An Affiliate of the Georgia Municipal Association
ARC’s Livable Centers Initiative Awards $13 Million for Community Planning Studies and Transportation Projects
February 16, 2016

The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) has awarded $800,000 in Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) study grants to nine metro Atlanta communities and $12 million in transportation funding to 11 other communities that have previously implemented completed LCI studies.

The LCI study grants will help recipients develop plans and policies that support the creation of more vibrant, connected places. Once the studies are complete, these communities will become eligible for transportation funding to help implement their plans. 

“Our board created LCI in 1999 to help communities across our region reinvent and improve themselves,” said Kerry Armstrong, ARC chair. “Our local government partners have used these grants to devise strategies that improve livability by increasing walkability, encouraging healthier lifestyles and improving access to jobs and services.”

Since LCI began in 2000, 112 communities have received more than $197 million in planning and implementation grants. LCI communities cover less than four percent of the region’s land area, but contain seven percent of its recent residential development, 29 percent of its recent commercial development and 69 percent of its recent office development.

The LCI program is funded with federal transportation dollars. The grants provide 80 percent of funding for each study or transportation project, with the recipient making a 20 percent match.

“Communities all over the region are eager to revitalize their town centers and underutilized properties to create places that foster a vibrant, neighborhood feel and environment,” said Doug Hooker, ARC executive director. “From established centers like Buckhead to bustling suburban downtowns like Jonesboro and Smyrna, LCI is helping communities re-imagine what they can be and then helping make those visions a reality.”

The nine LCI planning grants awarded this year include six major updates to plans already underway and three supplemental grants to help continue existing studies.

The 2016 LCI study grant recipients are:

Buckhead Community Improvement District
Grant amount: $112,000
This 15-year plan update will bring the community together to address the generational divide around the future vision of Buckhead and the transportation capacity needed to better connect residents to jobs and amenities amid intense development.

City of College Park
Grant amount:
This major plan update will help further develop the aerotropolis concept and leverage funding for a pedestrian bridge connecting the Georgia International Convention Center to downtown College Park. 

City of Doraville & City of Chamblee
Grant amount: 
This study supplements existing plans in both cities and will help develop a plan and process to revitalize Buford Highway, addressing connectivity, affordable housing and pedestrian safety. 
Contact: Luke Howe, director of economic development, 770-451-8745,

City of Hapeville
Grant amount:
This major plan update will further advance the aerotropolis concept in the town center.

City of Jonesboro
Grant amount: 
This major plan update will account for new MARTA bus service in the area and begin the process of planning for a future rail station, along with the expected economic growth.

City of Smyrna
Grant amount:
This study supplements an existing LCI plan by further studying Spring Road and the impact of traffic and economic growth associated with SunTrust Park, the future home of the Atlanta Braves. 

Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District
Grant amount:
This study supplements an existing LCI plan by planning for a trail connecting Gwinnett Place Mall and McDaniel Park. The planning includes environmental screening, public engagement and trail placement.

Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District
Grant amount:
This major plan update focuses on transit-oriented development opportunities around a potential high-capacity transit station at I-85 and Indian Trail Road. 
Contact: Chuck Warbington, executive director, 770-449-6542,

Little Five Points Community Improvement District
Grant amount: 
This 10-year plan update focuses on managing development pressure around two MARTA stations and the Atlanta BeltLine, as well as better connecting the district across DeKalb Avenue.

© 2012 Metro Atlanta Mayors Association