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Slowed by the COVID-19 epidemic, Athens officials hope to get pick up the pace on creating a master plan for the city.

The Master Plan Steering Committee Meeting is set to meet at 4 p.m. Thursday in the Derek D. Daniels Conference Room of the Athens Partnership Center. 

"We kind of had a little bit of momentum going and we don't need to let that die," said Mayor Monte Montgomery. "The planning is a little behind schedule. By the time committees were formed, ideas were brought forward, information requested from city staff, and we had community meetings, it was supposed to be about a year.

In December, Athens residents, city officials and interested individuals gathered at the First Methodist Church fellowship hall for a Master Plan open house meeting. Those in attendance learned something about the parameters of the project and the many areas of community life that will be studied over the next few months.

When the community planning meetings are completed, the company will work up and present three scenarios for the future of Athens and ideas on how to achieve them. Sometimes parts and pieces of all three scenarios can be put together to make a preferred scenario.

 The committee members and officials will take the existing long range plan into account, created about 20 years ago, while devising the new one.

Norris Design, with offices in Dallas and Austin was chosen in July 2019 as the company to do a Master Plan Update and Review. The goal is to stimulate new development in the downtown area and find the proper location for parking.

Company officials called for major public meetings to help them understand the community and its desires. When the community meetings are scheduled, council members hope there'll be a good public turnout, as they produce a document that will set the tone for the city for the years to come.

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