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David Pendered

Atlanta plans $200,000 study to help Turner Field neighborhoods

By David Pendered

Atlanta is poised to ask the ARC to help fund a $200,000 study intended to help guide the redevelopment of neighborhoods surrounding Turner Field.

Civic pride is evident along some streets near Turner Field, including this wall facing Hank Aaron Drive, in a photo taken in July. Credit: Donita Pendered

Civic pride is evident along some streets near Turner Field, including this wall facing Hank Aaron Drive, in a photo taken in July. Credit: Donita Pendered

The ARC would provide $160,000 and the city’s match of $40,000 would be provided by the city and by Invest Atlanta, the city’s development arm, according to legislation that’s due to be adopted Monday by the Atlanta City Council.

An urban renewal plan for the neighborhoods could extend the impact of the planned redevelopment of the ballpark and the 77 acres associated with it. Mayor Kasim Reed said last week that Turner Field could be sold, “very soon,” according to a report in ajc.com.

The sort of development being considered for Turner Field is exemplified in the plan by Georgia State University. GSU has proposed a $300 million complex with stadiums for football and baseball, shops, dorms for students, and housing for non-students.

The legislation the council is slated to approve Monday speaks only to the issue of funding. It does not address the scope of the study being requested. Atlanta councilmembers Carla Smith, Cleta Winslow and Joyce Sheperd sponsored the legislation.

The legislation states that Atlanta should apply for some of the funding the Atlanta Regional Commission has announced is available through the ARC’s Livable Centers Initiative program.

Pay phones are a rare sight in metro Atlanta, but still exist near Turner Field, in a photo taken in July. Credit: Donita Pendered

Pay phones are a rare sight in metro Atlanta, but still exist near Turner Field, in a photo taken in July. Credit: Donita Pendered

Specifically, the legislation requests help with funding a study that would cost up to $200,000. The city would have to provide a match of 20 percent of whatever amount of LCI funding is provided.

The LCI program intends to help local entities enhance their existing centers and corridors. The ARC’s website says the organization has approved the use of $18 million for LCI study funds from 2000 through 2017.

Two separate LCI studies are now underway in the city of Atlanta – one to evaluate the improvement of transit stations in the southern end of downtown; one to study transportation in the Vine City/Washington Park area.

The applications for these two studies illustrate the granular details that are devised before the studies begin. The following snippets are from the two applications:

Title: Downtown South Transit Station Area Enhancements

  • Sponsor: Atlanta Downtown Improvement District/Central Atlanta Progress;
  • The largest black oak tree in Georgia grows in the garden of Our Lady of Perpetual Hope, near Turner Field, in this photo from July. Credit: Donita Pendered

    The largest black oak tree in Georgia grows in the garden of Our Lady of Perpetual Hope, near Turner Field, according to a state certificate issued in 1989; photo taken in July. Credit: Donita Pendered

    Cost: $70,000;

  • Description: “The Five Points and Garnett MARTA rail stations are important Downtown assets that enhance mobility and accessibility for all Downtown populations – workers, residents, visitors and students. However, the physical aesthetics and condition of the station structures, as well as the surrounding pedestrian environments are perceived by many as unsafe, poorly maintained, disconnected and unappealing…. The project will result in tactical urbanism style enhancements that improve perceptions, accessibility and connectivity of the stations while also creating a unique sense of place that is consistent with the character of each of the stations.”

Title: Vine City/Washington Park Supplemental Study for JE Lowery Boulevard

  • Sponsor: City of Atlanta
  • Cost: $40,000
  • Description: “The transportation analysis/study will test and confirm the street cross-section recommended in the VCWP LCI: 6-foot sidewalks, 4-foot furniture zones, two 5-foot bike lanes and two 10-foot travel lanes. The intersection of JE Boone Boulevard and JE Lowery Boulevard will be analyzed to improve capacity, pedestrian mobility and turning movements, the realignment of the angled intersection and proposed reconfiguration of the JE Lowery Boulevard and Mayson Turner Road and its signalization will also be studied. Configuration and enhancement of bus stops and a wayfinding/dirextional/gateway sign plan will also be included.”


