A number of buildings in the downtown core are structurally unsound and unusable for commercial purposes. Working with private property owners to remove this blight through voluntary methods or regulatory enforcement is a critical step to creating the conditions necessary for success downtown. Restoring these dilapidated buildings will increase the amount of much-needed space downtown for additional commercial development, and it will remove visual blight that discourages investment in new structures and other infill projects. Some potential steps to address dilapidated buildings include the following:

Blighted Properties Considerations

Reviewing code enforcement priorities and promoting enforcement of the Property Maintenance Code

Addressing any training or resource issues that may be limiting enforcement of the Property Maintenance Code

Promoting the Georgia Cities Foundation Revolving Loan Fund, which provides up to $250,000 for building rehabilitation, acquisition, and other activities

Promoting the Georgia Department of Community Affairs Downtown Development Revolving Loan Fund (DDRLF), which provides up to $250,000 for building rehabilitation, acquisition, and other activities

Establishing a local revolving loan fund or grant program for building upgrades, such as installing sprinkler systems, revamping upper-story wiring, making front and rear façade improvements, and improving signage

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Celebrate African Amercian Heritage 83


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hroughout the RSVP process, many community members mentioned that Hinesville and the surrounding area could do a better job celebrating the region’s diverse heritage and community. Many see important African American historic sites, including Hineshaw School, as gravely threatened and in need of preservation. Although some such properties are outside the scope of this downtown-focused masterplan, the Hinesville Work Program Implementation Chart at the end of this document lists resources such as national and state-level grants that could help with preserving historic properties. Additionally, local residents want investment in historically African American neighborhoods. Ensuring that areas like Rebecca Street are equipped with resources like sidewalks, streetlights, playgrounds, and more would help generate more equitable growth and community investment in Hinesville. In addition to real investment in neighborhoods, residents want to do a better job of telling a more inclusive story about Hinesville’s community, character, and heritage. Hinesville and Liberty County boast nationally and internationally significant African American cultural resources, including the Dorchester Academy in nearby Midway. Founded after the Civil War as a site for the education of freed slaves, Dorchester Academy hosted Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) Citizen Education Workshops in the early 1960s that trained Civil Rights leaders in nonviolence and civil disobedience. In 1962, Dorchester Academy hosted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the SCLC’s planning meetings for the 1963 Birmingham campaign. The legacy of Dorchester Academy is just one community narrative of many worth celebrating. Recently, the Georgia Historical Society dedicated a marker commemorating the legacy of Susie King Taylor, a Liberty County native born into slavery who later became the first black US Army nurse and the only African American woman to publish a memoir of her experiences in Civil War military service. Ms. Taylor later founded schools for former slaves in Savannah and Midway, teaching both children and adults. With an incredible life and legacy, Susie Taylor is just one example of the diverse residents and heritage of Liberty County that deserve remembrance. Working with community members and civic groups, Hinesville should consider

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developing a committee of local leaders, ministers, historians, and educators to foster the celebration of African American history in the community. This group could be tasked with developing a set of local narratives about historical figures and events worth commemorating in the community. The committee could also suggest appropriate ways of recognizing these people, stories, and places in Hinesville. Working with this group, Hinesville leaders should commit to celebrating the area’s rich history and heritage through festivals, events, murals, signage, and other means. Building on efforts like the Sankofa African American Geechee Heritage Committee’s interactive map of heritage sites across Liberty County, Hinesville should look to further develop African American heritage tourism resources, including potential heritage trails linking downtown to important cultural sites. Members of the proposed committee could tour and learn from cultural initiatives and institutions focused on the preservation of African American history and culture, such as the Coastal Heritage Society and Pinpoint Museum in Savannah, the Lucy Craft Laney Museum in Augusta, the Albany Civil Rights Institute, the Jack Hadley Black History Museum in Thomasville, the Tubman Museum in Macon, and the St. Simons African American Heritage Coalition (SSAAHC). The nearby SSAAHC could be a model to look to, as the group originated from a community initiative of concerned citizens. SSAAHC is now a nonprofit with a board of directors and various committees, with a mission “to educate, preserve, and revitalize African American heritage and culture.” SSAAHC is an example of how a community-based initiative can have an impact on local heritage preservation.

