Hogansville sees final draft of downtown master plan

Published 7:08 pm Thursday, March 22, 2018

HOGANSVILLE — The City of Hogansville was presented with the final draft of the downtown master plan at a city council work session Monday. The main ideas emphasized were making the downtown focus on Commerce Street, adding street art and entertainment and using a hummingbird theme throughout the town.

Members of Canvas Planning Group, Village Green, Inc. and Georgia Conservancy talked about ways to make Hogansville a destination city that people within a 40-minute drive would visit. Because of the hummingbird statues and the annual Hummingbird Festival, they suggested downtown add birdfeeders, gardens and baths along with adding a hummingbird mural to one of the businesses walls.

“In some of these [ideas] we’ve really run with the identity of the hummingbird community,” said Aaron Fortner, founder of Canvas Planning Group. “And we think that’s a strong identity with the community and something other communities don’t have. And you’re pretty well established with that identity. We think you should own it.”

Additions to the theme include a hummingbird walking trail, which would expand the water tower trail, and redesigning a park on Main Street into hummingbird park.

“We think you have a great downtown park. We think it can be even better,” Fortner said.

The plans also included street painting on Commerce Street and closing it off to traffic once or twice a month for pedestrians and Market Day, Fortner said.

“We really like this idea of Commerce Street being this really great balance to Main Street,” he said.

The group suggested live entertainment and performing arts to bring in more people to the city. Fortner said the city should use Royal Theater for its original purpose.

“One of the unique things about your downtown that is really unique that a lot of other cities don’t have is this theater,” Fortner said. “We think that’s something you need to consider to explore is what to do with that.”

City hall currently operates within the Royal Theater, which was built in 1937. The local government moved into the building in 1984.

“It would be very difficult and expensive to build a theatre as amazing as what you have,” Fortner said. “But what’s happening in today’s theatre is really administrative and governmental. We think those kinds of things can happen in any other kind of building.”

To follow through, Fortner said the city needs to apply for the Grow Revitalization Zoning Destination grant and to rezone the city so all of downtown is just one zone.

“This plan has been tailored so that you will qualify for that. It may take a few times to keep going after it,” Fortner said. “We have already gone after it once when the plan wasn’t quite done.”

They also recommended the city hand out pamphlets and suggested to downtown business owners about adding bird feeders outside their store’s doors.

Fortner said there also needs to be a downtown task force to continue following through with events such as live music and entertainment.

Other ideas included having businesses include workspaces in the store and adding downtown housing.