Subarea 1 Workshop Summary

May 6, 2017
Salem Bible Church
2283 Baker Rd.

On Saturday morning, May 6th, Council member Ivory Young and the City of Atlanta Department of City Planning welcomed the public to the first “subarea workshop” for the D3: Westside Revive project. Due to the range and diversity within District 3’s many neighborhoods, the planning team divided the district into 9 “subareas,” where residents can focus on the issues and opportunities specific to their community.

On this cool, sunny Saturday morning, a 30-40 neighbors and stakeholders gathered in the Fellowship Hall of Salem Baptist Church in Center Hill to participate in a workshop designed specifically for this subarea, which includes Dixie Hills, Center Hill, Harvel Homes, and Penelope Neighbors.

The workshop began with a video presentation with highlights from the prior public meeting. Then Council member Young welcomed the attendees and thanked them for their participation. “Many of you are educators, doctors, mechanics, contractors,” he said. “But today you are going to be in the business of planning and transforming your community.” Young explained that the goal of the workshop was hear from residents and “to extract what you know that no one else knows.” He reiterated that “the plan is only as good as your investment in it,” and “this document is to protect your interests.”

Next, lead consultant Contente Terry reviewed the planning process, timeline and goals for D3, and restating the significance of this planning project. While some areas of the district required plan updates, others were starting from scratch.

“Raise your hand if your neighborhood does not have a master plan,” she asked. Almost all hands went up.

Finally, lead urban designer Herman Howard introduced a set of places within Subarea 1 where the planning team was seeking feedback. This list included transportation corridors (Boone Blvd., West Lake MARTA station), schools (Frederick Douglass High, KIPP Academy), greenspaces (Lincoln Cemetery, Anderson Park), existing multi-family housing complexes and industrial sites—all sites where concentrations of people and economic activity could translate into development opportunities.

In the second hour of the workshop, participants moved to the four breakout stations located throughout the hall to talk with the planning team and offer their ideas.

Station 1. Discover

Many longtime Dixie Hills residents shared their memories of small businesses, entertainment venues, local entrepreneurs and prominent families that made up the historic character and legacy of the neighborhood. Some shared these stories on video, while others explored historic aerial maps and added their memories to a large scale timeline graphic on the wall.

Station 2. Discuss

At the Discuss station, residents had the opportunity to share their thoughts on their neighborhood regarding eight topics that will be used to develop the Well-being Index: Housing, Jobs and Income, Education, Environment, Health, Safety, Community and Civic Engagement, and Connectivity.

Residents provided comments by pinning cards on pin-up boards and a district-wide map, and by participating a 40-question survey. According to residents, the areas with most opportunity for Subarea 1 include safety, environmental issues, housing security and quality of open space.

Station 3. Design

Participants reviewed large table maps to identify key sites for improvements in housing, green/open spaces, transportation/circulation, pedestrian and bike trails, commercial/retail, and job centers. This lively dialogue between residents and the planning team was supported with precedent imagery.

Each breakout station offered creative ways for participants to contribute feedback and prompted conversations with the planning team. After months of coordination and high level strategizing, this first subarea workshop was a welcome opportunity for both attendees and the planning team to discuss details and concerns specific to their neighborhoods.

Attendees were encouraged to follow the project website (www.d3-westsiderevive.com) and to return on May 18th for the recap presentation on their subarea.