In 1989, the Georgia Forestry Commission declared the black oak at Our Lady of Perpetual Hope to be the largest specimen of its kind in Georgia. Credit: Donita Pendered

In 1989, the Georgia Forestry Commission declared the black oak at Our Lady of Perpetual Hope to be the largest specimen of its kind in Georgia. Credit: Donita Pendered

David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


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  1. Burroughston Broch November 17, 2014 2:30 am

    “GSU has proposed a $300 million complex with stadiums for football and baseball, shops, dorms for students, and housing for non-students.”
    This is yet another proposal for a taxpayer-funded Taj Mahal.
    The average home football game attendance in 2013 was 15,274 while the average this year fell to 15,115; this year’s average is inflated by their game against Georgia Southern that was heavily attended by Georgia Southern fans. Take away that game and the average for the other four home games was 11,787. Three other suitable stadia are already available: Hallford stadium in DeKalb with 15,600 seats, Grant Field at Georgia Tech with 55,000 seats, and the new Falcons stadium with 65,000. Why build another?
    The baseball team already has a baseball complex at 2819 Clifton Springs Road in Decatur with a seating capacity of 1,092. Georgia Tech’s baseball stadium has a seating capacity of 5,157. Why build another?
    Why would anyone in their right mind want the taxpayers to build housing for non-students?Report

  2. atlman November 17, 2014 7:49 am

    Burroughston Broch
    Despite your seething rage that the Turner Field area will not become the urban wasteland that you clearly desire it to be in order to punish Atlanta citizens for electing leaders that you personally do not approve of:
    0. The Falcons’ stadium will be WAY to big. And Georgia Tech is not going to allow a competing university to use its stadium (no other school does this, I am sure you are aware). Hallford Stadium? IT IS IN DEKALB COUNTY. Now Kennesaw State also used tens of millions of taxpayer funds to build their own stadium instead of trying to use the Georgia Dome or Georgia Tech’s stadium. I don’t see you complaining about that. Oh right … Kennesaw State is in Cobb County, whose leaders you support and approve of. So they can spend as much taxpayer funds as they like, right?  
    1. the new stadiums and training facilities – which are indeed needed by the way – are only a small part of the deal. The main portion of the deal is going to be the new dorms and classroom space. This will allow Georgia State to significantly increase their enrollment and finally – after having their origins as a night commuter school for nontraditional students that did not even have dorms until after the 1996 Olympics – be a full fledged urban research university.
    2. “Why would anyone in their right mind want the taxpayers to build housing for non-students?” Good question. But the taxpayers will not be. The $300 million is a PUBLIC-PRIVATE venture. The PRIVATE portion of the venture will be DEVELOPERS building condos and apartments, which will be sold to A) Georgia State faculty and employees, B) recent Georgia State grads that find employment downtown (of which there are plenty) and C) people who will see the benefits of living near a large urban research university. (And not just Georgia State grads, Georgia Tech and Emory grads will want to live there too.)

    That is why Fulton County is trying to block this deal. It will mean an influx of tens of thousands of educated, high income (and white and Asian) voters into that area, which right now is filled with people who either do not vote at all, or when they do vote tend to favor the old guard leadership. The new people who will come in will not vote for Eaves and company for county elections or for the old faction in municipal elections.
    Reed does not care about this as his political career is over and he is mostly concerned with his legacy. With this move, he can go from being known as the mayor who lost the Braves to the mayor who revitalized downtown and helped Georgia State become a serious urban university. This complex will keep a lot more Georgia State grads in the city (and specifically downtown) and attract companies that will want to benefit from all the research university grads that are living nearby (the same reason why Coca-Cola and NCR are leaving Cobb and Gwinnett to relocate downtown). 
    It would be a great deal for Georgia State, and a great deal for the city that would lead to the city – and county – electing a new breed of leaders. It would make that $300 million back in no time (especially since a huge chunk of that is private investment, not taxpayer money). But of course, you are too busy rooting for the Turner Field area to become a big sinkhole once the Braves leave to care about that.Report

  3. Bob Fuse November 17, 2014 8:30 am

    Why? It is cheaper to read all of the previous ones since Model Cities Program, since none of the recommendations will occur.Report

  4. Cory J. Lynch November 17, 2014 9:36 am

    $200,000 to “study” the problem? Just ride around the neighborhood for 10 mins to two hours and take detailed notes. It’s really not that hard to see the problems. What a waste of money…smh.Report

