College of Environment and Design to lead Southern Mill charrette

CED charette - Southern Mills Feb 2012-h.building
The UGA College of Environment and Design and the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation will hold a charette in February 2012 to discuss future plans for the Southern Mills property on Oneta Street in Athens.

Athens, Ga. – A team of students and faculty from the University of Georgia College of Environment and Design will partner with the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation on Feb. 24-26 to explore the redevelopment possibilities of the Southern Manufacturing Company property located on Oneta Street.

“We are thrilled to have so many talented people weighing in on the potential use of Southern Mill, ranging from our symposium speakers to UGA CED charrette experts and students,” said Lisa Dore, chair of the foundation’s education committee. “Our hope is that the end result of the educational programming, as well as the design exercise, will provide potential developers with a clear idea of redevelopment ideas that make sense economically and are supported by the community.”

The multi-day collaborative design workshop, also known as a charrette, is designed to help create a new vision for the industrial property. It will provide an opportunity for community members to brainstorm community needs that can best be served by the Southern Mill property.

The charrette follows an Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation symposium on Feb. 4 titled “Southern Mills: Economically Smart, Socially Responsible.”

The foundation holds a protective facade easement on Southern Mill. The building has declined over the years as earlier plans for redevelopment into student housing became financially unfeasible.

The foundation is asking participants to think about what could happen if this 18-plus acre abandoned mill property was considered for revitalization, taking into consideration pressing social needs and incorporating economic development tools with environmental best practices to create a socially sustainable project.

Using Southern Mill as an example, the foundation will explore the viability of this type of project in Athens and provide a model for integrating historic preservation, sustainability, economic development and community needs. The property is located in a historic neighborhood and is very close to a school, hospitals and downtown Athens, which are all key elements in considering revitalization and redevelopment.

The public is encouraged to attend the three-day charrette, which includes the following events:
• Introduction of the charrette process, public input session: Feb. 24 at 9 a.m. at Old Fire Hall #2, Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation headquarters, 489 Prince Ave.
• Final presentation of the charrette and a question and answer session with the public and stakeholder groups: Feb. 26 at 4 p.m. at Old Fire Hall #2.

The recommendations and plans developed during the charrette will be made public through the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation to all interested parties.

Additionally, UGA masters of environmental planning and design candidate Deepali Pavnaskar is conducting a research study for the area surrounding Southern Mill for her final practicum, in association with the Athens-Clarke County Planning Department. The primary objective of her survey is to evaluate the existing conditions and identify possible uses for the Southern Mill Industrial district.

For more information on the charrette, contact Jennifer Lewis, public service projects coordinator at the UGA Center for Community Design and Preservation, at jmlewis@uga.edu or 706/369-5885. For more information on Southern Mill, see http://achfonline.org/preservationmatters.

UGA Center for Community Design and Preservation
The UGA Center for Community Design and Preservation serves as the public service and outreach office for the College of Environment and Design. It provides opportunities for faculty and students to engage in real-world projects and put their academic pursuits into practice. The CCDP delivers conceptual community design services by using a mix of faculty, professional staff and students, which helps leverage professional assistance to implement projects. As recipient communities receive high quality design services they could not otherwise afford, students receive the practical hands-on experience that makes them more marketable as graduates. For more information, see www.ced.uga.edu/pso.

Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation
The Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation was founded in 1967 to save Athens’ oldest residence, the Church-Waddel-Brumby House, from the wholesale demolition that erased the entire Lickskillet neighborhood in downtown Athens. The Heritage Foundation became the leading advocate for the importance of historic preservation to the future of the Athens community and continues to be a proactive force in developing community-wide understanding of the value of historic buildings, neighborhoods and heritage. For more information, see www.achfonline.org.