Tucker planning alley project that will transform its downtown
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By Logan C. Ritchie, contributor
Tucker, GA – Tucker is in the early stages of creating a walkable, bike-friendly area in downtown with green space, public art, retail shops, and restaurants.
Tucker Alley District is part of the city’s master plan to bring pedestrians into the Main Street area to “live, work, shop, recreate, learn, enjoy the arts, and gather as a community.”
Tucker’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA), Tucker-Northlake CID, and city staff are moving forward with the first steps of this massive project.
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Tucker Northlake CID accepted a grant from Atlanta Regional Commission to study how to recreate the historic street and alley grid in Downtown Tucker. CID president Matthew Lee said the study will prioritize properties necessary to complete the grid, examine funding strategies, and address zoning issues.
Main Street in Tucker has a small-town feel, with buildings dating back to the 1930s. The city’s master plan encourages growth downtown that preserves the center’s small-town qualities while complementing the style of older buildings. Opening historic alleys to pedestrians, improving lighting and crosswalks, and connecting a rail trail is part of Tucker’s goal. Some alleys are currently used for parking, storage, and walkways.
In its role to promote economic development downtown – an area defined as First Street to Lawrenceville Highway, and Second Avenue to the Tucker US Post Office – the Tucker DDA met Sept. 21 to discuss the alley project.
At the DDA meeting, board member Bruce Penn said that after documents were reviewed by Tucker-Northlake CID, more alleyways were discovered than originally anticipated. According to the plan, implementation of one mile of alleyway could cost between $1.1 million and $1.9 million.
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The next DDA meeting is Oct. 5. The DDA plans to invite Lee to present an update on the project.
In other DDA business:
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– Recent commercial businesses moved into Tucker, including Sugar Bowl Bakery, Emory Healthcare, and Georgia Furniture Mart. New restaurants are joining the city this fall, according to a Tucker spokesperson.
– Development continues at Hugh Howell Village, a 14-acre shopping center at Hugh Howell Road and Mountain Industrial Boulevard near the new Smoke Rise Elementary. The commercial space will be anchored by Publix and 35,000 square feet of retail shops in several new buildings.
– Soliant medical staffing company announced in August the company’s national headquarters will move to Peachtree Corners, taking approximately 400 jobs out of Tucker.
– John McHenry, director of community and economic development in Tucker, said the DDA is also looking for ways to improve overall broadband and connections for the city. DDA is tapping into economic development research at Georgia Tech and assessing current economic development efforts “in coordination with CIDs, which are economic engines in their own right.”
He said, “The DDA is coming into its own as an economic development agency for the city of Tucker.”
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