It’s here – the Greenhaven Economic Development Vision/Plan!
When the recent (and now defunct) soccer deal for DeKalb County was announced, one Commissioner stated that it was the first project for southern DeKalb in 10 years. That should not be acceptable. That is the primary reason why we, the Concerned Citizens for Cityhood in South DeKalb Inc. (CCCSD) are advocating for the city of Greenhaven. If we want development, jobs, and more and better services, then we need to put ourselves in a position to get it. And we need to recognize that we must do some things different to get it, because doing the same thing, with the same positions and the same structure for the last 10 years has not produced what we want. Therefore, CCCSD is excited to offer the Economic Development Vision and Plan for proposed Greenhaven. The full plan can be viewed at the CCCSD website (www.greenhavenga.org); below is a summary of the plan.
The goal is to create a city that is actively working to create growth and development in multiple locations. Our Vision and Plan is not a traditional economic development plan such as the one commissioned by DeKalb County in 2015. It is a community based plan that incorporates citizen participation, promotes growth and/or development, and rewards innovation. There are 5 phases to this plan. Some phases should occur simultaneously and some sequentially.
Phase 1: Determining Central Targets for Growth. With the assistance of the Greenhaven Planning Department, one area will be selected in each of Greenhaven’s 6 Districts that will function similar to a Central Business District. All initial planning, funding, economic development, and community efforts will be targeted toward this area. As a result, people will enjoy a central commercial area that reflects their landscaping and desires. Businesses will enjoy less competition initially. Government will maximize the use of its public dollars.
Phase 2: The District Based Art Approach. To stimulate community involvement, the Greenhaven Planning Department, with the help of artists (preferably local), will engage in art development – a single structure, painting, sculpture, garden or created entity that is a unique, creative reflection of that community. The primary purpose of this created piece is to help the CAPU get started, change the mindset of current residents, attract prospective residents, and initiate the development of a central business/theme area. The development of these 6 pieces will be the community’s primary contribution to economic development in their area.
Phase 3: The Contract. In return for benefiting and beautifying their community, the community will agree to a contract to promote economic development (to be agreed to prior to the execution of Phase 2). In theory, this contract is similar to an overlay district; however, it is less restrictive. In exchange for support for Phase 2, the community will agree to:
- retail/commercial/industrial development in the Central Planning area
- support for MARTA and/or separate transit-oriented-development in Greenhaven
- a fast track permitting system for approved commercial or industrial uses
Phase 4: Business Attraction. The Greenhaven Department of Economic Development in tandem with the Greenhaven Development Authority (if one exists) will develop an economic development strategy based on Greenhaven’s six districts and their Central Planning area. That strategy will include a) attraction of innovative, first responder companies in targeted industries (e.g., green energy industries) b) identification of companies in targeted industries (the county’s plan is helpful here), c) an approval process that facilitates business development, d) financial tools that accommodate business development, and e) the support and involvement of key ancillary agencies that will facilitate development.
Phase 5: Education and Workforce. K-12 education is not in the purview of the city. Nevertheless, its status greatly affects economic development and quality growth. Therefore, Greenhaven will liaise with the DeKalb Board of Education on a regular basis. In addition, Greenhaven already enjoys a significant professional population. Building on that, Greenhaven will work with Quickstart and existing university and community colleges in Greenhaven to implement the latest workforce development methods to match business needs with workforce development and training.
The result of these six phases is what we call our Vision. At the end of this process, Greenhaven will look like an international city populated by citizens of all hues and cultures with a multiple business strategy focused on “green.” It will represent a creative, attractive, planned growth city with an artistic, intelligent and involved citizenry. Demographically, the population will be more technical, creative and international. Businesswise, Greenhaven will have simultaneous but differing growth in six spots. When it comes to environment, land-use and planning, at least for a period of time, Greenhaven will look like a city with planned growth. Educationally, Greenhaven will be at the cutting edge of local government-public school partnerships.
Imagine Greenhaven, Your City. Now imagine this opportunity lost because we didn’t get the right to vote. Contact your legislator and tell them to not deny us the right to vote; do not deny us this Vision and Plan.