The St. Simons African American Heritage Coalition was formed by residents to preserve and revitalize important cultural sites on St. Simons Island, including the historic Harrington School. The SSAAHC helps educate the community through the annual Georgia Sea Islands Festival celebrating traditional music and art of the region and historical tours of prominent Gullah/Geechee cultural sites. See ssiheritagecoalition.org for more information.

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A F R I C A N -A M E R I C A N H E R I TAG E E X A M P L ES I N G EO R G I A

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AUGUSTA, GEORGIA, has made a commitment to celebrate African American heritage through dedicating James Brown Boulevard, erecting several monuments, and painting electrical boxes with distinctive artwork.

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After receiving a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for an African American Heritage Study, MACON, GEORGIA, developed the research into the Cotton Avenue District Walking Tour, which highlights African American cultural resources.

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In CARTERSVILLE, GEORGIA, a permanent sculpture honoring African American quilting heritage can be found on the downtown Art Walk.

Muhammad Yungai, Artist

Off the Wall, an ATLANTA-based initiative led by the WonderRoot arts organization and the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee, “works to improve the cultural and social landscape of Atlanta through creative initiatives and community partnerships,� engaging with community members and partners to create a public conversation around Civil Rights through mural arts.

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Implementation and Conclusion:

s p e t S F i r st

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I M P L E M E N TAT I O N : F I R S T S T E P S

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n Step One of the Hinesville RSVP process, local citizens overwhelmingly indicated that they want downtown to feel like a downtown. Hinesville residents want an active, vibrant local destination that offers plenty of retail, dining, and entertainment options. To realize this long-term vision, local leaders, city staff, and community members must work now to prioritize short-term projects. Breaking larger priorities into small projects with attainable outcomes will help to build momentum for long-term improvements. To do so, community members must look to what is immediately achievable. Accomplishing a few simple short-term projects over the next year or two will go a long way toward creating a thriving downtown. From planting street trees in identified locations to improving downtown crosswalks, many of the short-term projects specified here focus on publicly owned property downtown. Beginning with properties that the local government already controls, community leaders can easily complete short-term priorities that will build the momentum necessary to tackle larger improvements and generate wider investment from the private sector. First steps include working with businesses to create outdoor dining parklets, installing unique signage to direct visitors, and creating spaces for temporary events, all of which will bring regular activity and build the habit of coming downtown. Many of the economical projects highlighted here are designed to be impactful but temporary improvements. However, efforts like planting shade trees and incorporating additional vegetation into downtown will have a lasting impact for future generations, the broader community, and the larger environment, with minimal upfront investment. Of all the immediately achievable improvements Hinesville can make downtown, planting additional large-canopy street trees ranks among the easiest and cheapest, with the most return on investment. In addition to providing shade and making time spent downtown more enjoyable, regularly spaced street trees have been proven to slow traffic, creating safer conditions for pedestrians in downtown areas. Properly sited shade trees can also significantly reduce utility costs for adjacent property owners. Hinesville civic and community leaders should see every empty planting bed and vacant lot as an opportunity to plant trees. Involving the community in the planting of trees will also help build a feeling of investment in downtown across Hinesville’s growing and diverse community.

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T H E FO L LOW I N G L A R G E- CA N O P Y T R E ES A R E R EC O M M E N D E D FO R D OW N TOW N :

Live oak (Quercus virginiana)

Laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia)

Shumard oak (Quercus shumardii)

Willow oak (Quercus phellos)

Black gum (Nyssa sylvatica)

American elm (Ulmus americana ‘New Harmony’)

T H E FO L LOW I N G S M A L L- CA N O PY A N D O R N A M E N TA L T R E ES A R E R EC O M M E N D E D FO R D OW N TOW N :

Natchez crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica ‘Natchez’)

Muscogee crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica ‘Muskogee’)

Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia)

American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana)

*Recommended for planting beds greater than 200 square feet

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I M P L E M E N TAT I O N : F I R S T S T E P S

Tree planting should also be seen as a way to integrate downtown planning efforts with larger scale county-wide and regional efforts to address hazard preparedness, flooding issues, water quality, and related issues. All of these elements are bundled together under the concept of “community resilience,� and multiple state and federally funded projects are currently working with stakeholders in this community to enhance community resilience. Few things are as valuable to community resilience as planting trees; therefore, expanding the downtown tree canopy can provide numerous additional benefits to the larger community through this effort.

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Tree Inventory

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I M P L E M E N TAT I O N : F I R S T S T E P S

Crape Murder Improperly pruning crape myrtles destroys the beautiful adult form that these trees are known for. This practice prevents trees from reaching their potential to offer shade and year-round beauty.

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CRIM • S S CRO

NOT CENE • DO N O D • OT CROSS • SCENE C R IM E S C E N E M I R E • DO NOT C RCORSOSS•S C•RCIM E SCENE • D NOT O O NOT CROS D • E S • C R IM E N E C S E M I R SS • C O R C NOT O D • NE E SCE S • CRIM S O R C T O N SCENE • DO E M I R C • S O NOT CROS D • E N E C S ME ROSS • CRI C T O N O D SCENE •

CE N E • D O N O T CROSS • C R IM E S C E N E • DO NOT C R O S S • C R IM E S C E N E • D O N O T C R O SS • CRI

• C R IM NOT CROSS SCENE • DO O S S • C R IM E • DO NOT CR R IM E S C E N E T CROSS • C ENE • DO NO

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I M P L E M E N TAT I O N : F I R S T S T E P S

Crape Murder EXISTING, LEFT | These improperly pruned crape myrtles along US-84 are little more than unattractive sticks for several months of the year. PROPOSED, BELOW | Allowing these trees to grow and planting on both sides of the street creates a mass of majestic ornamental trees with year-round appeal at this prominent downtown gateway. This would create a sense of arrival to the downtown.

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Crape Murder PROPOSED, BELOW | Correcting years of improper cultural practices can restore Hinesville’s crape myrtles and allow them to grow and contribute to downtown over time.

EXISTING, LEFT | Improper pruning of crape myrtles leads to short, disfigured trees with limited aesthetic appeal and shade.

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I M P L E M E N TAT I O N : F I R S T S T E P S

City Hall Streetscape PROPOSED, BELOW | Planting long-lived laurel or live oaks in larger planting beds ensures a welcoming canopy of shade downtown. In smaller planting strips with minimal rooting area, smaller trees like Natchez crape myrtles provide both shade and attractive ornamental features. This rendering shows the unused tree grate removed to address concerns about the narrow sidewalk width and trees that are planted in the grass buffer.

EXISTING, LEFT | Much of the sidewalk and parking lot in front of Hinesville City Hall is unshaded. In a hot, downtown environment with plenty of paved area like this, trees are essential to make walking downtown enjoyable year-round.

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Trees at Bump-outs EXISTING, RIGHT | Many streets in downtown Hinesville already feature planted bump-outs at intersections. Unfortunately, few if any of these bump-outs feature shade trees. PROPOSED, ABOVE | Planting large-canopy street trees in Hinesville’s existing downtown bump-outs maximizes the potential of these public investments. Adding shade in heavily paved areas makes spending time downtown far more enjoyable in the summer months.

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Quick Fixes 1

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T R E E G R AT E W I T H M I S S I N G T R E E

BROKEN STREET LIGHT

EXISTING | The city and local government must look at themselves first before asking others to address outstanding maintenance issues. This empty tree grate along Main Street represents a significant public infrastructure investment going unutilized.

EXISTING | As with publicly owned properties that need maintenance, broken streetscape elements send the signal that downtown is uncared for.

PROPOSED | Ensuring all tree grates are occupied must be a first step before asking the community for more investment downtown. Insisting on large-canopy street trees makes this community investment, shown planted with a laurel oak, a lasting contribution to downtown.

