Fort Valley - Making Connections
Leigh, Nancey Green
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The Georgia Institute of Technology City and Regional Brownfield Redevelopment Studio began with a focus on 37 sites that were identified as brownfields in Fort Valley when its application for EPA Brownfield grants was made. It soon became clear that, in the broadest sense of the term, Fort Valley is a brownfield community. Consequently, the brownfield redevelopment plan presented here is, in fact, a community-wide redevelopment plan. For the key to addressing wide-scale scattered brownfields in a community is found by placing the sites within the overall community context. An overall redevelopment focus can help strengthen the local economy and market conditions which, in turn, can generate the interest in, and demand for, re-using its wide array of brownfield sites. While the history of Fort Valley suggests that is has been a typical small southern town, divided down the middle by railroad tracks and race, the full potential of Fort Valley's future rests upon the town resolving that "there is no other side of the tracks." This requires enhancing the value and ability to contribute of all members of the community. The town has to resolve and rectify past environmental injustices and demonstrate its commitment to prevent future environmental injustices. This requires the incorporation of current business and economic development activities. Most importantly, it will require making connections between the poorly functioning districts and nodes of the community so that they can augment and support each other. Successfully making connections will mean that the whole of Fort Valley can become greater than the sum of its disparate parts. Thus, the focus of this redevelopment plan is on making connections for Fort Valley. The research and analysis of the studio has revealed numerous and exciting proposals for making connections that will transform all of Fort Valley into a quality small-town for everyone.