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Lula Downtown Revitalization

The City of Lula is a small community in northeastern Hall County with a classic downtown stretching along an active railroad line between Gainesville and Toccoa. Beginning with planning efforts conceived in the early 2000's, the City and its residents pursued efforts to revitalize their small main street in the hopes of luring and sustaining commerce in the city's core. As a result of several goals identified within their comprehensive plan and subsequent updates, the City established two main objectives to enhance the appeal, usefulness and safety of their downtown.

The first was the development of a Veterans Park as a central gathering place in the center of town. As part of the vision for improving downtown, previous versions of the Comprehensive Plan called for development of a new park or central gathering space. A property located at a key intersection was identified as available and viable for adaptive reuse as a park. Plans were conceived for the modest property to include a memorial wall, fountain, benches and other amenities that would provide a social gathering space as well as monuments to honor local heroes. The new Veterans Park was eventually realized in 2010 with the aid of a Transportation Enhancement grant and other outside funding assistance, completing a vision identified as part of past planning procedures for the City.

Another objective stated in their comprehensive plans was to undertake Main Street Streetscape Improvements. Previous iterations of the Lula Comprehensive Plan identified several opportunities to enhance the historic downtown district. The sidewalks along Main street were in disrepair and failed to properly connect with the residential neighborhood immediately adjacent. Further, the lack of any amenities discouraged pedestrian use and detracted from the appeal of hosting events downtown.

This was accomplished as several small projects identified in the City’s Short Term Work Program. The City updated historical records of the properties, received two presentations providing development guidelines and improvement ideas, and then developed both a streetscape design plan (through DCA and the Georgia Trust for Historic Places) and updated land use management measures to improve local structures over time. Eventually phase one of the streetscape plan was completed in 2011, providing repairs and intersection improvements as well as the first of several new benches, planters and other amenities. Funding assistance for Phases 2 and 3 have also been secured and are planned for completion within the next 2 years, which will mean the entire commercial run of Lula's Main Street will have been greatly enhanced.
Dennis Bergin
Lula, City of

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