Athens, Georgia

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Athens, Georgia
Athens–Clarke County
City Hall, Athens, Southeast view 20160630 1.jpg
City Hall in Downtown Athens
Nickname(s): 
"The Classic City"
Clarke County Georgia Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Athens Highlighted.svg
Location in Clarke County and the state of Georgia
Coordinates: 33°57′N83°23′W / 33.950°N 83.383°W / 33.950; -83.383 Coordinates: 33°57′N83°23′W / 33.950°N 83.383°W / 33.950; -83.383
CountryUnited States
State Georgia
County Clarke
Named for Athens, Greece
Government
  Mayor Kelly Girtz [1]
Area
   Consolidated city–county 118.2 sq mi (306.2 km2)
  Land117.8 sq mi (305.0 km2)
  Water0.5 sq mi (1.2 km2)
Elevation
636 ft (194 m)
Population
 (2010) [2]
   Consolidated city–county 115,452
  Estimate 
(2018)
125,964
  Density851.5/sq mi (328.8/km2)
   Metro
209,271
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
30601, 30602, 30603, 30604, 30605, 30606, 30607, 30608, 30609, 30612
Area code(s) 706/762
FIPS code 13-03440 [3]
Website athensclarkecounty.com

Athens, officially Athens–Clarke County, is a consolidated city–county and college town in the U.S. state of Georgia. Athens lies about 70 mi (113 km) northeast of downtown Atlanta, a global city. The University of Georgia, the state's flagship public university and an R1 research institution, is in Athens and contributed to its initial growth. In 1991, after a vote the preceding year, the original City of Athens abandoned its charter to form a unified government with Clarke County, referred to jointly as Athens–Clarke County. [4] As of 2017, the U.S. Census Bureau's estimated population of the consolidated city-county (all of Clarke County except Winterville and a portion of Bogart) was 125,691; the entire county including Winterville and Bogart had a population of 127,064. [5] Athens is the sixth-largest city in Georgia, and the principal city of the Athens metropolitan area, [6] which had a 2017 estimated population of 209,271, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. [7] Metropolitan Athens is a component of the larger Atlanta–Athens–Clarke County–Sandy Springs Combined Statistical Area, a trading area. [8] The city is dominated by a pervasive student culture and music scene centered on downtown Athens, next to the University of Georgia's North Campus. [9] Major music acts associated with Athens include numerous alternative rock bands such as R.E.M., the B-52's, Widespread Panic, and Neutral Milk Hotel. The city is also known as a recording site for such groups as the Atlanta-based Indigo Girls.

College town community dominated by its university population

A college town or university town is a community that is dominated by its university population. The university may be large, or there may be several smaller institutions such as liberal arts colleges clustered, or the residential population may be small, but college towns in all cases are so dubbed because the presence of the educational institution(s) pervades economic and social life. Many local residents may be employed by the university—which may be the largest employer in the community—many businesses cater primarily to the university, and the student population may outnumber the local population. In the United States over the past few decades, so-called "college towns" have cropped up near colleges and universities, but these are distinctly commercial enterprises designed and built by commercial development companies and consisting of shops and, in some cases, upscale housing. They are, in effect, small shopping plazas, often built to vaguely resemble a college "quad."

Georgia (U.S. state) U.S. state in the United States

Georgia is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Georgia is the 24th largest in area and 8th-most populous of the 50 United States. Georgia is bordered to the north by Tennessee and North Carolina, to the northeast by South Carolina, to the southeast by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by Florida, and to the west by Alabama. Atlanta, a "beta(+)" global city, is both the state's capital and largest city. The Atlanta metropolitan area, with an estimated population of 5,949,951 in 2018, is the 9th most populous metropolitan area in the United States and contains about 60% of the entire state population.

Atlanta Capital of Georgia, United States

Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. With an estimated 2018 population of 498,044, it is also the 37th most-populous city in the United States. The city serves as the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, home to 5 million people and the ninth largest metropolitan in the nation. Atlanta is the seat of Fulton County, the most populous county in Georgia. Portions of the city extend eastward into neighboring DeKalb County.

