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Rockdale sets hearing on revitalization

CONYERS — The public is invited to a hearing next week to discuss and learn more about Rockdale County’s proposed Urban Redevelopment Plan that will include an opportunity zone west of the city of Conyers.

The hearing will be held at 6 p.m., Tuesday at the BOC Assembly Hall, located at 901 N. Main St., Conyers. The meeting is being held in collaboration with the Rockdale County Department of Planning and Development and the Conyers-Rockdale Economic Development Council.

The Board of Commissioners approved a resolution last week to redevelop 1,600 acres of mostly industrial property north of Interstate 20 and between the city of Conyers and the DeKalb County line. The plan is to re-examine current land uses and find ways to attract business and identify needs in the area. The area has seen a decline in activity in recent years and includes deteriorating structures and environmental hazards.

“The county envisions (the area’s) revitalization with a diversity of quality buildings and places that will offer flexible office, research and development, and warehousing space, supported by limited commercial and residential activities,” County Planner Catherine Mercier-Baggett said in a prepared statement. “The increase in the mix of land uses and structures is expected to help improve the quality of life for all Rockdale residents and businesses.”

County planners said having an Urban Redevelopment Plan is a first step in the process to promote redevelopment. Establishing an opportunity zone is another step.

The opportunity zone program is overseen by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and offers tax credit for the creation of new jobs. At least 65 opportunity zones across Georgia have been approved by DCA, including in the cities of Covington, Social Circle, Eatonton, and Clayton and Gwinnett counties, Mercier-Baggett said.

The county’s opportunity zone would operate under the same rules as the city of Conyers’ opportunity zone, which is going through the public hearing process for a 141-acre tract running from West Avenue and Ga. Highway 138 and between Green Street and Dogwood Drive.

The BOC will consider public comments from Tuesday’s meeting and take action on the final urban redevelopment plan next month. Opportunity zone designation could be finalized by December.

For more information, email the Department of Planning and Development by at planning@rockdalecounty.org, or call 770 278-7100.