Brookhaven officially kicked off work on four plans to create a vision for the future of the young city.
Steering committees for the long-range plans – the Comprehensive Transportation Plan, the Parks & Recrecreation Master Plan, the Buford Highway Improvement Plan & Economic Development Strategy and the Comprehensive Plan – all met for the first time between March 21 and 27.
The city of Brookhaven has hired consultants who will develop the plans in part using input from the public.
Mayor J. Max Davis said planning is the next step in the city’s start-up.
“This is part of that process – making sure the way we plan out our city’s roads, neighborhoods, parks, developments is vetted by our citizens, and the vision for what our city will be over next 5, 10, 20 years – will be a result of what our citizens want,” Davis said.
Officials are finalizing a timeline for when the various plans are to be completed.
The transportation plan, parks and recrecreation plan and the Buford Highway plan will all serve as addendums to Brookhaven’s comprehensive plan, which will be the last to be completed, said spokeswoman Dana Johnson.
The first to get started was the Buford Highway plan.
A steering committee and consultants will work to develop over the next five months a plan for the redevelopment of the three miles of Buford Highway that runs through Brookhaven, city officials said during a project kick-off meeting at Brookhaven City Hall on March 21.
Bruce Whitmer, a member of the steering committee, said the idea is to develop “a thoughtful, conscious plan to improve the economic well being and lifestyle of the community that surrounds Buford Highway, both residential and commercial.”
“I think with the proper plan, in the long term, great improvements can be made,” Whitmer said after the meeting. “You’ve got to start somewhere.”
Suggestions during their two-hour kickoff meeting ranged from creating a special tax district in the area to pay for road improvements to adding city “gateways” where Buford Highway enters the city and installing a streetscape that could be identified as unique to Brookhaven to changing the busy road’s name within Brookhaven to something like “Buford Boulevard.”
City Manager Marie Garrett said the plan would be an “integral part” of future development of the city. “I am really looking for a plan that can be implemented,” she said.
Committee members said they also wanted to build on the diversity of the residents who live in the area.
Glianny Fagundo, a member of the committee and chairwoman of the Georgia Hispanic Bar, said she “would love to have the Buford Highway corridor serve as a gateway for the city and, at the same time, be celebrated for its diversity.”
City Councilman Joe Gebbia, one of three council members who attended the meeting, said he wanted to “set the bar high” for the plan.
“We’re going to be doing things that will have an impact for the next 20 to 50 years,” he said.