February 28, 2014

Volunteer Planning Team Makes Final Recommendations for Georgia Neighborhood

Laney Walker/Bethlehem Neighborhood Revitalization Effort Gets Future Funding Recommendations

CHICAGO — A three-member volunteer team of experts, part of the American Planning Association's Community Planning Assistance Teams program, spent nearly a week working with Augusta–Richmond County residents, business leaders, and officials to evaluate the existing work on the Laney Walker/Bethlehem Neighborhood Revitalization effort and to make recommendations about future funding options to maintain the project's momentum.

The team's analysis and recommendations have been published in a final report, with next steps focused around three key areas:


  • Fund the bridge loan requested by the Augusta Department of Housing and Community Development;
  • Allocate general funds for revitalization efforts citywide;
  • Identify additional community development funding streams; and
  • Strengthen community and private business partnerships.


  • Modify the city's land development regulations to enable development as envisioned by the Laney Walker/Bethlehem master plan; and
  • Evaluate and streamline the city's development permitting process to attract high-quality development partners.

Management structure

  • Complete current projects in Heritage Pine and Phase II of the Twiggs Circle;
  • Transition development responsibilities from the City of Augusta to nonprofit and for-profit public sector; and
  • Establish an internal project manager position to serve as the point person for the Laney Walker/Bethlehem project.

Read the final report of the Laney Walker/Bethlehem Planning Assistance Team

The American Planning Association's Community Planning Assistance Teams program helps communities with limited planning resources. Through the program, teams of professional planners are matched with communities requesting assistance on a variety of planning topics such as economic development, sustainability, transportation, and housing. The team works with the community and provides recommendations on how to enhance planning and envision a better future.

The Laney Walker/Bethlehem Community Planning Assistance Team was led by Carson Bise, AICP. Bise is the president of TischlerBise. Team members included Charles Graves, AICP, director of Planning & Buildings for the City of Cincinnati, Ohio; and Julie Franklin, AICP, of the Lawrence Group.

The community planning assistance team program was established in 1995 by the American Planning Association's professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners. Previous teams have worked in Franklin, Tennessee; La Feria, Texas; Crestdale, North Carolina; Buzzard Point, Washington, D.C.; and Henderson Point, Mississippi, among other locations.

Learn more about the Community Assistance Program.

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning — physical, economic, and social — so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, with almost 40,000 members worldwide in nearly 100 countries.


Roberta Rewers, APA Public Affairs; 312-786-6395; rrewers@planning.org