2013 National Planning Excellence Awards: HUD Secretary's Opportunity & Empowerment Award
Restoring the American City: Augusta's Laney Walker/Bethlehem
The Laney Walker/Bethlehem Revitalization Initiative involves two historic African American neighborhoods and is a pioneering effort to reverse decades of blight and disinvestment and regenerate nearly 1,100 acres of Augusta's urban center. This decision to catalyze regeneration of Augusta's urban core was primarily driven by politics and the need to address a historically disenfranchised population. The project addresses a number of needs and community objectives outlined in the Augusta-Richmond County Comprehensive Plan, including affordable housing, access to jobs and services, open space, blight abatement, infill development, and preservation of local heritage.
The long-term revitalization effort is anticipated to provide housing for nearly 10,000 residents for a total investment of $2.8 billion, create 38,000 new jobs, and result in total investment into the local economy of $4.5 billion over the next five decades.