Residents take part in Glynn Avenue design workshop

By DEBORAH BAYLISS The Brunswick News | Posted: Friday, May 13, 2016 12:00 am

Glynn Ave workshop aerial photo

Brunswick resident Karen Polite was clear that she does not want to see anymore strip malls along Glynn Avenue, but would like to see more opportunities for entertainment, more retail and something recreational where children can take part.

“I reside not far from the Glynn corridor,” Polite said as she took part in the Tuesday kickoff of the Glynn Avenue Design Charrette (workshop) where participants helped create a guide for new development along U.S. Highway 17.

Polite said she feels Brunswick has a lot of potential and is poised for growth so being able to take part in creating development guidelines for a city that has so much potential is a great way to spend an evening.
“I just moved back here from Atlanta,” Polite said. “I wouldn’t have moved back here if I didn’t think Brunswick was about to thrive with people from all walks of life.”

Led by Denise Grabowski of Savannah-based Symbioscity, an architectural and planning firm, the three-day workshop got underway on Tuesday with a brief overview presentation and various exercises where participants were asked to share ideas about the vision for the corridor.

“We’re here to talk about what development should look like along Glynn Avenue,” said Grabowski, whose firm was hired at a cost of $83,000 to help lead the process and develop the framework and final master plan.

“For many people, Glynn Avenue is the only impression they have of Brunswick,” Grabowski said. “Right now, Highway 17 is dilapidated. We want Glynn Avenue to not only be a gateway but the face of Brunswick and we want to make it a destination.”

Some suggestions from Grabowski for workshop participants were to consider community predictability so that as it develops it’s not done in a piecemeal fashion.

Suggestions included that design framework for the area should ensure easy access for walking, biking and vehicles to get to retail shops, grocery stores and anything that might be built. Design formats should also give careful consideration to lighting, and structures with clear views to the outside, so the area is less conducive to crime and has the feel of a safe and welcoming place.

New architecture, Polite suggested, should be reflective of Georgia’s coastal area.

Blight and the loss of businesses along the Glynn Avenue corridor resulted in the area being deemed an Enterprise Zone, with hopes that the designation would lead to revitalization. Enterprise Zones provide tax incentives to developers and businesses that set up shop in the zoned area.

St. Simons Island resident Donna Bassett has a great appreciation for Brunswick and attended the workshop because she also feels Brunswick is poised for growth.

A drop-in session took place Thursday, offering a chance for people to see the initial concepts. The public can stop by at 3 p.m. today at Old City Hall, to see what came out of the design charrette.

The closing presentation will provide a summary of what came out of the workshops as well as renderings to illustrate the type of development envisioned for the future of the Glynn Avenue corridor.

“We really would like to see Highway 17 improved and wanted input from the (residents) of Brunswick,” Brunswick City Manager Jim Drumm said.

A foundation for the creation of the newly designed Glynn Avenue corridor was created and will be further defined through this process, Drumm said.

An overlay district was adopted in 2004 to help shape the appearance of new development along Glynn Avenue, but residents wanted more detailed design guidelines to ensure the right look with future development.

Grabowski and her team will continue to work on the framework design throughout the year.

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