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Decatur gives thumbs up to (possibly) develop East Lake MARTA station

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Initiative could examine portion of property for prospective new use

The city commission of Decatur wants a Livable Centers Initiative study of the East Lake MARTA station for possible development — a unique approach in that the city initiated it, and not MARTA itself — the AJC reports.

The study will be executed in partnership with City of Atlanta and MARTA. Interesting fact: Only Vine City's station gets less ridership than East Lake, which originally opened in the late 1970s.

The Livable Centers Initiative study could move forward with the idea of ultimately developing a portion of the property, possibly going mixed-use similar to the Avondale MARTA project scheduled to break ground soon. Or the the Edgewood/Candler Park station project called "Spoke," which is happening one stop to the west.

The East Lake MARTA hub includes eight acres. The station itself is located in Decatur, but half the property is in Atlanta.

The AJC reports that daily entries average 1,101 at East Lake, compared to 5,388 at the Avondale MARTA, and 4,466 at the downtown Decatur station. There are 621 parking spaces at East Lake, with an average of (only) 39 percent used daily compared to 62 percent at Avondale. So East Lake station would seem a logical candidate.

Estimated costs for the study are $125,000. If approved, the grant would pay 80 percent of the expense.

According to the Georgia Atlanta Regional Commission’s website, the Livable Centers Initiative is a program that awards planning grants on a competitive basis to local governments and nonprofit organizations "to prepare and implement plans for the enhancement of existing centers and corridors consistent with regional development policies, and also provid(ing) transportation infrastructure funding for projects identified in the LCI plans."