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Avondale Estates mayor highlights capital projects, sustainability in State of the City address

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Avondale Estates mayor highlights capital projects, sustainability in State of the City address

Avondale Estates Mayor Jonathan Elmore delivered the State of the City Address on Thursday, March 21, at Olive and Pine. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

Avondale Estates, GA— In his State of the City Address on March 21, Avondale Estates Mayor Jonathan Elmore highlighted capital projects and sustainability.

Avondale Estates has big plans for the city, like the U.S. 278 complete street project and the commercial development at the Town Green. Elmore noted that it’s time for the city to update its downtown master plan, which was written in 2014.

“Over the next year, we will be digging deep to ask what does Avondale look like in 10 years or 100 years,” Elmore said. “We should think about what we want to preserve and what we want to change to make a better Avondale Estates for ourselves and our future generations. It’s time to get started on a new downtown master plan to continue on what we’ve seen in the last decade.”

Plans will also be made to develop a comprehensive sustainability strategy for Avondale to become a more sustainable, resilient and vibrant community.

“These forward-thinking endeavors allow us to be proactive and have greater control over the city’s destiny and provide guidance in future decision-making,” Elmore said.

The city is preparing for its 100-year anniversary as well. George Willis founded Avondale Estates in 1924. Willis purchased Ingleside, a small farm town, and 950 adjoining acres for about $519,000 on Jan. 19, 1924. The name of the town was officially changed to Avondale Estates in 1925.

Elmore also highlighted some of the city’s accomplishments over the last year or so, including the city commission approving a contract with Arrow Waste on March 13 for sanitation and recycling services.

“Just last week, we approved a contract to provide trash collection services that will lower your sanitation bill by $200 a year,” Elmore said during his speech.

Arrow will begin collecting solid waste and recycling curbside once a week in May. The city’s public works department would continue collecting yard waste.

The approval of the contract also means that the total sanitation fee assessed to households would be about $373.28 for the first year. According to the contract, the fees would be adjusted each year and would not increase more than 6% yearly.

Businesses can also contract with Arrow to pick up recycling and solid waste three or five days a week. Commercial property owners can still contract with a vendor of their choosing.

In December, the city broke ground on the Dale, a mixed-used commercial development at the Town Green.

“This development will complete the vision of the Town Green and provide more opportunities for you, your family and friends and visitors to dine, shop and enjoy [Avondale],” Elmore said.

The Town Green project includes the construction of four acres of land. About two acres are a park, and the other two acres are a market pavilion and commercial development. The site is located along Highway U.S. 278/North Avondale Road between Lake and Oak Streets.

The commercial development will be completed in about a year and the Town Green will be fronted by retail space, restaurants, and outdoor seating. The Dale will be a 24,000-square-foot mixed-use commercial development.

Avondale Estates received $2 million in funding from the Atlanta Regional Commission for the U.S. 278 complete street project. The city commission still has to approve a construction contract, but the city anticipates work will begin this summer on U.S. 278/North Avondale Road.

U.S. 278 is the main drag in Avondale Estates, which has the names of East College Avenue and North Avondale Road as it runs through the city and its historic downtown.

The project includes a road diet that will reduce the travel lanes from five to three between Sam’s Crossing and Ashton Place. The length of the project corridor is 1.15 miles.

There will be some on-street parking. The project also calls for a 10-foot path along the entire corridor on the north side of the street, new traffic lights and streetlights, a center median, and a five-foot sidewalk on the south side of the street between South Avondale Road and Sam’s Crossing. The city is not planning to touch the Abelia hedge as part of the project.

The project has been a long time coming, as residents have dreamed about converting U.S. 278 from a highway dividing the city into a main street.

“After years of talking about it, we’re about to embark on one of the most transformative smart growth projects in our city’s history – 278,” Elmore said. “Most importantly, this project will create a stronger bond between our residential areas and our business district and will safely enable walking, biking, and interaction with our growing business opportunity, and yes, to provide more opportunities closer to home for you, our citizens.”

The North Woods stormwater and rain garden project is almost complete, and the city will host a ribbon cutting in April.

“The project aims to stop the severe erosion of the North Woods, which was causing safety concerns and water clog issues in Cobb Creek and Lake Avondale,” Elmore said.

Phase one of the project included building recreational trails, which connect the sidewalk on Berkeley Road to the existing path on the north side of Lake Avondale. Phase two included adding rain gardens and a wooden walking path.

The city also issued revenue bonds that total $8.59 million, which will pay for part of the North Woods project, the Town Green, and the market pavilion. This was the first time Avondale Estates had issued bonds in the city’s history.

Elmore said that in terms of future projects, the city will launch a residential curbside composting pilot program in the fall with the help of a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture.

“Not only is this a wonderful opportunity for residents to contribute positively to our environment by reducing what we send to the landfill, but the compost will be shared with Roots Down and Food Well Alliance,” he added.

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