June 25, 2014 | Spotlight

Institute's Renaissance Fellows Aid Revitalization Efforts in Three Georgia Cities

Writer: Roger Nielsen

Revitalization projects are under way in three Georgia cities participating in the second annual Downtown Renaissance Fellows program, an innovative partnership that provides technical and design services to address needs identified by municipal leaders.

The Renaissance Fellows collaboration, led by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, matches landscape architecture students from the University of Georgia College of Environment and Design (CED) with selected cities that are members of the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA). Students who received fellowships this year are providing technical expertise for summer-long revitalization projects in Fitzgerald, Hapeville, and Newnan.

"The cities are getting customized technical assistance, and the students are bringing fresh perspectives to specific downtown revitalization issues," said Institute downtown development specialist Danny Bivins, who administers the 10-week fellowship program.

CED landscape architecture students complete specific projects for each city during the fellowship. The three participating cities and the GMA, through its Georgia Cities Foundation, provide financial support.

Renaissance Fellow Clark Stancil is working alongside the Fitzgerald Community Development Department to create guidelines for urban infill development. He also will collaborate with city administrators to develop thematic building rehabilitation designs.

Hapeville leaders assigned several projects to Renaissance Fellow Chris Sawhill, including park and street beautification designs and concept plans for a dog park and an amphitheater for the city's Tom E. Morris Sports Complex.

In Newnan, Renaissance Fellow Erik Lauritsen is working with the city's Business Development Department to create a plan for repurposing underutilized downtown buildings and beautify alleyways. He also will collaborate with city administrators on bike rack design and siting, and work on a bridge beautification project.

The inaugural Downtown Renaissance Fellows program in 2013 provided revitalization assistance for the cities of Gainesville, Milledgeville, and Porterdale.