PROPOSED | Prioritizing the proper maintenance and repair of public streetscape elements and publicly owned properties sends the signal that downtown is worthy of care and investment.

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QUICK FIXES:

Bus Shelter Repairs

EXISTING, ABOVE | This crumpled, falling map encased at the bus shelter at Main Street Park sends a negative signal to visitors. PROPOSED, OPTION 2 | Replacing broken elements at public facilities shows that the city cares about the appearance of downtown.

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PROPOSED, OPTION 2 | Using this and other opportunities to promote the downtown brand could increase a feeling of investment in downtown.

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The historic Liberty County Jail was built in 1892 and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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EXISTING, LEFT | With 58’ of available right-of-way, Main Street at the Historic Liberty County Jail could easily be restriped to accommodate additional on-street parking.

Main Street Parking Solutions AT T H E H I S T O R I C L I B E R T Y C O U N T Y J A I L PROPOSED, BELOW | Restriping Main Street south of Bagley Avenue to accommodate on-street parking could boost business along this corridor.

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Liberty Crosswalk

Throughout the public input process, Hinesville residents said that patriotic elements were lacking in downtown. As a military community in close proximity to Fort Stewart, residents felt that downtown should have a more patriotic and welcoming presence for military personnel and families. Crosswalk designs, like the concept shown above, could be incorporated into downtown and painted by local artists and volunteers. Crosswalks could have a patriotic theme, celebrating American history and the valor and accomplishments of Fort Stewart’s 3rd Infantry Division, which has played major roles in the US Army since World War I.

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I M P L E M E N TAT I O N : F I R S T S T E P S

Tank X-ing T-Shirts Most drivers entering Hinesville and Liberty County drive through Fort Stewart, where they will see TANK XING signs—not a sign found just anywhere! This unique sign only found on military bases is a symbol of pride that all Hinesville and Liberty County residents recognize and share. The tank crossing sign could be used on a variety of merchandise, such as the t-shirts shown below, to help brand the area and cater to a patriotic and military-friendly market.

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Crosswalk Solutions AT H I N E S V I L L E C I T Y H A L L

EXISTING, ABOVE | Busy Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive in front of Hinesville City Hall lacks a crosswalk, compromising the safety of both pedestrians and drivers.

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Installing a crosswalk at this frequently traveled intersection shows that Hinesville values the safety and experience of pedestrians.

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This prominent intersection could prove a worthy home for the Liberty Crosswalk design.

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If desired, installing a brick crosswalk made of materials in keeping with the Main Street streetscaping extends a cohesive appearance throughout downtown.

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EXISTING, LEFT | The intersection of Court and Main Street lacks a defined crosswalk and features two prominent vacant walls. Large beauty strips on both sides of Court Street have been left unplanted.

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PROPOSED | Installing a crosswalk here signals to drivers that they must stop for pedestrians.

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PROPOSED | This whimsical take on a traditional crosswalk references the tank crossings at Fort Stewart, imparting some local character.


Crosswalk Solutions AT C O U R T S T R E E T

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PROPOSED | The addition of vinyl signs indicating the availability and direction of public parking could encourage use of this resource.

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PROPOSED | Adding trees to both beauty strips along Court Street improves the appearance of this intersection while bringing shade.

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Crosswalk Solutions AT M I D WAY S T R E E T

EXISTING, ABOVE | Narrow Midway Street, across from Bradwell Park, already features planted bump-outs, on-street parking, and an attractive brick crosswalk. Unfortunately, repeated topping of the crape myrtle pictured has created an unattractive specimen. Visitors to downtown are likely unaware that a more accommodating public parking lot exists just past the Southern Roots building on the right. PROPOSED, RIGHT | This rendering shows the bare brick wall on the left being used to creatively draw visitors to the rear parking lot. Replacing the exhausted crape myrtle with a larger canopy laurel oak or black gum tree would create a more attractive and useful landscape throughout the year. This rendering also shows a tree added to the planting bed on the right. Over time, this arrangement will allow a canopy of shade to form over Midway Street.

