McLendon Ave. commercial block sold

Jan 11 2014

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 meets with CPNO Zoning Committee

Jan 9 2014

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.
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. 

January Messenger - Available Now

Jan 8 2014

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

Updated as of Jan. 5 - Zoning Committee Meeting

Updated agenda still includes discussion on Dad's Garage's interest in a potential move to 351 Moreland Avenue.  However, Fox. Bros is no longer scheduled at attend the January meeting.

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Epworth at Candler Park, 1561 McLendon Ave; Atlanta, Georgia 30307

Sidewalk chat

Dec 26 2013

Historic Hexagonal sidewalk tile."In Atlanta, the person who thinks anything at all of the kind of sidewalk he walks on must be impressed by the large extent of walk made up of flat hexagonal concrete tile," a cement industry trade journal in 1909 reported. "And the person who does not ordinarily think of such things also will soon become conscious of the fact that he is traveling over an easy and smooth pavement."

As Candler Park residents and folks who live in other Atlanta intown neighborhoods know, many of our historic sidewalks are no longer smooth and not so easy to walk along. If you're pushing a baby stroller or trying to navigate with a wheelchair, you're oftentimes forced to walk in the street because many segments of our sidewalks are in disrepair.

The number one item on a 2010 "Community Wish List" prepared to guide the completion of the Candler Park Master Plan was "fix the sidewalks." According to the Master Plan document approved by the neighborhood earlier this year, "In much of the neighborhood, sidewalks are non-existent or in extremely poor condition. Broken sidewalks, gaps in the sidewalks and buckled pavement are common on many streets."

Damaged sidewalk.
Tree roots create much of the damage to Candler Park's sidewalk. Photo by David Rotenstein.

Our sidewalks contribute to our neighborhood's character and sense of place, yet they remain a vexing problem for residents and planners. One way to provide some visual continuity with the past has been to replace damaged sidewalk pavers with poured concrete that has been scored to resemble the historic pattern found throughout the city.

Walking through the neighborhood, I've wondered how individuals and the city's public works employees approach the challenges our sidewalks present. The day after Christmas I encountered an Atlanta Department of Watershed Management crew finishing a section of sidewalk just poured where underground pipe work recently was completed.

I stopped and talked to the crew as they were finishing for the afternoon. "Any time they come out and tear anything up, it’s up to us to put it back together," explained Watershed worker Grady Broughton. "We put back what the neighborhood and stuff is used to."

Patterns used to score new sidewalks.
Metal patterns used to recreate the historic hexagonal patterns on Candler Park sidewalks.
Photo by David Rotenstein.

Broughton and his two coworkers showed us the metal patterns used to score the new sidewalks. One is a full hexagon and the other is a half hexagon. "It’s a lot more extra work. You’ve got to try to match them," he said."

I would have liked to have talked a little more but a family had just stopped to deposit some books in the Little Free Library next to the work zone and someone stepped into the wet concrete. It was the second time that day.

What do you think about our sidewalks and the ways to retain their charm while ensuring that Candler Park has a more user-friendly circulation network?

Join us at tonight's meeting: Food at 6:30, biz at 7

Dec 16 2013

Please join us 7 tonight for the Candler Park Neighborhood Organization's December Meeting at the Existentialist Church, 470 Candler Park Drive.

We have several interesting topics on the agenda, including Master Plan implementation, the Events Committee's proposals on festivals, and a bylaws amendment designed to streamline our annual election meeting. Plus, you'll find out how you can participate in Trees Atlanta's upcoming Candler Park tree planting and even how to get an excellent tree for your property out of the deal!

In addition, we'll be seeking input on efforts to make our meetings flow better — with an aim toward saving time and allowing us to focus on the important stuff. If that's not enough, there's another lure: It'll be my stab at chairing the meeting, which should give you plenty of opportunities for laughter and derision!

Socializing starts at 6:30 — with complimentary vittles from the Corner Tavern in Little Five Points, as well as beer and softdrinks. Also, remember: Free child care is available.

Please find the agenda attached.

Bella's baby plants

Dec 14 2013

Christmas is approaching and Diana Swiderski has some baby Christmas cactus plants that need new homes. Swiderski, who likes to be called “Bella,” raises the plants from clippings in her backyard greenhouse. 

