The Envision Athens Action Agenda
In the fall of 2016, the Athens-Clarke community began a journey to develop a common vision and strategic action plan to guide the County forward. The plan is aspirational and represents the ideas of thousands of citizens and stakeholders. The vision and the strategic Action Agenda it informs are the product of hundreds of hours of intense discussion about the future of the County. These conversations served as a foundation for the Action Agenda, which is a prioritization of discrete projects, policies, and programs selected through the process. In five topical chapters, it addresses pressing challenges and takes advantage of key opportunities.
Read the full plan here: The Envision Athens Action Agenda
We aspire to reach our full potential in unity, prosperity, equity, and compassion. The sense of togetherness motivates increased pride, unparalleled civic enterprise, and significant progress.
Goals and Priority Actions
A vibrant and physically attractive community with a variety of places and equitable access to parks, open space, and other community gathering places. Development and redevelopment – with redevelopment as a priority – are well considered, appropriately placed, and have a positive and thoughtful economic, social, and environmental impact. (P. 54)
Priority Action: Develop zoning standards and incentives to include greenspace, art, and other public amenities.
Stewardship of the natural environment, including improved water and air quality and conserved areas – woods, farms, streams and wetlands. (P. 57)
Priority Action: Achieve goal of 20% of County as protected greenspace.
Vibrant, stable, and safe places—primarily residential—for where and how to live, including neighborhoods with a range of integrated housing types. (P. 59)
Priority Action: Utilize neighborhood schools as hubs for diverse school and neighborhood engagement.
Housing options that reflect the diversity and meet the needs of the community, including housing for families and a diverse workforce. These are quality options with a variety of types, prices, and locations. (P. 62)
Priority Action: Target challenged multi-family developments for major redevelopment, especially mixed-income.
Agriculture remains a viable and productive component of the local economy by leveraging use of agricultural land for economic development, such as for eco-tourism, beautification projects, support of plant nurseries, etc. (P. 65)
Priority Action: Establish an Eastside Farmers’ Markets.
Greater prosperity for the entire community – individuals, businesses and local government – with diverse, quality jobs and a ready workforce. This also means that entrepreneurship and small businesses flourish in a collaborative environment, that unemployment and underemployment are reduced, and that full time workers are able to meet daily needs and live in assured self-sufficiency (affording housing, food and life necessities). (P. 70)
Priority Action: Create a comprehensive economic development plan.
Effective and respected early childhood through high school education that prepares students for life, including career learning and education opportunities, traditional college, or the workforce. In general, life-long learning is highly valued, resources are widely available, equity in opportunity is improved, and success is communicated. (P. 73)
Priority Action: Educate, train and develop young people in Athens-Clarke County so that they will graduate from high school prepared to enter the local workforce, and to be successful in the world of work and in their lives.
A culture of healthy lifestyles and inclusive access to affordable, holistic and state of-the-art services and facilities for physical health, mental health, and general wellbeing. (P. 78)
Priority Action: Develop an effective mental health crisis response team.
Residents and visitors feel safe and secure in the community, whether in residential areas, public places or on transportation routes. (P. 80)
Priority Action: Provide and identify sufficient funding to implement the Athens-Clarke County Police Department Strategic Vision Plan.
Effective and accessible social service delivery that enables people to reach their full potential. The community is open to, aware and supportive of social services, and the non-profit community is connected and communicative, with ever-increasing collaboration. (P. 82)
Priority Action: Address poverty by targeting unemployment and underemployment by training and preparing individuals for vocational success.
Arts & Culture
All aspects of culture and the arts – including music, theater, visual arts, heritage resources and other cultural initiatives – are the authentic expression of the people and place, representing an ever-present community good that contributes to nurturing and attracting diverse talent. (P. 86)
Priority Action: Measure economic impacts of arts, culture, and heritage tourism.
Residents feel a strong connection to each other and are engaged in the community’s overall well-being. (P. 88)
Priority Action: Create gathering spaces that are available and accessible to all.
Increased range of transportation options – including walking, biking, transit, and driving – that provide efficient, safe, affordable and equitable access throughout the community and connect to the region and the world (through rail and air service). (P. 92)
Priority Action: Support bike and pedestrian infrastructure through respective master plans.
Well-maintained infrastructure is strategically expanded and upgraded to unlock economic potential and help meet the needs of individuals in full consideration of environmental practices. (P. 94)
Priority Action: Repair and replace infrastructure assets commensurate with physical depreciation.