Atlanta provides $48,000 for ongoing efforts to revitalize West End

By David Pendered

The Atlanta City Council has provided $48,000 to the ongoing effort to improve the area around West End and Morehouse College, an area that a Georgia Tech plan suggests is on the brink of revitalization.

Atlanta has provided up to $48,000 to three initiatives that seek to improve West End and the Morehouse College area. File/Credit: Donita Pendered

Atlanta has provided up to $48,000 to three initiatives that seek to improve West End and the Morehouse College area. File/Credit: Donita Pendered

This effort is in addition to the city’s plans to develop a complete streets project along a major corridor just to the north of Morehouse College. The city plans to install bike lanes, sidewalks and a linear park along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, all the way from Northside Drive to Fulton Industrial Boulevard.

The MLK project is priced at $60.2 million and the city has commitments for half the funding. The remaining $30 million will be sought from the federal government, through a TIGER grant, the same source that helped pay for construction of the Atlanta Streetcar.

For the ongoing West End study, Councilmember Cleta Winslow provided the $48,000 through the carry forward account associated with her council district, according to legislation the council approved Monday.

Winslow has provided money to three separate programs that seek to improve the West End area. Here’s how the funding breaks down:

  • $13,000 to the Morehouse College Community Revitalization Initiative;
  • $30,000 to the University Community Development Corp.;
  • $5,000 to the Oakland City Livable Centers Initiative.

The Morehouse program was created in order to, “establish and sustain economic and social improvement within the greater West End community,” according to its website.

Georgia Tech students have proposed a framework for redeveloping the West End commercial district and its environs. File/Credit: Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech students have proposed a framework for redeveloping the West End commercial district and its environs. File/Credit: Georgia Tech

The UDC was formed in 1988 in order to, “improve the physical neighborhood and enhance the quality of life for the more than 15,000 residents in the areas adjacent to the Atlanta University Center,” according to its website.

Finally the Oakland City/Lakewood LCI plan that was completed in 2004 is the subject of a major update. The Atlanta Regional Commission announced in February that it will provide $60,000 for an update that is to include the Fort McPherson area in the plan.

In addition to these ongoing plans, Georgia Tech students produced a framework plan for the West End area. This plan was the outgrowth of the students’ previously completed framework plan for Northside Drive, including the communities around the new Falcons Stadium.

The framework study suggests that West End is ripe for new investments in retail and residential. Although the area faces plenty of problems, including blight and a high percentage of vacancies, the report found glimmers of hope:

“The high level of vacancy and depressed property values should not be seen as a weakness; in fact, this should be seen as an opportunity.”

A major part of the framework plan is a renewal of Mall West End.

The student plan envisions the outparcels being developed while the existing shops function inside the mall. At some point in the future, new buildings would predominate and the mall could be demolished and replaced with structures that could meet any number of market demands.


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. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

3 replies
  1. Avatar
    ShawnDeangelo says:

    Sigh. Sorry guys… been in the community for a while. I see money going to the same organizations who have no true stake and relationship with the communities. Another plan for revitalizing West Atlanta by someone outside of West Atlanta, a student at that. #WeHaveOurOwnPlans. I just don't get it. It's just not responsive to the communities true need. They aren't bad organizations… they just have no true reach or vision for the people in the community, and it makes any work they have done get overshadowned by the decline of the community while millions of dollars have gone through their organizations. And that's from a person who has been through, in, and on these organizations as a board member or student employee. Thoughts? Maybe I'm a hater.Report

  2. Avatar
    Atlanta Millennial says:

    ShawnDeangelo  No you're not a hater. Its just a part of gentrification. It makes me sad to see. Of course we want a better neighborhood, but one that we can afford to live in. Keep up the good work. Tech giving money to Morehouse to make sure they take a seat while the big boys plan what's gonna happen in your neighborhood since Morehouse couldn't make it happen, especially over the last 20 years. Morehouse could've BEEN made a positive impact on the ENTIRE WEST SIDE. DON"T WAIT ON THEM. YOU KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK SINCE THEY WON"T.Report

  3. Avatar
    Cinnamon_123 says:

    what about helping rebuild the homes that are in these areas.  I haven't seen or heard about any non-repayment loans to revamp these historic homes that make up these neighborhoods.  I understand the need to update the institutions, but what about the homes that we see daily as we drive by, don't they need some attention also.Report


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