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Decatur received $4.4 million in grant funding through the Atlanta Regional Commission to redevelop the MARTA station located in the heart of the downtown business district. The goal of the project is to remove as many of the visual and physical barriers as possible to improve pedestrian flow through the plaza and better integrate the design into the traditional character of the adjacent courthouse square. The master plan for the project, completed in 1999, has been updated and construction is scheduled to begin in mid-2005.

The plan calls for the removal of the large planter walls, expansion of stairs and expansion of the sidewalks on either side of the plaza. Streetscape improvements will be extended along the retail sidewalks to add street trees, street lamps and more room for outdoor dining.

Handicapped access will be provided to the plaza level from both sides of the station area and the upper brick level will be expanded to allow for more effective use during festivals and special events.

The most striking element of the design is the change to the Church Street entrance to the station. The glass awning is being removed along with the large support walls. The large "bowl" that leads down into the Church Street entrance will be filled and replaced with a grade-level extension of the sidewalk at Church Street. The new station entrance has the appearance of a more traditional storefront and leads to new stairs, ramps and fare gates located inside the station. The treatment is more compatible in scale and design to surrounding buildings and is more inviting to pedestrians.

The original Decatur MARTA station opened in 1979 at a time when the small-town character of the existing central business district was not valued. With the adoption of the Decatur Town Center Master Plan in 1982, the vision for downtown redevelopment shifted to a focus on maintaining the unique character of the community. The city embarked on the implementation of this plan in 1983 and the positive results are all around us. Now that funding has been secured to redesign the MARTA station, we have an opportunity to complete one more goal outlined in this plan. It may turn out to be one of the most important and visible accomplishments we make in our downtown redevelopment program.

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Last updated: 1/7/2011 12:49:27 PM