Contents

History

Historic American Buildings of Athens in 1936 Franklin House (Athens, Georgia) 1936 Historic American Buildings Survey.jpg
Historic American Buildings of Athens in 1936

In the late 18th century, a trading settlement on the banks of the Oconee River called Cedar Shoals stood where Athens is today. [10] On January 27, 1785, the Georgia General Assembly granted a charter by Abraham Baldwin for the University of Georgia as the first state-supported university. Sixteen years later, in 1801, a committee from the university's board of trustees selected a site for the university on a hill above Cedar Shoals, in what was then Jackson County. On July 25, John Milledge, one of the trustees and later governor of Georgia, bought 633 acres (256 ha) from Daniel Easley and donated it to the university. Milledge named the surrounding area Athens after the city that was home to the Platonic Academy of Plato and Aristotle in Greece. [11]

Oconee River river in the United States of America

The Oconee River is a 220-mile-long (350 km) river which has its origin in Hall County, Georgia, and terminates where it joins the Ocmulgee River to form the Altamaha River near Lumber City at the borders of Montgomery County, Wheeler County, and Jeff Davis County. South of Athens, two forks, known as the North Oconee River and Middle Oconee River, converge to form the Oconee River. Milledgeville, the former capital city of Georgia, lies on the Oconee River.

Georgia General Assembly state legislature of the U.S. state of Georgia


The Georgia General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Georgia. It is bicameral, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Charter Grant of authority or rights

A charter is the grant of authority or rights, stating that the granter formally recognizes the prerogative of the recipient to exercise the rights specified. It is implicit that the granter retains superiority, and that the recipient admits a limited status within the relationship, and it is within that sense that charters were historically granted, and that sense is retained in modern usage of the term.

City Hall on College Avenue in Downtown Athens, seen across Washington Street Athens, Georgia City Hall 2008.jpg
City Hall on College Avenue in Downtown Athens, seen across Washington Street

The first buildings on the University of Georgia campus were made from logs. The town grew as lots adjacent to the college were sold to raise money for the additional construction of the school. By the time the first class graduated from the university in 1804, Athens consisted of three homes, three stores, and a few other buildings facing Front Street, now known as Broad Street. Completed in 1806 and named in honor of Benjamin Franklin, Franklin College was the first permanent structure of the University of Georgia and of the city of Athens. This brick building is now known as Old College.

Benjamin Franklin American polymath and a Founding Father of the United States

Benjamin Franklin was an American polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a leading writer, printer, political philosopher, politician, Freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions. He founded many civic organizations, including the Library Company, Philadelphia's first fire department and the University of Pennsylvania.

Athens officially became a town in December 1806 with a government made up of a three-member commission. [12] The university and town continued to grow with cotton mills fueling the industrial and commercial development. Athens became known as the "Manchester of the South" after the city in England known for its mills. In 1833 a group of Athens businessmen led by James Camak, tired of their wagons getting stuck in the mud, built one of Georgia's first railroads, the Georgia, connecting Athens to Augusta by 1841, and to Marthasville (now Atlanta) by 1845. In the 1830's and 1840's, transportation developments and the growing influence of the University of Georgia made Athens one of the state's most important cities as the antebellum era neared the height of its development. The university essentially created a chain reaction of growth in the community which developed on its doorstep. [13]

Cotton mill factory housing powered spinning or weaving machinery for the production of yarn or cloth from cotton

A cotton mill is a building housing spinning or weaving machinery for the production of yarn or cloth from cotton, an important product during the Industrial Revolution in the development of the factory system.

Manchester City and metropolitan borough in England

Manchester is a major city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 545,500 as of 2017. It lies within the United Kingdom's second-most populous urban area, with a population of 2.7 million, and third-most populous metropolitan area, with a population of 3.3 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority for the city is Manchester City Council.

Augusta, Georgia Consolidated city-county in Georgia, United States

Augusta, officially Augusta–Richmond County, is a consolidated city-county on the central eastern border of the U.S. state of Georgia. The city lies across the Savannah River from South Carolina at the head of its navigable portion. Georgia's second-largest city after Atlanta, Augusta is located in the Piedmont section of the state.

During the American Civil War, [14] Athens became a significant supply center when the New Orleans armory was relocated there to what is now called the Chicopee building. Fortifications can still be found along parts of the North Oconee River between College and Oconee Street. In addition, Athens played a small part in the ill-fated Stoneman's Raid when a skirmish was fought on a site overlooking the Middle Oconee River near what is now the old Macon Highway. [15] A Confederate memorial stands on Broad Street near the University of Georgia Arch.

American Civil War Internal war in the U.S. over slavery

The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North, which also included some geographically western and southern states, proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights in order to uphold slavery.

