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Adair Park caught in dispute between Mayor Reed and Atlanta Public Schools

By MARIA SAPORTA >> Original Story

Last July, my son David bought a house in the transitional neighborhood of Adair Park. The beautiful community in southwest Atlanta is an enclave in the midst of some of the city’s most depressed neighborhoods.

My son believed in the renaissance that was coming. Construction of the southwest leg of the Atlanta BeltLine was about to start — only two blocks away from his 1925 home. Yet three doors down from his house was the boarded up George Adair Elementary School — vacant since 1973 and a victim of demolition by neglect.

We all dreamed about what the neighborhood would be like if someone could buy and renovate the century-old school into a living, breathing, productive building. Now THAT would transform Adair Park.

Amazingly, a developer has emerged who wants to buy the building from the Atlanta Public Schools for $412,000 to restore and redevelop it into residences. The community has embraced the developer, and his plans to turn an eyesore into an economic boost for a neglected part of the city.

But now Mayor Kasim Reed is standing in the way of that sale by not releasing the deed of the school to APS. Why? He’s holding the Adair School hostage … to get a deal on the dispute between APS and the Atlanta BeltLine over what is owed in property taxes.

The Adair Park community is furious. And the mayor is losing in the court of public opinion.

Why punish Adair Park just to make a political statement? It is not smart politics to anger your own constituents right before you want them to vote for a $250 million bond referendum on March 17.

To be clear, we all want the city and APS to work out their differences. The BeltLine is good for the city and APS. Strong public schools are vital to our city’s future. We all should be on the same page.

Let’s start by letting APS sell the George Adair School.

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Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.



  1. urban gardener February 10, 2015 10:27 am

    So, when Beverly Hall wanted to sell properties, Shirley Franklin didn’t throw a tantrum and string her up. Reed is touting that he can manage a budget, that APS can’t – so if APS wants to shed dead weight and improve their balance sheet, Reed’s posturing is complete spoiled brat’dom. Somehow i doubt Mary Norwood would have pulled the same stunt.Report

  2. JWK February 10, 2015 10:47 am

    That is his (Mayor Reed) achilles heel. Sometimes he lets pettiness get in the way of good judgement and common sense. The best PR arises when both parties to a dispute come out as winners.Report

  3. urban gardener February 10, 2015 10:59 am

    JWK, your assessment that his petulant and dictatorial behaviour is his achillies heel is being quite charitable.Report

  4. Thomas3105 February 11, 2015 10:06 pm

    The conventional wisdom is that the Beltline is good for APS.  That is simply not true. IF, and that’s a big IF, the Beltline pays APS everything it owes under the current contract through 2030 (the end of the contract), APS will have invested about $90 million less than if there had been no Beltline at all. In order for APS to recoup that difference by 2035, the Beltline would have to increase tax revenue by more than 8% a year for each of the next 20 years. The reality is that 2 generations of children will pass through APS before there is even a chance of APS benefiting from the Beltline.Report

  5. Kiplyn Primus February 16, 2015 9:33 pm

    The “horror”of how people live in 30314…is it a “horror” if there isn’t a blimp?Report


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