ARC Announces Livable Centers Initiative Planning Grant Awards

On Wednesday, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) announced it has awarded Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) grants to fund 11 planning studies in metro Atlanta communities.

Livable Centers Initiative 2021 Guidebook

The grants are designed to help communities become more vibrant, walkable places that offer increased mobility options, encourage healthy lifestyles, and provide improved access to jobs and services. Upon completion of the studies, communities will be eligible to apply for federal transportation funding for projects such as sidewalks, multi-use trails, and smart corridor improvements that help implement their plans. This year, ARC updated its LCI grant evaluation process to include equity among its key measures.

The LCI program was created in 1999 to allocate federal transportation dollars for planning in local town centers and employment centers.  Once the plans have been created, local governments can apply for dedicated federal funding to assist in bringing their plans into reality. Recipients were selected by ARC along with a diverse committee of partner organizations and planning professionals from around the region.

2021 LCI Study Grant Recipients

NOTE: Specific grant allocations are subject to increase or decrease based on changes made by the LCI sponsor.

City of Alpharetta
Grant Amount: $160,000

The Alpharetta-South Main Street Creative Placemaking and Economic Strategy will take place along South Main Street (Hwy 9), from the Town Center, south to the city limits. This plan seeks to develop opportunities for safe walking and biking while promoting transit ridership. It also aims to examine opportunities for redevelopment that promote creative placemaking and the continued success of the Downtown Alpharetta LCI.

City of Douglasville
Grant Amount: $160,000

The Douglasville Town Center Implementation Strategy will update the Douglasville LCI to stitch together several existing projects to streamline them and set out plans of action, including the housing strategy work currently underway through ARC’s Community Development Assistance Program, a planned town green, creative placemaking, and upgraded connections to the Northside area.

City of Grantville
Grant Amount: $100,000

The Grantville LCI Plan will create a new study area within the City of Grantville, a small city on the southern border of Coweta County, as it looks to develop a transit connection to the Xpress commuter bus system and a revitalize its downtown.

Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District (CID)
Grant Amount: $220,000

The Gwinnett Place Mall Revitalization Strategy will advance a bold development plan for Gwinnett Place Mall that will explore how to integrate a potential county bus rapid transit route into a planned significant expansion of the Gwinnett Place Transit Center. The Transit Center is located on mall property and set for an upgrade to become the county transit system’s main hub. The LCI study’s goal is to support transit, cars, and pedestrians, improving both transportation and quality of life in the area.

Sugarloaf Community Improvement District (CID)
Grant Amount: $100,000

The Sugarloaf Transit Enhancement and Future Station Planning Study will further examine a planned BRT station stop at Sugarloaf Mall and multimodal connection to the Infinite Energy Center. The study will also explore short-term transit enhancements at the existing Park and Ride location near Sugarloaf Mall.

City of Hampton
Grant Amount: $80,000

The City of Hampton King, George, and Daniel Streets Revitalization Strategy will examine this set of streets near Downtown Hampton as the city looks to revitalize the area and improve transportation safety without displacing existing residents. This strategy will examine different so-called “missing middle” housing options that could be applied in this area.

City of South Fulton
Grant Amount: $120,000

The Old National Highway LCI Study Update will explore new transportation options and develop an economic development strategy for the corridor that includes creative placemaking.

Lilburn Community Improvement District (CID)
Grant Amount: $120,000

The Lilburn LCI Plan Update will focus on developing a walkable and vibrant downtown by updating its existing LCI Plan within the Old Towne Lilburn and the Downtown Development Zone to promote creative placemaking and diversity of housing options.

In 2021, ARC is piloting two new study types, focusing on (1) bus stop pedestrian safety and creative placemaking, and (2) LCI Scoping Assistance to prepare communities for a future LCI study. This year, there are three grant recipients in these areas:

Upper Westside Community Improvement District (CID)
Grant Amount: $64,000

This grant will allow the City of Atlanta’s Upper Westside CID to examine pedestrian safety and incorporate creative placemaking at existing transit stops along Huff Road and Ellsworth Industrial Boulevard.

Midtown Alliance
Grant Amount: $80,000

With this grant, Midtown Alliance will examine pedestrian safety and incorporate creative placemaking at existing transit stops along West Peachtree and Spring Streets.

In addition, ARC staff will assist the City of South Fulton on visioning of elements for its future town center.