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Underground Atlanta master plan heavy on parking and light on preservation

An updated masterplan for the redevelopment of Underground Atlanta was presented Thursday to a committee of Invest Atlanta.

Although it is labeled as a “conceptual” plan, several members of the public were concerned about the number of new parking spaces – 2,189 – that are envisioned to be part of the Underground development. That is in addition to the two existing Underground Atlanta garages.

Speaker David Ralston talks transit, religious liberty and a possible run for governor

In a talk to the Atlanta Press Club Wednesday, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston spent a great portion of the speech talking about transit.

Ralston had already made news in January when he proposed setting up a House Commission to study transit. He also made a point that the Commission was not being put together to “take over” any existing transit agency (a point that was welcomed by MARTA officials at the time).

Now the state is well on its way to establishing the transit commission, which Ralston told the Press Club that it would not be another “study committee,” but a “real effort” to advance the development of transit in Georgia.

Public corruption case in DeKalb County, GWCCA lost in din over Atlanta corruption

Federal prosecutors have closed a public corruption case involving more than $100,000 in bribes paid to a public official for contracts that involved millions of dollars in janitorial services for DeKalb County and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority. The sentencing phase in January was overwhelmed in the din over the corruption case involving the city of Atlanta.

ARC hires two new directors – Susan Chana and Sam Shenbaga

The Atlanta Regional Commission has hired two new members to its executive team – Susan Chana and Samyukth Shenbaga.

Effective March 13, Chana will become the regional planning agency’s director of its Center for Strategic Relations, succeeding Julie Ralston, who has just retired after 31 years with the organization.

Shenbaga has been named manager of the agency’s Community Development Division, succeeding Dan Reuter, who recently left the ARC.

Atlanta Regional Commission’s Julie Ralston retires after 32 years with the agency

For more than 31 years, Julie Ralston has been the communications voice for the Atlanta Regional Commission.

On Feb. 21, she retired as ARC’s director of the Center for Strategic Relations – complete with a state proclamation, slide show of Ralston through the years as well as video, a reception following the organization’s board meeting and a party at Manuel’s.

MGM Resorts’ Bill Hornbuckle makes pitch for a casino resort at DeKalb Chamber lunch

The 79th annual meeting of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce featured Bill Hornbuckle, president of MGM Resorts International, as its keynote speaker.

It was a bit unusual because the state legislature is considering bills that would permit voters to allow casino gaming with a resort – but it is virtually predetermined that the main location would be in Fulton County, state’s most populous county located just west of DeKalb. Of course, the lunch was held at the Georgia Aquarium, which also is in Fulton County.