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Presentation shows attractive downtown entrance designs

MILLEDGEVILLE — The City of Milledgeville anxiously awaited the final gateway project recommendations after the 10-week pilot Georgia Downtown Renaissance Fellows program concluded this July. City Council saw the results during Tuesday’s work session.

Milledgeville was selected last April as a pilot candidate for services such as downtown corridor entrance design and green space planning. The Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), in partnership with the Georgia Cities Foundation (GCF) and the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government, developed the program sending an undergraduate landscape architecture student from UGA’s College of Environment & Design to work with three select cities this summer.

The intern, Quynh Pham, started her Milledgeville stint May 20. Pham worked with Institute of Government faculty and Milledgeville city leaders to provide technical expertise.

Pham partnered weekly with the downtown development office to help design distinctive gateways into the city using more appealing signage and other improvements to draw people downtown.

Her extensive research and applicable projects impressed Council Tuesday.

“I really enjoyed working with Milledgeville. It has a lot of historical value and character. A lot of the work I did, I wanted to maintain that character,” Pham said.

She opened Tuesday’s presentation with attractive entranceway signs for East Hancock and South Wayne Streets.

Repainting, logos and ornamental grasses additions would add interest giving Milledgeville a defined character, according to Pham.

“That way it doesn’t cost too much to maintain it, and it’s attractive,” the aspiring landscape architect said.

The structural catwalk on West Broad Street is a hot topic.

Pham suggested removing the rusted fencing for a cleaner look, painting and vegetation if the structure was closed to pedestrians.

If it remained open, other options are giving an aesthetically pleasing bridge inspired by New York City designs.

Carlee Schulte, director of Milledgeville’s Main Street/Downtown Development Authority, said the Georgia Department of Transportation said the city could move forward with catwalk projects.

“I like the vegetation, but I love the signage because one of my things is when you drive in I want you to know you are coming (into Milledgeville),” Schulte said.

As for the stairs below the catwalk, Pham said opening an art design competition would take advantage of student talent. She showcased similar mosaic tile work in San Francisco.

“Tourists come out to see those sets of stairs, and I think something similar could be incorporated into Milledgeville,” Pham said.

Building signage into the North Columbia Street downtown entrance hill would be extremely visible to drivers as well.

Using flowers, stone or paint to design place Milledgeville spelled out would work, according to Pham.

The South Wayne Street tunnel connects downtown parking to businesses but isn’t the best looking.

Pham told Council treating the street entrance as a storefront façade could change the look. Mosaic tiles and outside lighting are options.

“It gives a sense of movement, liveliness and gets you excited about going into the downtown area,” the intern said.

Other suggestions included four-foot sidewalk cafés allowing outside restaurant dining. Paint, rope or special pavement outside the stores would denote the café location.

Other improvement designs Pham detailed are adding an arch for the Hancock Street parking alleyway using custom ironwork.

Pham created phase construction plans for some projects.

She provided vegetative beautification research for the city. City officials saw what trees perform well in urban environments with restricted space.

Reviewing the feasibility and cost remains a major point when considering all these landscape projects. Milledgeville was selected based on its likelihood to implement some of the designs.

The city’s total cost was $1,440 for the intern services. GMA and GCF, through the Georgia Downtown Renaissance Partnership, provided the remaining financial support for the program.

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