During Reconstruction, Athens continued to grow. The form of government changed to a mayor-council government with a new city charter on August 24, 1872, and Henry Beusse was elected as the first mayor of Athens. [16] Beusse was instrumental in the city's rapid growth after the Civil War. After serving as mayor, he worked in the railroad industry and helped bring railroads to the region, creating growth in many of the surrounding communities. Freed slaves moved to the city, where many were attracted by the new centers for education such as the Freedmen's Bureau. This new population was served by three black newspapers: the Athens Blade, the Athens Clipper, and the Progressive Era. [17]

Freedmens Bureau United States bureau responsible for improving freed slaves conditions

The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, usually referred to as simply the Freedmen's Bureau, was an agency of the United States Department of War to "direct such issues of provisions, clothing, and fuel, as he may deem needful for the immediate and temporary shelter and supply of destitute and suffering refugees and freedmen and their wives and children."

In the 1880's, as Athens became more densely populated, city services and improvements were undertaken. The Athens Police Department was founded in 1881 and public schools opened in fall of 1886. Telephone service was introduced in 1882 by the Bell Telephone Company. Transportation improvements were also introduced with a street paving program beginning in 1885 and streetcars, pulled by mules, in 1888.

Broad Street in Downtown Athens near North Campus of the University of Georgia AthensGeorgiaStreetScene2008 05 s 03.jpg
Broad Street in Downtown Athens near North Campus of the University of Georgia

By its centennial in 1901, Athens had experienced a century of development and growth. A new city hall was completed in 1904. An African-American middle class and professional class grew around the corner of Washington and Hull Streets, known as the "Hot Corner", where the Morton Building was constructed in 1910. [18] The theater at the Morton Building hosted movies and performances by black musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, and Duke Ellington. In 1907 aviation pioneer Ben T. Epps became Georgia's first pilot on a hill outside town that would become the Athens-Ben Epps Airport. Athens got its first tall building in 1908 with the seven-story Southern Mutual Insurance Company building.[ citation needed ]

During World War II, the U.S. Navy built new buildings and paved runways to serve as a training facility for naval pilots. In 1954, the U.S. Navy chose Athens as the site for the Navy Supply Corps school. The school was in Normaltown in the buildings of the old Normal School. It closed in 2011 under the Base Realignment and Closure process. The 56 acres (23 ha) site is now home to the University of Georgia/Medical College of Georgia Medical Partnership, the University of Georgia College of Public Health, and other health-related programs

In 1961, Athens witnessed part of the civil rights movement when Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes became the first two black students to enter the University of Georgia. [19] Despite the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling in 1954, the Athens–Clarke County school district remained segregated until 1964.

Timeline

Timeline of Athens, Georgia

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the balance has a total area of 118.2 square miles (306.1 km2), of which 117.8 square miles (305.1 km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) (0.41%) is water.

Athens lies within the humid subtropical climate zone, with hot, humid summers and mild to moderately cold winters. Annual rainfall averages 49.7 inches (1,260 mm). Light to moderate snowfall can occur in winter. In the spring, frequent thunderstorms can sometimes become severe, even producing tornadoes. The city itself sits on a series of anomalous hills, unique to the Piedmont region.

Climate

Athens has a humid subtropical climate. [39] Its climatic regime is in many ways typical of Southeastern United States with long and hot summers transitioning into short and cool winters, but with precipitation being consistently high throughout the year. Normal monthly temperatures range from 43.5 °F (6.4 °C) in January to 80.6 °F (27.0 °C) in July; on average, maxima reach 90 °F (32 °C) or higher and stay below 40 °F (4 °C) on 58 and 5.8 days annually, and there are 48 days annually with a minimum at or below freezing. [40]

Official record temperatures range from −4 °F (−20 °C) on January 21, 1985 to 109 °F (43 °C) on June 29, 2012; [40] the record cold daily maximum is 18 °F (−8 °C) on January 30, 1966, while, conversely, the record warm daily minimum is 79 °F (26 °C) as recently as August 11, 2007. [40] Temperatures rarely fall below 10 °F (−12 °C), having last occurred January 7, 2014. [40] The average window for freezing temperatures is November 5 to March 24, allowing a growing season of 225 days. [40]

Precipitation is relatively well spread (though the summer months are slightly wetter), and averages 46.3 inches (1,180 mm) annually, but has historically ranged from 28.61 in (727 mm) in 1954 to 71.39 in (1,813 mm) in 1964. [40] Snowfall is sporadic, averaging 2.9 inches (7.4 cm) per winter, but has reached 13.6 inches (34.5 cm) in 2010–11. [40]

