Maria’s Metro

Peter Conlon: Music Midtown is good for Atlanta — and Piedmont Park

As we count down the days to 2014 Music Midtown, I wanted to spend time with festival organizer Peter Conlon to hear his point of view of how the event was evolving in relation to Piedmont Park and the surrounding communities.

Conlon, president of Live Nation Atlanta, has been a concert promoter in the city for decades. He has seen it all and done it all. Conlon and his former business partner – Alex Cooley – who now owns Eddie’s Attic in downtown Decatur, started Music Midtown in 1994 on a site that now holds the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

It has seen its ups and downs and even a six-year hiatus before re-emerging fin 2011 in a scaled-down form at Piedmont Park.
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Posted in Maria's Metro | 19 Comments

Contrasting stories at Market Basket and Turner Broadcasting for Labor Day

What a fitting story for Labor Day.

Employees of the Market Basket grocery store chain in New England had walked off their jobs for six weeks because they wanted to work for the company’s fired CEO, not his not-so-liked cousin, who had won a family rivalry over who would be in charge.

The stand-off ended Aug. 28 when Arthur T. Demoulas announced he had been able to buy a majority of the company and would be reinstated as CEO. The response from the employees was nothing short of jubilation.

It made me pause. Which CEOs in Atlanta would employees be willing to fight for – be willing to put everything at risk – because they believed in that person’s leadership?
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It’s time for Atlanta to demand design excellence – let’s save 20 Hilliard St.

The hand-painted letters on the building says it all: “SAVE ME.”

Once again, Atlanta is at the precipice of losing an all-too-important historic building – this one at 20 Hilliard St, just a few steps south of Edgewood Avenue where the Atlanta Streetcar tracks line the corridor with a promise of better days ahead.

And yet, for some inexplicable and incomprehensible bureaucratic bungling, a significant contributing building to the national Martin Luther King Jr. Landmark district is on the verge of being demolished by the Atlanta Housing Authority.

Why? Why do we continue as a city to fall short over and over again from achieving excellence in our urban design?
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Posted in Maria's Metro | 19 Comments

Arthur Blank’s Westside Works offers jobs, gives hope and fulfills promises for 2nd graduating class in community

As he opened the envelope that told him the name of the company where he would be reporting to work the following Monday, Nicholas Holmes took a deep breath.

“This is a life-changing moment,” Holmes told his fellow 12 Westside Works graduates and the people who had come to cheer them on. “Ten months ago, my family gave up on me. I gave up on myself. I made some bad decisions.”

Westside Works is a four-week intensive program aimed at teaching construction skills to people living close to the new Atlanta Falcons stadium. Graduates walk out with seven credentials that are directly applicable to the construction industry.
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Castleberry Hill opposes ‘park-for-hire’ surface parking lots around stadium

Nothing sucks the life out of a community more than surface parking lots.

So it’s no surprise that the Castleberry Hill Neighborhood Association recently voted unanimously against a proposal by the Parc Vue Condo Development II, LLC, managed by Herman J. Russell, Sr., to change the zoning laws to permit “park-for-hire” surface parking lots on a wide swath of property near the new Atlanta Falcons stadium.

The Russell organization has proposed to remove “park-for-hire” lots as a prohibited use from the area that covers the better part of 10 blocks south of the new stadium between Northside Drive and Castleberry Hill.
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Posted in Maria's Metro | 8 Comments

A welcome to Adair Park – an Atlanta neighborhood that’s a historic gem

Adair Park – a historic community southwest of downtown – has now become an integral part of my family.

My son, David Luse, just bought a house (closing was on July 25) in Adair Park – another marker in his path to adulthood and self-sufficiency. The move also has opened a whole new vista into a corner of Atlanta that is becoming one of the hottest up-and-coming communities in the city.

Adair Park – a neighborhood that is tucked away between Metropolitan Parkway to the east, University Avenue to the south and the Norfolk Southern tracks to the west (beyond which lies the historic West End) – has become our own little gem.
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If you were at Bergen Belsen with my mother, I would love to talk with you

WANTED: The lost voicemail from the man who was in the Bergen Belsen concentration camp with my mother during World War II.

A few months ago, I was in my car listening to my work phone voicemails. A man said he was visiting relatives in Atlanta (I believe he said he was staying with his son and his son’s family). His message said he had been in the German concentration camp with my mother. He also told me he had some of the trademark sketches that my father had drawn for him. If I wanted those sketches, I should call him, and he left me his number.

Unfortunately, somehow, that voicemail got deleted or lost. When I went to transcribe my voicemails, that message was not there.
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Remembering the wisdom of Harry West – let’s fix what’s not working

During last week’s memorial service in honor of Harry West, my mind kept wandering back to another time when he was executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission.

It was 1998, and the Atlanta business community – through its Metro Atlanta Transportation Initiative – was recommending a new state agency to help come up with ways to solve the region’s congestion and transportation problems.

West was that lone voice crying in the wilderness. Let’s not create yet another agency. Let’s fix the ones we have.
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Commuter rail from Atlanta to Lovejoy is: ‘The Little Engine That Could’

A commuter rail line between Atlanta and Lovejoy should adopt the tagline:

“I think we can; I think we can; I think we can.”

And yes, we really can.

Forget all the panic from the Federal Transit Administration’s letter to the Georgia Department of Transportation on July 7 saying it was “deobligating” about $45 million in federal funds that had been earmarked for the commuter rail project by the U.S. Congress for more than a decade.
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Posted in Maria's Metro | 7 Comments

Clayton’s yes vote for MARTA sales tax ‘a turning point’ for regional transit

The year 2014 easily may be the year that MARTA and transit gains significant new ground in metro Atlanta.

The first solid indication that the times, they are a changing came Saturday morning when the Clayton County Commission, at specially-called meeting, voted 3-to-1 to place a full-penny MARTA tax on the Nov. 4 ballot.
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Posted in Maria's Metro | 8 Comments