Planapalooza kicks off in Athens

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ATHENS, Ala. – Athens residents are getting a chance to voice their opinions on how Athens should look over the next 20 years. It’s all part of a series of planning events called Planapalooza.

“The community input is an essential piece that we need and we desire and that we want to hear,” said Lekeisha Johnson, planner for the City of Athens

The four-day event, which kicked off on Saturday at Athens City Hall, creates a preliminary plan for Athens’ expansion and revitalization.

“This is an opportunity that connects the community, the consultants, staff and everyone to engage,” said Johnson.

Consultants are using feedback to literally map out how Athens could look by 2040 and takes into account everything from the city’s strengths to opportunities, with a focus on areas including education, housing, infrastructure, historic preservation, parks, and community engagement.

One aspect of the city, 19-year-old Samuel Barker said he would like to see improved is Athens’ nightlife.

“I do see a lot of, a lack of restaurant diversity, diversity in general, and I really hope to make a point of that during the meeting,” said Barker. “If you want to help contribute, you know as a citizen, visualizing the future of Athens this is the perfect thing to attend.”

Planapalooza continues through Tuesday. Planners and city staff are welcoming community feedback at Athens State University’s Center for Lifelong Learning on the square each day from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.

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