Garden City officials pass urban redevelopment plan - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Garden City officials pass urban redevelopment plan

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Garden City is on track to get a "face lift."

The city council has passed an urban redevelopment plan they hope will bring investment to some of the city's older areas and neglected neighborhoods. One of those areas is the Highway 21 gateway in the northern part of the city.

The city wants to update codes and architectural standards to encourage developers to invest and the hope is that will refresh the commercial corridor along Augusta Road, which is already one of the busiest in the county.

"The daily trips, the traffic counts are there. Now we've got to do things off the road to try to recruit, if you will, and incentivize folks to come in and make the investment,” said the city manager for Garden City, Ron Feldner.

The city's vision is a revitalized Highway 21 with new retailers, more attractive buildings, and updated landscaping.

That corridor is just one of three areas the redevelopment plan is focused on, though. The city is also looking at increasing development along Ogeechee and Dean Forrest roads and revamping residential areas west of Highway 21.

The neighborhood they're focused on meets the state standards to be classified as a slum.

"That is a section of town that has a very high poverty rate, a lot of those are older homes,” said Garden City Mayor Don Bethune.

And some of the homes have been abandoned for months.

"Yes, it's old and past. You could look at the houses and see some of them need working on,” said Wanda Small, lives in proposed redevelopment area.

The redevelopment plan makes the city more competitive for grants from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. This week, the city is applying for a $300,000 grant that would fund home improvements in this neighborhood.

"We need the help, we need the help...I know I need the help,” said Ernestine Howard, lives in proposed redevelopment area.

Howard, 90, has lived here for five decades and hopes her house will be on the repair list.

"My husband used to do a little carpenter work, but he's been gone so long now. He can't do it,” said Howard.

It could mean a new face for this old neighborhood, and the mayor told WTOC the entire plan is about a new future for Garden City.

"It's not a plan that we're going to talk about tomorrow and then not talk about anymore,” said Bethune.

At this point, no tax dollars are budgeted for the plan. The mayor told WTOC they're eager to seek out as many grants as possible first.

To read the full urban redevelopment plan, click here.

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