This month's edition of the Candler Park Messenger is available here. In this month's issue - a story about state of our hexagonal sidewalk tiles and efforts to fix them, information about two potential zoning changes for the Little Five Points business district, a story by Don Foos about Glen Lopez and his dog Ranger, and plenty more. There's also information about a new events survey, available here.
I’m pleased to announce that Randy Pimsler, Joseph Hacker and Eric Dusenbury are the board’s nominees for CPNO’s new Master Plan Coordinating Committee.
Our next step: A confirmation vote on the nominees at CPNO’s General Meeting this Monday.
CPNO members voted last month to establish the three-person Coordinating Committee to help prioritize the Master Plan’s recommendations and to support CPNO members as we implement the recommendations.
The bulk of Master Plan progress still will depend on work on specific projects by lots of volunteers. But the idea is that the Coordinating Committee can help by working out conflicts, leveraging contacts, finding money, and prodding things along.
An ad hoc committee composed of Vice President Lexa King, Environment Officer John Skach and me interviewed candidates who’d volunteered to serve on the committee.
• Randy is the board’s nominee to chair the committee. An architect by profession and a longtime neighborhood activist, he’s served as CPNO president and in several other board capacities, with a particular involvement in zoning and land-use issues.
• Joseph is nominated to serve as vice-chair. He and his family returned to Atlanta a year-and-a-half ago from Philadelphia, where he earned a doctorate in planning and worked as a city and regional planner with an emphasis on transit, bicycle, pedestrian and human services. He’s now an assistant professor of planning and economic development at Georgia State's Andrew Young School. He moved to Candler Park last summer.
• Eric is our nominee for transportation coordinator. Like Randy, he’s a longtime neighborhood activist. He served as CPNO president for several years in the 1990s, and has been involved in several successful neighborhood projects, including the Freedom Park gateway and recent Iverson Park improvements.
At this week’s board meeting, all three nominees expressed their strong desire to engage neighbors in an open process — which I’m sure you’ll hear more about during discussion before the vote on Monday. Meanwhile, please take a moment to check out the Master Plan here. What project do you want to help bring to fruition?
Also on Monday’s General Meeting agenda:
- A motion to support one proposed zoning law change for the Little Five Points Neighborhood Commercial District, and a motion not to support another;
- A motion to change our bylaws regarding the election process for our NPU-N representative; and
- A motion to provide a $1,000 grant for facilities improvement for Clifton Sanctuary Ministries.
We also expect a couple of interesting visitors at Monday’s meeting. DeKalb County Commissioner Kathie Gannon plans to join us to discuss her “blueprint” to reform DeKalb County government. And Elena Parent, a Democratic candidate for the state Senate seat representing Candler Park, plans to pitch us (that seat will be open at the end of this year because Candler Parker Jason Carter is giving it up to run for governor).
A new farmers' market is coming to the Carter Center. According to information sent to the Messenger, the Freedom Farmers’ Market at The Carter Center will be open Saturdays starting March 1. The market will be open every Saturday morning from 9 AM to 1 PM. Vendors will be selling locally-sourced food and other products.
The market will be located in the southwest part of the Carter Center parking lots. For information on vendors, sponsorship opportunities, and other details, visit the Freedom Farmers' Market website at www.freedomfarmersmkt.com.
CPNO's forming a Coordinating Committee to lead the neighborhood in prioritizing the 108 recommendations in our new master plan. Then, that commitee will help all of us to implement those priorities.
This isn't our only route toward turning the master plan's positive vision for our community into a reality. If you've really got a big ol' hankering for one particular recommendation, please consider working with others to implement that project directly — or even taking on the "ownership" of a priority yourself.
But if dozens of people step forward to work on various projects — we should be so lucky! — we're going to need to communicate, prioritize and coordinate. That's where the Coordinating Committee, which was established by a motion approved at Monday's membership meeting, comes in.
Its first order of business will be to work with neighbors to set priorities — a gameplan for implementing the master plan. The next job will be to support implementation efforts by serving as our lead liaison to city officials and other outside parties, by removing roadblocks, by offering guidance, by seeking funding, and by doing whatever creative work it takes to put our master plan vision in place.
The committee will have a chair and a vice chair. A third member — the "transportation coordinator" — will focus specifically on traffic calming, bicycle-friendly measure, Marta and other transportation-related priorities.
Interested? Then, tell me via email. It would help if you'd first familiarize yourself with the plan itself, and if you included some specific information in your email, namely:
- What are you most passionate about in the Master Plan?
- Do you have any experience navigating local bureaucracies and working with politicians?
- Do you have any fundraising and/or project management skills?
- And what volunteer experience do you have at CPNO and elsewhere?
This is a rare opportunity to make a broad, big difference for your neighborhood. If it interests you, we hope to hear from you within the next week.
One of the BiRacial History Project's historical markers was severely damaged when a large truck struck it about 7:00 AM Thursday Jan. 16. According to Edith Kelman, witnesses observed a semi truck snagging low tree branches and striking the marker. The driver did not stop and no one was able to get a clear description of the vehicle or its license plate.