  5. FarrisLyons November 17, 2014 10:59 am

    @atlman You nailed it! I love it when educated and logical people speak!Report

  6. Burroughston Broch November 17, 2014 9:51 pm

    @atlman @ Farris Lyons Seething rage? You impute seething rage because I question the conventional wisdom of building yet more taxpayer-funded facilities that sit vacant 99% of the time? LOL
    0. GSU already plays its home games at the Georgia Dome that seats more fans than the Falcon’s stadium. So why then would the Falcon’s stadium be too big? GSU’s current baseball complex is in DeKalb County, so why can’t they play football there at Hallford Stadium? To be frank, I forgot about KSU; however, their stadium only seats 10,000 and it’s built for soccer, not American football. As a Tech alumnus and taxpayer, I would be pleased to see both GSU and Tech share Grant Field.
    1. Dorms are mentioned in the article but not classrooms. Dorms are OK. By the way, you don’t have to have dorms to be a research university.
    2. Prove it. It’s not stated that way in the article. Do you have insider knowledge?
    I have no interest in discussing the county politics. I leave that to you.
    As far as the $300 million being made back in no time, that’s what the supporters of the Taj MaBlank originally said. What I do know is that the City of Atlanta is having difficulty finding enough money to pay off a similar sized bond issue to replace about 1/3 of its rotten infrastructure.Report

  7. No2Decatur November 18, 2014 9:05 pm

    At least their addressing the problem, unlike DeKalb County which is sitting around and letting Northern DeKalb slice and dice our county up and taking all of the revenue producing commercial areas. Instead of just conceding this property they should be fighting for it. Let Lakeside, Briarcliff, LaVista Gardens as they are calling now pay higher taxes without our commercial to pay for new segregration.Report

  8. Burroughston Broch November 18, 2014 9:59 pm

    No2Decatur  North DeKalb is incorporating to rid itself as much as is possible from the oppressive corruption, ineptitude, and malfeasance of DeKalb County government. Decatur is annexing property as well, although you don’t seem bothered by that.
    DeKalb County doesn’t “own” commercial development. What ever gave you that mistaken idea?
    As far as your charge of “new segregation”, I infer that the only demographic that matters to you is African American. To set the record straight, North DeKalb is not segregated and is much more diverse than middle or south DeKalb.
    Dunwoody 69.8% http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_(U.S._Census), 12.8% http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_American_(U.S._Census), 11.1% http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_(U.S._Census), 10.3% http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hispanic_(U.S._Census)
    Chamblee 45.4% http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_(U.S._Census), 3.7% http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_American_(U.S._Census), 14% http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_(U.S._Census), 56.4% Hispaniic
    Doraville 46.4% http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_(U.S._Census), 14.8% http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_American_(U.S._Census), 12.7% http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_(U.S._Census), 43.4% http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hispanic_(U.S._Census)Report

  9. No2Decatur November 18, 2014 11:09 pm

    Burroughston Broch No2Decatur Thanks for the personal attack. BTW I’m of German decent. Not sure why you choose every area BUT Lakeside to disprove your own assertion. I am quite concerned, any idiot such as yourself know iDeKalb doesn’t own any commercial development, however, what I was saying is what is left within unincorporated DeKalb should be taken into account otherwise we have to pay higher taxes because you people want to self segregate. Obviously, you didn’t notice my screen name is No2Decatur so duh, yes I am concerned about Decatur’s land grab. 
    What’s most concerning is the lack of compassion shown. Ok, fine, ya’ll want to break off into your own area, however, never have I seen Mary What a Waste and the Druid Hill Charter Cluster jerk have concern for what they’ll leave behind.Report

  10. Burroughston Broch November 19, 2014 8:10 am

    No2Decatur Entschuldigung! I apologize for my incorrect inference.
    I couldn’t provide demographic details for Lakeside because the Census Bureau doesn’t provide them for unincorporated areas. I suspect they are similar to Chamblee and Doraville.
    If you want to remain in unincorporated DeKalb, be my guest. As for me, the less I have to depend on DeKalb County the better. I live in Dunwoody and things are better here now that we have more control over our future and less to do with DeKalb government.
    As for you having to pay higher taxes because cities incorporate, that is full proof that the cities were subsidizing you in the first place. Why can’t you pay for your own services?
    As for your screen name being mistaken, that’s your fault. It can as easily be taken as Number Two Decatur and No To Decatur.
    After you’ve ranted, insulted me and shown a need for anger management help, explain to me why I owe you compassion.Report


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