Community Planning Assistance Team

Laney Walker/Bethlehem, Augusta, Georgia

Final Report and Planning Foundation Support

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Read the team's final report (pdf)

Project Background

Laney Walker/Bethlehem is a long-term redevelopment project on 1,100 acres in the heart of Augusta, Georgia encompassing two historic African-American neighborhoods. Plans call for a mixed-income, mixed-use, sustainable neighborhood, much as the neighborhood was in its heyday. The masterplan won the 2013 HUD Secretary's Opportunity and Empowerment Award in Chicago at the National Planning Conference. The aspirational plan calls for 10,000 residents, and $2.8 Billion of investment before it is fully implemented. The city of Augusta is working with two teams of consultants to implement the plan and has taken out bonds to finance the project. The team will be tasked with analyzing the current bond structure to determine the best refinancing options, as well as identify future funding streams to continue the project for 10-15 years. In addition, the CPAT will look at the staffing and consultants in relation to the redevelopment project as well as give an overall assessment of the implementation.

Project Updates

December 16-20, 2013

The full team arrived in Augusta for a packed few days of work to study the Laney Walker/Bethlehem Redevelopment Program. The team was able to meet with many different stakeholders and residents. The team really dug into the politics behind the project, to see where the interest was. Overall, the team was very impressed with the progress and how much redevelopment has taken place. Seeing the redevelopment first hand going through the neighborhoods was exciting. Meeting with a group of residents, the pride in their neighborhood was overwhelming. Weeding through the politics was tricky, but the team was able to present their preliminary findings to the Augusta-Richmond County Commissioners. Their final report is now available for download.

November 3-4, 2013

Team Leader Carson Bise, AICP and APA project manager Thomas Bassett visited Augusta for the preliminary visit. They were able to meet with all the major stakeholders involved with the redevelopment of the Laney Walker/Bethlehem area. After background from the consultants and the city staff, the group visited the study area to see the development that has occurred. The city was able to acquire a large amount of parcels as well as provide the necessary infrastructure upgrades to accommodate new development The city has developed houses, but also private developers have been investing and constructing units as well. The preliminary visit was a good start to figure out the background of the funding and how to move forward with a full team visit in December.

Meet the Team

Carson Bise, AICP, President of TischlerBise, will lead the CPAT in Laney Walker/Bethlehem, Augusta, Georgia.

Carson Bise, AICP

Carson Bise, AICP
Team Leader

Carson Bise is president of TischlerBise. He has 23 years of fiscal, economic, and planning experience and has developed and implemented fiscal impact models used for evaluating multiple land use scenarios, specific development projects, annexations, urban service provision, tax-increment financing, and concurrency/adequate public facilities monitoring. In seven years as a planner at the local government level, he coordinated capital improvement plans, conducted market analyses and business development strategies, and developed comprehensive plans. Bise has also written and lectured extensively on fiscal impact analysis and infrastructure financing.

Julie Franklin, AICPJulie Franklin, AICP

Julie Franklin is a senior associate with Lawrence Group, a design, planning and development firm. For over two decades, Franklin has facilitated the creation and implementation of community-led plans focusing on local solutions and sustainability. She has built programs, development incentive packages, and public-private partnerships. Franklin previously served as economic development director for the City of Spartanburg and development manager for the City of Greenville, both in South Carolina, where she played a role in the revitalizing the cities' downtowns and surrounding neighborhoods. She holds a Master of City and Regional Planning degree from Clemson University.

Charles Graves, AICPCharles Graves, AICP

Charles Graves is director of the department of planning and buildings for the City of Cincinnati. Graves previously worked as the deputy director of long range planning in the Office of Planning for Washington, D.C. where he helped develop the comprehensive plan for the city. In his career he has also served as the commissioner of planning and community cevelopment in Atlanta, director of planning for Baltimore, and director of planning and development in Appleton, Wisconsin. He holds an MS in Community Economic Development from New Hampshire College and earned a Certificate of Advanced Study from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government Program.