The incident was reported to the Atlanta Police Department. According to an officer who attended the January CPNO meeting, the driver may be liable for multiple traffic violations if identified.
Damaged Evening Star Lodge marker. Photo by Edith Kelman.
The marker was located on the east side of Candler Park Drive between Miller Ave. and Benning Rd. It was the third neighborhood interpretive marker placed by the BiRacial History Project. According to the project’s website, it marked the vicinity where the Edgewood Evening Star Lodge was located. Built in 1893, “Together with the Old Stone Church across the street, the Evening Star Lodge was a cornerstone of Black community life in this early biracial neighborhood.”
Also damaged in the incident were a concrete trash receptacle, a park bench, and a school crosswalk sign.
If you have any information about the incident or would like to learn more about the marker and the BiRacial History Project, contact founder Edith Kelman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CPNO has been a BiRacial History Project funding partner since 2006.
Did you know that Keep Atlanta Beautiful operates community recycling centers? From 10am - 3pm on the second Saturday of every month, you can drop off styrofoam, latex paint, electronics, and metals, as well as documents for shredding, at The Walden School, 320 Irwin Street in Old Fourth Ward.
There's another community recycling center dropoff location from 10am - 3pm on the first Saturday of each month in Buckhead at Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church, 2715 Peachtree Road NE. Both locations are open to the public and have no residency restrictions. See the attached flyer or Keep Atlanta Beautiful's community recycling center website for more details.
- The Master Plan Coordinating Committee motion that members have discussed at the previous two membership meeting
- The 2014 operating budget that Peter presented last month to the membership, and
- An amendment to the bylaws (proposed by neighbor Don Bender) clarifying the election process for the NPU rep.
Teri Stewart, co-owner of Donna Van Gogh's Artists' Market, contacted the Messenger with news that the commercial block on the south side of McLendon Ave. where her store is located has been sold. According to Stewart, the new owners are Blue Chip Pizza Products, the folks who own Fellini's Pizza. The company's office manager confirmed the purchase but the owners were unavailable to speak. Businesses in the 1600 block of McLendon Ave. include Stewart's store, LaFonda Latina, and The Flying Biscuit.
Dad’s Garage Theatre Company made its first formal pitch to CPNO’s Zoning Committee last night as the company weighs relocating to 351 Moreland Ave. Two restaurants currently occupy the site: Front Page News and Tijuana Garage. The theatre would occupy part of the existing building and construct new facilities in the lot's rear. Dad’s Garage was the only item on the committee’s agenda.
As reported in this month’s Messenger, the comedy improv outfit was displaced from its longtime Inman Park location on Elizabeth Street. The company rented space in its former location and when the property was sold and redeveloped, Dad’s Garage found itself homeless and sharing space with other area venues including 7 Stages in Little 5 Points.
Dad’s Garage board member Amanda Rhein told committee members and visitors from the Inman Park Neighborhood Association and the Little Five Points Business Association that her group had been looking for a new “forever home” for the past two years. The Candler Park location is one of 20 Dad’s Garage evaluated and it remains among the top preferred relocation sites.
Issues discussed inlcude proposed legislation to increase the cap on commercial recreation space -- the classification for theaters -- from 8,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet. Dad's Garage would require from 15,000 to 20,000 square feet for its performance spaces, offices, and other functions.
Parking was another issue discussed. Relocating Dad's Garage to Moreland Ave. would require new construction that would eliminate existing parking for the two restaurants. Concerns about impacts to parking for existing establishments like the Wrecking Bar and Brewhouse also were raised.
351 Moreland Ave. Photo by David Rotenstein.
The Moreland Ave. property is in a commercial zone that abuts Candler Park residences on Josephine Street. CPNO Zoning Committee members noted that Josephine Street residents would be the most likely neighbors impacted by new construction and uses at the site. Rhein and CPNO representitives will be discussing ways to get the residents of Josephine involved in the discussions once more details are known about the project.
The question of where Dad's Garage ultimately moves rests on a number of complex legislative and regulatory issues as well as funding for new construction. Changes to existing zoning laws could have longterm impacts to Candler Park and Little Five Points. These potential impacts include decisions by other property owners who might want to replicate the 351 Moreland project on their sites and the future businesses that could occupy 351 Moreland if Dad's Garage were to stop doing business in that location.
Look for an update in the February Messenger.
The January 2014 edition of the Candler Park Messenger is available online now [pdf]! This month's issue contains information about the recent traffic changes around Mary Lin, a call from CPNO President Ken Edelstein for neighbors to join together to help implement our Master Plan, and a wonderful piece by neighbor Don Bender about his history with Candler Park. Spoiler alert: it goes back quite a ways.
Physical copies will be distributed soon, so be on the lookout. If you're interested in assisting with distribution, shoot Peter Bluestone an email at email@example.com.