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Planapalooza: A look into the future of Athens

The march will start at the Limestone County Courthouse in Athens Saturday morning.
The march will start at the Limestone County Courthouse in Athens Saturday morning.
Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 6:07 PM CDT
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ATHENS, Ala. (WAFF) - What will the city of Athens look like on its 222nd birthday? That’s right, we said 222, that’s no typo you’re reading.

In order to encourage community members to speak up and speak out about what they want to see out of Athens, city leaders are hosting a weekend they call Planapalooza.

On May 15, the city of Athens will kick off Planapalooza, a look into what Athens could be like in the year 2040. We’re told this event will break down plans towards a stronger future for the community.

Town Planning and Urban Design Collaborative are groups working with city officials on the update. The planning consultants are hosting Planapalooza as an opportunity for citizens to work directly with friends, family, neighbors and city officials.

“The community kickoff meeting in April garnered much interest, and citizens shared their ideas and concerns about our future from more entertainment venues for youth to protecting our small-town appeal,” Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks said. “We need that interest to continue as we dive into more detail about shaping our future.”

On that Saturday, the team will hold an interactive mapping workshop at 3:30 p.m. inside of Council Chambers at City Hall.

May 16-19 the planners and city staff will work in a temporary design studio on the Square at Athens State University’s Center for Lifelong Learning from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. This is the perfect opportunity for community members to stop by and share ideas or ask questions.

Additionally, on May 16 and 17 there will be time set aside for focus meetings where residents can share their hopes and concerns related to transportation, economy, housing, parks and recreation, character, growth, development, conservation, culture, history and heritage. These meetings will also be at the Center for Lifelong Learning.

On the final evening of Planapalooza, the team will present its findings and discuss how community input is shaping the recommendations. The team will likely incorporate some of those into the updated comprehensive plan. This meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on May 19 at City Hall in the Council Chambers.

You can also follow along on www.athens2040.com! The website has a number of features including forums and discussions.

Below is a breakdown of the schedule. Happy planning!

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