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I M P L E M E N TAT I O N : F I R S T S T E P S

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EXISTING, LEFT | Main Street already features many attractive streetscaping elements, including brick-bordered concrete sidewalks, brick curb ramps and crosswalks, uniform streetlights, and more. The bare wall of the building at Pine and Main Street creates an opportunity for a mural or other signage. This area also lacks a crosswalk across Pine Street.

Main Street at Pine Street

1 PROPOSED, OPTION 1 | A 1950s-themed sign directs visitors to additional parking while connecting to Hinesville’s booming past.

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PROPOSED, OPTION 2 | This rendering shows the impact that freshly striped crosswalks and parking lines can make. Regularly repainting crosswalks and parking lines shows that Hinesville prioritizes the experience of visiting downtown. These simple cues create a safer experience for both drivers and pedestrians.

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PROPOSED, OPTION 3 | Planting large-canopy trees in existing bump-outs maximizes the impact of existing infrastructure.

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4 PROPOSED, OPTION 4 | Constructing an additional bump-out at the intersection with Pine Street creates an even safer and more welcoming pedestrian crossing.

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MAIN STREET AT PINE STREET

Long Term

Installing a planted center median here further enhances the experience of visiting downtown.

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I M P L E M E N TAT I O N : F I R S T S T E P S

EXISTING, ABOVE | Hinesville residents frequently cited the former car wash at the corner of Commerce Street and Court Street downtown as in need of maintenance and reinvestment. EXISTING, ABOVE | Although this property offers long-term redevelopment potential, working in the short term to stabilize and bring activity to this property could help build the destination desired by local residents. Attracting regular food trucks to this site, located just across from the Liberty County Courthouse, could draw visitors and bring some variety to downtown dining options. The addition of movable tables and chairs, festive banners, potted succulents, string lights, and rattan screening helps create a fun ambiance.

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Food Truck Park

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Restaurant Parklet EXISTING, LEFT | Zum Rosenhof German Restaurant helps generate evening activity downtown. While the restaurant features an outdoor table, the narrow sidewalk prevents extensive outdoor dining.

PROPOSED, ABOVE | Working with the restaurant to construct a temporary parklet could allow for expanded outdoor dining at this popular spot. This Bavarian-inspired parklet occupies three parking spaces, creating room for several additional tables and chairs. This concept could be tested during community events or even an Octoberfest celebration.

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Squeeze Alley EXISTING, RIGHT | The narrow utility space between Molly Maxine and the former KC Flowers & Gifts connects Main Street to Bradwell Park.

PROPOSED, ABOVE | Installing bold signage here could create a fun new activity for children and families downtown. This signage also helps spread the word that Bradwell Park lies just behind these Main Street businesses. Creating a district-themed window display helps promote the space.

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Library Playground

EXISTING, ABOVE | The beautiful new public library on Memorial Drive has already become an important and popular community attraction. PROPOSED, RIGHT | The vacant lot adjacent to the library parking area is a perfect location for a community playground. Using muted colors and materials like brick helps this playground blend into the overall look of Memorial Drive. Adding trees alongside the parking lot benefits both library patrons and playground users.

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LONG TERM | In the long-term, adding hardscaping and a children’s splash pad could make the library a family attraction unlike any other. Envisioned as an educational feature similar to Memphis’ Mud Island, this splash pad could be designed to tell the story of the Canoochee, Ogeechee, and other rivers flowing into the Georgia coast.

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EXISTING, ABOVE | The former Labor Department building at the corner of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and Main Street was frequently cited as a blighted property in need of redevelopment. While the permanent redevelopment of this site is in the works, the city and other stakeholders should consider temporary uses that can activate this space and draw more positive attention in the short term. PROPOSED, RIGHT | Using this prominent vacant lot as a temporary outdoor market space or food truck park could draw more activity downtown. Encouraging a more vibrant downtown with temporary events and activities helps build the case for more permanent redevelopment.