Climate data for Athens, Georgia (Ben Epps Airport), 1981–2010 normals, [41] extremes 1893–present
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °F (°C)80
(27)
83
(28)
89
(32)
97
(36)
100
(38)
109
(43)
108
(42)
107
(42)
108
(42)
100
(38)
86
(30)
80
(27)
109
(43)
Mean maximum °F (°C)71
(22)
73
(23)
81
(27)
87
(31)
92
(33)
97
(36)
98
(37)
97
(36)
94
(34)
86
(30)
78
(26)
71
(22)
99
(37)
Average high °F (°C)53.9
(12.2)
58.2
(14.6)
66.2
(19.0)
74.0
(23.3)
81.8
(27.7)
88.7
(31.5)
91.4
(33.0)
89.9
(32.2)
84.0
(28.9)
74.4
(23.6)
65.2
(18.4)
55.7
(13.2)
73.7
(23.2)
Average low °F (°C)33.1
(0.6)
36.3
(2.4)
42.5
(5.8)
49.3
(9.6)
58.2
(14.6)
66.4
(19.1)
69.8
(21.0)
69.3
(20.7)
62.7
(17.1)
51.5
(10.8)
42.4
(5.8)
35.0
(1.7)
51.5
(10.8)
Mean minimum °F (°C)17
(−8)
20
(−7)
26
(−3)
34
(1)
45
(7)
56
(13)
63
(17)
61
(16)
50
(10)
36
(2)
26
(−3)
20
(−7)
14
(−10)
Record low °F (°C)−4
(−20)
3
(−16)
11
(−12)
26
(−3)
37
(3)
45
(7)
55
(13)
53
(12)
30
(−1)
24
(−4)
7
(−14)
2
(−17)
−4
(−20)
Average precipitation inches (mm)4.05
(103)
4.48
(114)
4.43
(113)
3.15
(80)
3.00
(76)
4.18
(106)
4.47
(114)
3.53
(90)
3.94
(100)
3.55
(90)
3.82
(97)
3.73
(95)
46.33
(1,177)
Average snowfall inches (cm)1.4
(3.6)
0.6
(1.5)
0.8
(2.0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.1
(0.25)
2.9
(7.4)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)10.49.59.38.28.710.810.59.17.76.88.69.9109.5
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)0.80.40.2000000000.31.7
Source: NOAA [40] [42]

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.
1810 273
1850 1,661
1860 3,848131.7%
1870 4,25110.5%
1880 6,09943.5%
1890 8,63941.6%
1900 10,24518.6%
1910 14,91345.6%
1920 16,74812.3%
1930 18,1928.6%
1940 20,65013.5%
1950 28,18036.5%
1960 31,35511.3%
1970 44,34241.4%
1980 42,549−4.0%
1990 45,7347.5%
2000 100,266119.2%
2010 115,45215.1%
Est. 2017125,964 [2] 9.1%
U.S. Decennial Census [43]

As of the census [3] of 2010, there were 100,266 people, 39,239 households, and 19,344 families residing in the city. The population density was 851.5 people per square mile (328.8/km²). There were 41,633 housing units at an average density of 353.6 per square mile (136.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 64.71% White, 27.37% Black or African American, 0.21% Native American, 3.15% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 3.11% from other races, and 1.41% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.39% of the population.

The large population increase from 1990 to 2000 reflects the altered boundaries that came with the consolidation of Athens and Clarke County, not just the influx of new residents.

There were 39,239 households out of which 22.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.3% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 50.7% were non-families. 29.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the city, the population was spread out with 17.8% under the age of 18, 31.6% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 15.3% from 45 to 64, and 8.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,118, and the median income for a family was $41,407. Males had a median income of $30,359 versus $23,039 for females. The per capita income for the balance was $17,103. About 15.0% of families and 28.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.2% of those under age 18 and 13.5% of those age 65 or over.

Government

Economy

Businesses

Downtown Athens at the intersection of Clayton St. and College Avenue Athens, Georgia - Clayton Street Intersection.jpg
Downtown Athens at the intersection of Clayton St. and College Avenue

Athens is home to a growing number of young technology companies including Docebo, Roundsphere, and Cogent Education. The city is also home to more established technology companies such as Partner Software, Peachtree Medical Billing, and Digital Insight.

Athens is home to several pharmaceutical manufacturing and biotechnology companies such as Merial and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The University of Georgia also hosts its own biotechnology research centers mostly from the lower east side of town bordering Oconee county.

