This house in Porterdale is located on Beech St.
PORTERDALE -- The City Council adopted a resolution establishing an Urban Redevelopment Plan at a called meeting Jan. 26.
Adoption of the plan is an important step in an ongoing effort to boost economic development in the town, according to Dave Van De Weghe, principal planner for the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission, the agency that developed the plan. An Urban Redevelopment Plan is a prerequisite for the city to receive designations for an Opportunity Zone or as a Revitalization Area Strategy.
The plan will also give weight to the city's application for a Community Development Block Grant to improve substandard housing. That grant application is in the works and is expected to be completed by April 2. Grant awards will be announced in October.
According to Van De Weghe, the Urban Redevelopment Area includes several neighborhoods that negatively impact the economic and social well-being of the city. Van De Weghe said the plan focuses on three areas of concern: substandard housing; public infrastructure, primarily the stormwater system; and job growth.
Neighborhoods identified in the plan as being in need of redevelopment include:
-- Pine Street/Oak Street, which is adjacent to the downtown district and includes Poplar Street. This neighborhood is characterized by a lack of adequate public infrastructure.
-- Rose Hill, which is the former black residential area of the Porter Mill housing. This neighborhood includes several original homes as well as a former school building. Streets included in this neighborhood are North Broad Street, Rose Street, North Broadway Boulevard, Kenzi Way Southwest and part of Riverfront Road.
-- Beech Street/Ivey Park, which is next to Rose Hill and includes some historic homes. Housing in this area is described as substandard and primarily renter occupied. The stormwater sewer system is also in need of upgrading.
-- Ivy Street, where a number of substandard residences are located. The stormwater system in this area also is in need of an upgrade.
-- Downtown area, which is centered on North Broad Street and includes Cotton Street, Ash Street and parts of Palmetto and Osmundy streets.
-- Whitehorse, which is property were a residential subdivision had been planned for development. The development was derailed by the housing slump and no homes were ever built. According to the Urban Redevelopment Plan, because the 345-acre property is so close to Interstate 20 and has access to utilities, it could be used for other purposes, such as an industrial facility or industrial park.
In addition, because the property is adjacent to a census block where the poverty level is 15 percent or greater, it is eligible for designation as an Opportunity Zone. That designation would provide for state tax credits for businesses that create jobs in the area.
If Porterdale is successful in its application for a Community Development Bock Grant, which could be as much as $500,000, the funds will be used to bring certain homes up to standard. Receipt of the funds requires a cash match from the city equal to a percentage of the grant.