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Indie Market

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Implementation and Conclusion:

m a r g o r P k r o W

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D

owntown Hinesville’s work program chart guides implementation of the Downtown Hinesville RSVP by identifying the resources required to reach the community’s vision for downtown. Through a series of action items, the plan communicates the “when, what, and who” critical to community implementation. While some action items are ideally suited for implementation by local government, others are more appropriate for private investors, and many can be easily undertaken by citizen volunteers and local civic groups. Action items should guide volunteers, local officials, and private property owners by spelling out what needs to be completed, what resources are required, and who is responsible for implementation. A well-developed action plan serves as a blueprint for the project managers to break down a sweeping community vision into smaller, more manageable action items. Any design concept or idea included in the RSVP could serve as a future action item if a designated lead is assigned to oversee implementation efforts and develop concrete steps to complete the project. Action items should meet the criteria for “SMART” (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based) goals. Use of the SMART process allows the community’s vision for downtown Hinesville to become a reality through practical and achievable steps.

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General Downtown Projects LEAD: Main Street Manager Downtown Visual Audit of Public Properties and Rights-of-Way

Repair City and County Issues from Audit

PARTNERS: City Manager; Public Works Department FUNDING: General Fund Short-term | March 2020

LEAD: Main Street Manager PARTNERS: City Manager; County Administer FUNDING: General Fund Short-term | May 2020

LEAD: Main Street Manager

Shade Tree Plantings

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PARTNERS: City Manager; Public Works Department FUNDING: TBD; Local Fundraising; General Fund RESOURCES: The Georgia Forestry Commission provides technical support and other resources for urban and community trees through the Community Forests Assistance Program. Read more here and here. Short-term | March 2020


Download a digital copy at https://issuu.com/rsvpstudio/ docs/hinesville_rsvp for links to more resources.

Implement Proper Maintenance Standards for Crape Myrtles

LEAD: City Manager PARTNERS: Public Works Department; UGA Extension FUNDING: N/A RESOURCES: See the UGA Extension website or agent for more information on proper pruning techniques. Short-term | March 2020

LEAD: City Manager

Identify and Install Signage at Downtown’s Largest Tree

PARTNERS: Public Works Department FUNDING: DDA EXAMPLES: Bainbridge, Georgia; Thomasville, Georgia; and Brunswick, Georgia Short-term | May 2020

LEAD: Georgia Southern Business Innovation Group (BIG); City Manager Partner with Georgia Southern to Create a Business Incubator

PARTNERS: Coastal Regional Commission; Downtown Development Authority (DDA); Dan McRae FUNDING: Grants, DDA Funds RESOURCES: US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) Short-term | May 2020

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I M P L E M E N TAT I O N : WO R K P R O G RA M

Downtown Arts and Culture District Projects

LEAD: DDA; Main Street Manager

Define District Boundary

PARTNERS: City Manager; Mayor and Council; Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission (LCPC) FUNDING: N/A EXAMPLES: Bainbridge, Georgia, Open Container District, Hapeville: ARTICLE 28. - A-D Zone (Arts District Overlay) Short-term | March 2020

LEAD: DDA; Main Street Manager

Determine a District Name

PARTNERS: Mayor and Council; City Manager FUNDING: N/A EXAMPLES: City Market (Savannah), Midtown (Atlanta), Beltline (Atlanta), The Square (Gainesville) Short-term | March 2020

LEAD: DDA; Main Street Manager

District Branding and Rollout

PARTNERS: Mayor and Council; City Manager FUNDING: DDA Funds; General Funds EXAMPLES: Copper Basin and Hawkinsville Short-term | April 2020

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e.g.: café seating, alcohol regulatory adjustments, parklets, etc.