Independent publisher Hill Street Press is headquartered here. Authors with previous, or current, residence in the city include Pulitzer Prize winners Deborah Blum and Edward Larson, as well as Judith Ortiz Cofer, Reginald McKnight and Coleman Barks.

Tourism

Each spring, there are bicycle races collectively known as the Twilight Series. One is the Athens Twilight Criterium.

Competitiveness

In 2010 the average household rent in Athens was $962. The national average was $1087. [45] Of the Athens population 25 years of age or older, 39.3% have earned a bachelor's degree or higher. [46]

Arts and culture

The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia has been, since 1982, the official state art museum. Culture coexists with the university students in creating an art scene, music scene and intellectual environment. The city has music venues, restaurants, bars, and coffee shops that cater to its creative climate.

Points of interest

Formal garden at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia at the University of Georgia State Botanical Garden of Georgia 001.jpg
Formal garden at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia at the University of Georgia

Music

Georgia Theatre Georgia Theater, Athens.JPG
Georgia Theatre

The music of Athens, Georgia, includes a wide variety of popular music and was an important part of the early evolution of alternative rock and new wave. The city is well known as the home of chart-topping bands like R.E.M. and The B-52s, and several long-time indie /rock hip-hop groups. The Athens music scene grew in the early 1970s and later during the 1980s with the Georgia Theatre and 40 Watt Club as the aforementioned bands scored breakout hits. Other notable bands were Widespread Panic, Dreams So Real, Indigo Girls, Vigilantes of Love, Matthew Sweet, The Method Actors, Love Tractor, Pylon, Flat Duo Jets, The Primates, Modern Skirts, The Whigs, and Corey Smith.

National acts that have come out of Athens include: The Whigs, Reptar, Danger Mouse, Dreams So Real, alternative duo Jucifer, Servotron, Vic Chesnutt, Drive-By Truckers, Elf Power, Neutral Milk Hotel, Lera Lynn, The Sunshine Fix, Colt Ford, Velocirapture, Brantley Gilbert, Corey Smith, Harvey Milk, The Olivia Tremor Control, of Montreal, Widespread Panic, Perpetual Groove, Five Eight, Dead Confederate, Thayer Sarrano, Jet by Day, Mothers, and Athens Boys Choir. R.E.M. members Michael Stipe, Mike Mills and Peter Buck still maintain residences in Athens. The photo book, Athens Potluck, by Jason Thrasher documents the musical legacy of the town. [51]

Every summer since 1996 the city has hosted AthFest, a nonprofit music and arts festival in the downtown area. [52]

Education

Clarke County School District

The Clarke County School District supports grades pre-school to grade twelve. The district consists of fourteen elementary schools, four middle schools, and three high schools (one non-traditional). [53] The district has 791 full-time teachers and 11,457 students as of 2010. [54]

Private schools

The Arch in Downtown Athens ArchUGA1.jpg
The Arch in Downtown Athens

Colleges and universities

Media

Newspapers

Athens Banner-Herald publishes daily. UGA has an independent weekly newspaper, The Red & Black . Flagpole Magazine is an alternative newspaper publishing weekly.

Radio and television

Local radio stations include:

In addition, WFSH-FM 104.7 FM, a contemporary Christian music station, is licensed to Athens but based in Atlanta. Atlanta-based Rhythmic Top 40 station WSBB-FM (95.5 The Beat) was formerly licensed to Athens (and also the former home of country station WNGC, which now broadcasts at 106.1) but has since changed its city of license to Doraville, Georgia.[ citation needed ]

Athens is part of the Atlanta television market. Two Atlanta-market television stations, WGTV (channel 8) and WUVG (channel 34), are licensed to Athens. However their transmitters are in the Atlanta metropolitan area. WGTV broadcasts from the top of Stone Mountain. From 2009 until 2015, UGA operated a television station, WUGA-TV (formerly WNEG-TV) from studios on the UGA campus, but maintained its transmitter near Toccoa, its city of license; what is now WGTA has since moved its studios back to Toccoa after being sold by UGA.

The 1940 film The Green Hand was shot in Athens, using local townspeople and students and faculty from the University of Georgia as its cast. The film had its premiere in Athens in January 1940, at an event attended by Governor Eurith D. Rivers.

