BREAK THE CYCLE OF POVERTY
Every human being has inherent value and deserves meaningful work and good pay.
We all deserve safe neighborhoods; decent housing; adequate clothing; healthy food; affordable health care; and confidence that our children will be well educated and prepared for the future.
Politicians are supposed to help us achieve these goals. Too often they address issues that need to be redressed. They champion the kind of ‘economic development’ that improves the bottom line for some but comes at the expense of families who are already struggling. It is time to stop talking and start doing.
To serve all of its residents, Athens-Clarke County needs:
- ordinances that promote affordable housing*
- a living wage
- sensible business development that puts Clarke County residents first
- developers who hire locally and initiate apprenticeship programs
- robust public transportation, especially for permanent residents
- a city bus stop at every school
*More than two thousand multi-family houses were built in Athens over the last ten years, but 67% of those units were built for students. Meanwhile, single-family home construction has declined because working families can’t afford to buy a home on Athens wages. We can do better!
DRIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH
A 2015 study on Lexington Road (commissioned by the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County) noted that “Athens’s west side is receiving the bulk of the attention of businesses and development” while the east side remains “a diamond in the rough.” The study concluded that the county commission needed to help “drive change for the area, not just wait for individual property owners and potential developers.”
Where is that change? Where is that leadership?
Lexington Road has more business potential than any other corridor into downtown. What it needs to achieve an economic takeoff is:
- dedicated rapid bus service
- medians, bike lanes, sidewalks, and a connection to the Firefly Trail
- retail shops that appeal to all income levels
- affordable housing with a multi-generational focus
- workforce development
- low impact biotech businesses
- venues for art and live music
- efforts at beautification
- common-sense zoning reform for the airport overlay district
Under the current commission leadership, these transformative ideas are collecting dust on the shelf.
With deliberate planning, large tracts of undeveloped land between Barnett Shoals Road and Gaines School Road could become higher density individual housing units or multi-family units with extensive green space. This would be perfect for East Athens seniors wanting to downsize, or for younger couples starting their careers.
Additionally, the Lexington Road study proposed the Piggly Wiggly property become a craft brewery/music venue attached to an expanded firefly trail. That exciting idea has been lost. We can do better!
DEVELOP OUR WORKFORCE NOT OUR JAILS
The Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County has made one substantial investment in East Athens: the Clarke County Jail. The jail was overbuilt and serves as a holding pen for people arrested on minor non-violent offenses who cannot make bail. Enough is enough.
- work with our police department on anti-discrimination reforms
- work with our judges and court system on bail reform
- decriminalize marijuana
- educate citizens about their rights
- work with our school system to create safe schools
- relieve the immigrant community from detention for minor offenses
We need a county commissioner who knows the impact incarceration has on young men of color, their families, and communities. We need a county commissioner who will seek solutions in partnership with other agencies and organizations. We can do better!
IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR DISTRICT 1
East Athens residents know what they want:
- improved traffic patterns
- an urgent care center
- a community center at Southeast Clarke Park
- one trash hauler per neighborhood
- more developed green space
- a farmers’ market
- fare-free buses/transit
We need a commissioner who will actually help us accomplish these goals. Clarke County taxpayers are paying $244,000 for the completion of the Envision Athens study and the 2018 Comprehensive Plan for Clarke County. Why do we bother to perform these studies if we do not implement the recommendations? The 2015 study of Lexington Road said that one of the great drawbacks to progress in East Athens was the “lack of a champion.”
Elect Patrick Davenport to be that champion.