Porterdale chosen for Renaissance Fellows program

PORTERDALE -- The city of Porterdale is gearing up to have a busy summer and beyond as projects that have long been in the developmental stages are coming to fruition.

The Georgia Municipal Association, in partnership with the Georgia Cities Foundation and the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government, recently announced that Porterdale is one of three Georgia cities selected to participate in the Georgia Downtown Renaissance Fellows program.

"The partnership chose Porterdale as the small city, along with Gainesville as the large and Milledgeville as the medium-sized community pilot program representatives," said City Manager Bob Thomson.

Through the Downtown Renaissance Fellows program, an undergraduate landscape architecture student from UGA's College of Environment & Design will be assigned to work with the city for a 10-week period during the summer, beginning May 20. The program provides technical assistance for economic development and public sector education and each city will leave the program with an improved downtown corridor entrance design. The city's total cost is $1,440 for the services.

Thomson said Porterdale will host Kristi Korngold, a top-notch student from UGA's School of Environmental design, who is the recipient of the fellowship.

"We will be asking her to concentrate on housing, parking in the downtown, potential grant opportunities from private foundations, entrance corridors and other assignments and tasks the mayor and council may assign," Thomson said.

In other city news, the Porterdale City Council authorized a part-time position for a Main Street manager in its 2013 budget during Thursday's work session. This was done in anticipation of the gym redevelopment project being completed by late summer.

"Though the program hasn't officially been resumed yet, Billy Peppers of the Department of Community Affairs Office of Downtown Development explained to the mayor and council that their department will soon be approving applications statewide for entrance into the Main Street training and development program," Thomson explained. "Since the gym project will be completed sometime in late July or early August, we need to hire someone for the position to coordinate special events, bookings for the gym venue, etc. before the program officially begins."

On the public safety front, the Porterdale Police Department has been selected by the Governor's Office of Highway Safety to be one of nine law enforcement agencies to attend the Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety workshop later this month. The DDACTS program uses data and mapping to determine where the crime problems are, then overlaying that with traffic incidents and deploying high visibility traffic enforcement to the identified "hot spots" to address the issues.

"The initiative has been very effective in every jurisdiction across the country that has adopted the DDACTS philosophy," said Investigator and Public Information Officer Doug Clifton.

Clifton, Chief Geoff Jacobs and Lt. Jason Cripps will receive the training.