Earlier this year, we told you about the Young Gamechangers. They’re a group of 50 people from around the state and some from Milledgeville that worked in Baldwin County for several months with a goal to help the community with issues they’re facing.
The group came up with four suggestions to those problems.
One of those is to implement a green space downtown.
“It could affect it really positively or it could be negative," Amber Patitucci said.
Owner of Firefly Boutique, Amber Patitucci, says she has mixed feelings about a new green space plan that would transform part of the downtown area into pedestrian-only access.
John Jackson, one of the Young Gamechangers, says the goal with this plan is to increase foot traffic downtown.
It would include a splash pad, an area for local artists to display their work, and a common-area for the community.
“It’s very transformative for your downtown area because it expands. Because when you get people to come in, they’ll stay longer," Jackson said. "Foot traffic is much better than car traffic because you’ll go from shop to shop and you’ll normally stay longer in the downtown area."
In order for this plan to work, a portion of GA HWY 49 would have to be shut down, and traffic re-routed since the green space goes from Wayne Street all the way down Hancock to Clark Street.
But one of the potential problems in this plan is parking.
"It sounds good for the walkability, and if I want to get a drink over here and walk to shop while I wait, that sounds great," Patitucci said. "But I’m also concerned a lot about parking. That’s been a big concern downtown anyway, so if we’re going to take away all these parking spots, where is the extra parking going to come from?”
Jackson says this plan would potentially take away about 100 parking spots downtown.
Hank Griffeth, Milledgeville City Planner, says before the city discusses the plan, the city has to find a way to compensate for those parking spots that would be taken away.
Patitucci says she hopes the city takes the businesses that would be affected into consideration before they make any decisions.
“Right now, people drive by and see something new. Now they’re going to have to get out of their cars, walk, and find us," Patitucci said. "That’s a negative I see, but I see some positives from it as well.”
This is just a suggestion made by the Young Gamechangers and city officials have not decided if they'll implement this plan.
Jackson says he hopes to form a committee to help the city get the ball rolling with this project.
For more details about the Young Gamechangers suggestions for the city, you can see the full report here.