Update Code of Ordinances

LEAD: Mayor and Council; DDA; Main Street Manager PARTNERS: LCPC; City Manager FUNDING: N/A EXAMPLES: Gainesville: Sec. 9-9-6-4. – Pedestrian-scale development Sec. 6-4-89. – Open area and patio sales Chapter 6-13. – Sidewalk cafes Villa Rica: Article XIV. – Sidewalk cafes Dalton: Sec. 6-9. – Possession in public places Sec. 6-10. – Sidewalk cafes, open area and patio sales Statesboro: Downtown business incentives

Short-term | March 2020

LEAD: DDA; Main Street Manager

Public Art & Programming

PARTNERS: Hinesville Area Arts Council; Liberty Melting Pot of Art FUNDING: DDA Funds; General Funds; Grants RESOURCES: National Endowment for the Arts • Our Town Grant Program • Public Humanities Project Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA) – Project and Arts Education Grants Short-term | April 2020

Create African American Heritage Murals

LEAD: African American Heritage Committee; Hinesville Area Arts Council; Liberty Melting Pot of Art PARTNERS: DDA; City Manager; Main Street Manager FUNDING: Grants RESOURCES: GCA Project and Arts Education Grants Short-term | March 2020

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LEAD: Main Street Manager; DDA

Identify Locations and Install Parklets

PARTNERS: LCPC FUNDING: Local Merchant Grants; DDA Funds RESOURCES: National Association of Realtors •How-to Guide •Placemaking Grant Short-term | March 2020

LEAD: DDA; Main Street Manager

Crosswalk Design and Implementation

PARTNERS: Public Works FUNDING: DDA Funds; General Funds; Grants RESOURCES: GCA - Project and Arts Education Grants Short-term | Fall 2020

Streetscape Improvements

LEAD: Mayor and Council; City Manager

Streetscape Improvements

PARTNERS: LCPC; Main Street Manager FUNDING: TBD; Based on Engineering RESOURCES: Georgia Department of Transportation Alternatives Program Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) Transportation Special Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) Short-term | TBD

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Green Infrastructure Streetscape Improvements

LEAD: Mayor and Council; City Manager PARTNERS: Planning Department; Main Street Manager FUNDING: TBD; Based on Engineering RESOURCES: Georgia Environmental Finance Authority: Clean Water State Revolving Fund Section 319(h) Georgia’s Nonpoint Source Implementation Grant National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF): National Coastal Resilience Fund Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program

Long-term | Three to Seven Years

Connect Bryant Commons with Downtown: Ryon Avenue Realignment

Main Street and Hendry Street Intersection Improvements

LEAD: City Manager; Mayor and Council PARTNERS: Hinesville Public Works Department; LCPC FUNDING: SPLOST; General Fund Long-term | Three to Seven Years

LEAD: City Manager; Mayor and Council PARTNERS: LCPC FUNDING: SPLOST; General Fund Short-term | January 2022

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LEAD: Main Street Manager; Mayor and Council; City Manager

Bradwell Park Improvements

PARTNERS: Public Works Department; LCPC; Consultants FUNDING: SPLOST; General Fund RESOURCES: Georgia State Parks’ Land Water Conservation Fund Hotel and Motel Tax and Tourism (Georgia Municipal Association) SPLOST See Green Infrastructure Streetscape Project Funding Long-term | Three to Seven Years

LEAD: Liberty County Library; County and City Install a Splash Pad and Playground at Hinesville Library

PARTNERS: Liberty County Recreation Department; Mayor and Council FUNDING: SPLOST; General Fund; Grants Long-term | January 2022

Preserve Hinesville Shaw (Hineshaw) Rosenwald School and Develop African American Heritage Tourism Resources

LEAD: African American Heritage Committee; Liberty County School System PARTNERS: Sankofa African American Geechee Heritage Committee; Liberty County Historical Society FUNDING: TBD; Grants RESOURCES: Georgia Department of Natural Resources: Georgia Heritage Grant Program National Park Service: Historic Preservation Fund Grants African American Civil Rights Grants Long-term | January 2022

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LEAD: PARTNERS: FUNDING: RESOURCES:

Timeline:

LEAD: PARTNERS: FUNDING: RESOURCES:

Timeline:

LEAD: PARTNERS: FUNDING: RESOURCES:

Timeline:

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Hinesville RSVP  

Hinesville RSVP