West Broad Rising is a movement made of up community members and local stakeholders with the goal of supporting the West Broad neighborhood of Athens, Georgia. Through working with neighborhood residents, key partners, and local government, we are looking forward to the creation of a Youth and Community Enrichment Facility that honors the legacy of this historic neighborhood and contributes to the economic, educational, and environmental needs of neighborhood residents.
The future campus will include a commercial kitchen, community garden, market pavilion and meeting rooms, and provide job training and small-business support for adults and high school students.
The process to determine the location of the Youth and Community Enrichment Facility has included several stages. In Stage I, the appointed Site Selection Committee identified a target geographical area along with specific criteria and standards for the selection of an appropriate site. The proposed target area and site criteria and standards were submitted for public input through a public forum held at Rocksprings Park Community Center in May 2022 as well as an online survey.
All parcels within the identified target area were then evaluated using the established criteria. Ten parcels and parcel groups were found by the Site Selection Committee to be the highest scoring and most viable sites for consideration.
In 2022, site selection committee narrowed down the ten parcels to the top three sites, which include Parcel Group 4, the current site of Gresham’s Disco, Parcel Group 1, a currently empty lot located at 135 Honeysuckle Lane, and Parcel Group 17, which sits on the site of the Historic West Broad School, which was identified as the top choice. The Clarke County School District maintains ownership of the West Broad School site.
In the fall of 2023, the Clarke County School Board hosted a retreat where Athens-Clarke County officials and Athens Land Trust were given the opportunity to pitch the top choice of the site selection committee, the West Broad School, as the site of the future campus. The proposal included the option of CCSD leasing the property for the project to move forward.
If the proposal does not move forward, the search for the site of the Youth and Community Enrichment Facility will continue, starting with reevaluating the other top choices for the site.
The proposal to renovate the West Broad School campus is just another step in a long history of community involvement in the West Broad Rising initiative. Over 15 years of events, community projects, neighborhood input sessions, and studies have been completed in the neighborhood.
The potential functions and site uses presented in this proposal directly reflect community needs that have been identified during neighborhood input sessions and events in the West Broad neighborhood over the past eight years. Below is a consolidated list of the most important needs identified by the community as well as an overview of the public input sessions.
Community input began with a neighborhood map where residents placed green dots on areas of positive activity and red dots in areas that need improvement. Public input was mapped along with historic building data from the neighborhood. Information was gathered through interviews, mapping, surveys and design charrettes.
INPUT SESSION DATES:
2/2013: Community Design Charrette at the Center for Community Design and Preservation
9/2016: Community Input Meeting at HT Edwards Campus
12/2016: Community Input Meeting at Clarke Central Campus
4/2017: West Broad Neighborhood Block Party and Open House
COMMUNITY IDENTIFIED NEEDS
• Place for kids / recreation
• Restaurants and food
• Youth Services
• Adult Ed
• African American Museum
• Historic Monument
• Grocery Store
• Social Services
• Retail Stores
• Community Center
• Clothing and daycare are businesses that community members would like to start.
SMALL BUSINESS OWNER NEEDS
• Space /support to grow a business
• An affordable place to sell and train that serves the African-American community.
• Economic Empowerment
• Support services to establish a business
• A highly visible location
• Affordable retail space
• Business Training and development
• Commercial Kitchen
• Finance / Bookkeeping counseling