Duluth seeks grant for downtown plan

DULUTH -- The Duluth City Council on Monday voted unanimously to pursue a $50,000 Living Center Initiative Grant to update the city's downtown plan.

The council acted quickly to meet a Nov. 20 deadline for submitting the application for the 50/50 matching grant to the Atlanta Regional Commission.

The grant application was prepared on behalf of the city's Downtown Development Authority by Jordan, Jones & Goulding, the planning and engineering consulting firm that did Duluth's previous LCI downtown study 10 years ago. That plan included the Town Green, the city fountain and other downtown amenities that since have been developed.

Funds from this grant, if awarded to the city, will be used to update the plan, and community input will be solicited, Councilman Doug Mundrick said.

The DDA would provide the $50,000 in local matching funds.

During a work session discussion, the council directed City Administrator Phil McLemore to begin working with an architect to come up with a design for the first floor interior of the old Methodist Church that was relocated from the new City Hall site.

The council previously allocated $250,000 toward the relocation and restoration of the historic church's interior support system and exterior to preserve the building, which has been completed. An additional $250,000 in SPLOST funds has been designated to restore the church interior.

It was also informally agreed by the council to place plans to extend Ridgeway Road on hold to see how traffic patterns change once the proposed Hospital Connector has been completed or other future road improvements cause a significant traffic increase.