3-day charrette planned to discuss Porterdale's future growth

COVINGTON -- A team of students and faculty from the College of Environment and Design will partner with the city of Porterdale in an intensive public design session, or charrette, focused on downtown improvements. The three-day study will be held Nov 9-11 in Porterdale.

Professor Pratt Cassity of the UGA Center for Community Design & Preservation will lead the team and resident and community participants in an exploration of conceptual designs and ideas for integrating streetscapes, parks and the historic gymnasium; envisioning the transformation of a large, underused parking lot into commercial infill compatible with the historic downtown; and the revitalization of Porterdale's extensive network of mill village housing.

"Porterdale is undergoing a resurgence that is evident in the stunning revitalization of the Porterdale Mill, an increase in retail businesses and an exciting plan for a recreational water trail and riverside park along the Yellow River," Cassity said. "The goal of the design charrette is to involve citizens and all other interested parties in the next phases of the city's revitalization strategy from the beginning, to hear people's points of view and to create a plan that will address the needs of its current and future residents."

According to City Manager Bob Thomson, Porterdale's leadership and citizens are enthusiastic about the charrette.

"The mayor and council are excited that we have the services of UGA's Center for Community Design and Preservation as the main design team for a downtown master plan that will guide Porterdale through the next several years of development," Thomson said. "Input from our citizens, business owners and park stakeholders is critical during the charrette process."

The three-day charrette includes the following events that the public is encouraged to attend:

-- Friday, Nov. 9, 10-11 a.m. at Porterdale City Hall will include the introduction of the charrette process and a public input session.

-- Saturday, Nov. 10, 2-3 p.m. will be held at "Party On Main" charrette workspace, 2001 Main St. The public can drop in for feedback and small group presentations.

-- Sunday, Nov. 11, 4-6 p.m. at Porterdale City Hall will be the final presentation of the charrette and a Q&A with the public and stakeholder groups.

The recommendations and plans developed during the charrette will be taken into consideration by the city of Porterdale.

For more information, contact Jennifer Lewis, public service projects coordinator with the Center for Community Design and Preservation at jmlewis@uga.edu or at 706-369-5885.