Members of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) reviewed the plan at the monthly meeting March 21.
In order to move forward with the facelift of LaFayette Road, between Chickamauga Battlefield park and Ga. 2, the city council will have to approve the master plan at the Monday night, March 25, council meeting.
“We have the final draft to be presented to the city council,” said DDA chairman and refresh committee member Jeff Epperson. “Once we get this (master plan) approved, there are tons of people ready to get behind this (project).”
The refresh committee, along with the DDA, has worked on changing the layout of LaFayette Road for almost two years.
The design has finally been completed and now it is time for the tough part ¾ getting funding for the project.
The DDA does not plan to ask the city council for any money, but being approved by the local government opens up opportunities for grant funding, according to Epperson.
The layout of the road will be changed to incorporate a median with turning lanes, lighting and landscaping.
Total cost for the project is approximately $2.5 million, said Epperson. The new features of downtown will draw new businesses to the area.
“Once the plan is approved we can start shopping for businesses,” Epperson said. “All we need are a couple grants and matching grants and we can do (the entire project).”
The DDA discussed hiring a full-time director at the February meeting. A paid employee would be able to devote time to seeking grants for the project as well as working part-time for the city by operating tourism.
“We need someone writing grants so we can apply for anything and everything we can,” said council member and DDA member Louis Hamm.
The recommendation to hire a full-time employee was proposed by Fort Oglethorpe mayor Lynn Long at the last meeting, meaning the new position already has favor from the mayor and one council member. Hamm has been researching job descriptions for a downtown development director. Several employee descriptions have been found matching what the city needs, according to Hamm.
Epperson plans to post a copy of the master plan final draft on the DDA website at fortoglethorpedda.com.