The movie Darius Goes West was shot in Athens. [65]

The 1980–81 ABC-TV television series Breaking Away (based on the 1979 film of the same name) was filmed in and around Athens, and made use of the university buildings, and local stone quarries for filming locations.[ citation needed ]

In 2000, the fictional Ithaca University scenes in Road Trip were filmed on the North Campus of the University of Georgia. [66]

In 2009, a town, namely 'Rayford', which was loosely based on Athens, appeared in the video game Left 4 Dead 2.[ citation needed ]

In 2012, Trouble with the Curve was partially filmed at The Globe in downtown Athens. [67]

Also in 2012, The Spectacular Now was filmed entirely in Athens and the surrounding area. [68]

Infrastructure

Transportation

Highways

The city is the focus of U.S. Highways U.S. Route 29 (US 29), US 78, US 129, US 441, and Georgia State Route 72 (SR 72), and near the eastern terminus of SR 316 and the southern terminus of SR 106. Other state routes in Athens are SR 8 and SR 15, which follow US 29 and US 441 respectively, SR 10 which follows US 78 east and west of Athens but deviates to US 78 Bus. to go through Athens, and SR 15 Alt. which starts at the SR 10 Loop interchange at Milledge Avenue and follows Milledge and Prince Avenues to US 129 which it follows to the north. The SR 10 Loop serves as a limited-access perimeter. The city is bisected east to west by Broad Street/Atlanta Highway (US 78 Bus. and SR 10) and north to south by Milledge Avenue (SR 15 Alt.). Lumpkin Street, Prince Avenue (SR 15 Alt.), North Avenue, and Oconee Street (US 78 Bus.) along with Broad Street are major thoroughfares radiating from downtown. College Station Road and Gaines School Road are major thoroughfares on the east side of Athens, along with US 78 east (Lexington Road). On the west side, most major thoroughfares intersect US 78 Bus. (Broad Street/Atlanta Highway), including Alps Road/Hawthorne Avenue, Epps Bridge Parkway, and Timothy Road/Mitchell Bridge Road.

Airports

Athens-Ben Epps Airport (FAA code AHN) has been operational since 1917. It is east of downtown outside Georgia State Route 10 Loop and north of US Route 78. AHN qualifies for air service to be provided under the Essential Air Service provisions. SeaPort Airlines provides commercial air service to Nashville International Airport, TN. Until 2012, Georgia Skies and Wings Air provided commercial air service to Atlanta, and until 2008 (prior to either airline's current AHN service), US Airways provided service to Charlotte. Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) is the primary point of departure and arrival for Athenians due to the relative lack of air service to AHN. [69]

Alternative

Athens encourages use of alternative transportation. Bike lanes are provided on major thoroughfares. A rail-to-trail redevelopment is being considered to connect Downtown with the East Side. Organizations such as BikeAthens support and encourage biking. Skateboarding and small scooters are also common sights around UGA campus and Downtown.

Public transit

Bus

Athens Transit provides intracity transit seven days per week. [70] UGA Campus Transit provides fare-free 24 hours/5 days a week transit around the University of Georgia campus, Milledge Avenue and Prince Avenue on the way to UGA's newest campus, the Health Sciences Campus. [71] Southeastern Stages, a subsidiary of Greyhound Lines, [72] provides intercity bus services. [73] Low cost curbside bus service to Atlanta and Charlotte is also provided by Megabus.

Rail

Athens has no direct passenger rail service; the closest Amtrak stations are in Atlanta, Gainesville, and Toccoa. Until the 1950s and 1960s the Seaboard Air Line Railroad's daily Cotton Blossom (ended, 1955), Washington - Atlanta, Silver Comet , New York - Birmingham and Tidewater (ended, 1968), Norfolk - Birmingham service made stops at the SAL's Athens depot at College Avenue and Ware Street, north of downtown. Train service to Athens ended with the last run of the Silver Comet in 1969. [74] [75] [76] [77] Freight service is provided by CSX [78] and Athens Line, [79] the latter having leased tracks from Norfolk Southern. The Georgia Department of Transportation has proposed the city as the terminus of a commuter line that links Atlanta and Gwinnett County along the Georgia 316 corridor. [80]

Utilities

Electric service in Athens-Clarke is provided by two customer-owned electric cooperatives, Walton EMC and Jackson EMC, as well as by Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company. Water utility is provided by the city. Garbage is provided by private companies according to customer purchase, though the city does offer municipal garbage pick up as a service. Natural gas is supplied by Atlanta Gas Light through various marketers within the deregulated market.

Healthcare

Sister cities

Notable people

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