By Sara Belsole
COLUMBUS, GA - Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson is urging Booker T. Washington residents to stand behind her plan to redevelop the Liberty District.
The plan calls for replacing the housing land with mixed-use development as well as about 100 apartments that would be modernized and renovated like Ashley Station and Arbor Point.
There would also be another 100 mixed-income housing units built inside the Liberty District.
Tax commissioner Lula Huff says this is the part of the plan she disagrees with.
100 units into that particular location that has been identified as the Liberty center surrounding the Liberty Theater, then you've defied the plan," Huff says, referring to 2003 Master Plan for the Liberty District.
"I think anyone who is saying this is not consistent to the 2003 Liberty District Revitalization Plan is not reading it thoroughly," Tomlinson says.
In the plan, it says "there may need to modify certain aspects of the strategic concept" and calls its policies a "general guidance system."
"They are general objectives and they change with time as opportunities become available. It in no way dictates where particular things would be in the future, no plan does that," Tomlinson says.
But Huff says she has a different interpretation.
"If you go in there and try to rezone the area as purely residential, it won't work. They knew it wouldn't work. We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a consulting firm to come in here and tell us that," Huff says.
Tomlinson says rezoning the district would also boost the economy. She says because the districts location near the jail and in a high flood area, it could be difficult to attract businesses to the area.
"Not only are you going to increase the residential population, you're going to have people living at different economic levels, people frequenting commercial establishments."
City Council will vote on the rezoning at its meeting April 23rd.