The retired healthcare professional has been selling plants throughout Atlanta for about three years. She peddles her leafy progeny at nonprofit auctions, flea markets, and other events. But her favorite venue is the masonry retaining wall in front of the Miller Ave. home where she's lived since 1988. It's where Bella helps to build community one plant at a time.

"One thing about the plants out there on the wall, it's been a really good opportunity to meet my neighbors," Bella explained. "So being outside and people walking and stopping at the wall, I find out that they're my neighbors and I get to meet new people."

And why does she want to be known as Bella? “My neighbors know me as Diana but I’m trying to get them to go to Bella,” she said. Learn why she wants to be known as Bella and more about this interesting Candler Parker in the January 2014 Messenger. In the meantime, if you're walking along Miller Ave. between Oakdale Road and Candler Park Drive, be sure to keep an eye open for Bella's Baby Plants and, of course, Bella.

Bella's greenhouse. Photo by David Rotenstein.
Bella's greenhouse. Photo by David Rotenstein.

Recommendations from the Events Committee Survey

Dec 13 2013

submitted by Amy Stout

The CPNO Committee on Events in Candler Park was tasked with developing recommendations to present to City of Atlanta officials regarding special events in Candler Park. Our group conducted a survey to gather neighborhood input, the results of which guided the development of the following recommendations for your consideration.

Event Size

  • Enforce the Parks Department’s recommendation to limit events inCandler Park to Class C or smaller (Less than 20,000 attendees)
Traffic and parking on neighborhood streets
  • Limiting festival size should lessen impact
  • Increase MARTA train service
  • Run shuttles from MARTA station
  • Utilize Edgewood MARTA station parking lots

Sound levels

  • Enforce decibel limits currently in effect at Chastain Park
  • End amplified music at 9:30 pm
Please go to to submit your feedback and/or attend the CPNO meeting on Monday, December 16th for a neighborhood discussion of these proposals.

November election postscript

Dec 11 2013

The December Messenger features an article on voting irregularities that occurred at the Epworth Methodist Church polling station during the Nov. 5 municipal election. The article recounts how many Candler Parkers were issued incorrect electronic ballots. According state and Atlanta elections officials, the Candler Park precinct was the only location with ballot problems in the election.

Voters who tried to cast ballots for the candidates they supported discovered the problems less than an hour after the polls opened at 7 AM. Several approached campaign workers who were set up across McLendon Avenue where they had posted signs for their candidates and where school board candidate Leslie Grant’s volunteers were giving out doughnuts and coffee. Marcy Leamy, who lives on McLendon, was one of the first to report the problems to campaign workers and CPNO. I was there, along with CPNO president Ken Edelstein, when Leamy approached Grant’s volunteers and told them about the incorrect ballots. “I have her yard signs,” Leamy said. "We can't vote for the people we want to."

As word of the ballot problems began spreading, campaign workers had to deal with another issue: they had posted signs and set up their table too close to the polling station. Shortly after Leamy told Grant’s volunteers about the incorrect ballots, Epworth’s assistant poll manager removed campaign signs from the McLendon Ave. roadside that he determined were too close to the church. He also told Grant’s volunteers to move their table to a point beyond the legally mandated distance from the church building. Georgia law, like that in other states, restricts campaign activities near polling places. According to Georgia Code, campaign literature (including signs) must be more than 150 feet from “the outer edge of any building within which a polling place is established.”

Campaign workers Carolyn Morton and Candace Dixon move their table away from Epworth on Nov. 5. Photo by David Rotenstein.
Campaign workers Carolyn Morton and Candace Dixon move their table
away from Epworth on Nov. 5. Photo by David Rotenstein.

Campaign signs along McLendon Ave. on election day. Photo by David Rotenstein.
Campaign signs along McLendon Ave. on election day.
Photo by David Rotenstein.

For more about the November election, read the December Messenger

Proposed ByLaw Amendment

Dec 10 2013

Proposed Amendment to Artivle IV Section 5:

Add on to the end of the paragraph:

In the event that there is only one candidate for given office and there are no nominations from the floor, then and only then, the requirement for election by ballot for that officer may be suspended. This could be may be done by a motion to elect by acclamation, properly seconded, and voted by a show of hands.