Entries by Maria Saporta

Atlanta region needs to refresh annual LINK trips

For 22 years, an impressive group of metro Atlanta civic, business and government leaders have spent three days a year visiting a North American city to learn how other cities are handling their urban challenges.

The LINK trips also have provided people an opportunity to get to know each other – connecting with leaders from different races, genders and sections of the Atlanta region as well as people from different circles of influence.

Now it’s the Atlanta Symphony’s turn to get a new home

Sometimes it takes outsiders to help one appreciate what we have in Atlanta.

We are blessed to have a myriad of cultural institutions that help define what we are as a city. The Woodruff Arts Center – which encompasses the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Alliance Theatre and the High Museum of Art – is the centerpiece of our cultural offerings.

Housing advocates call for regional fix to Atlanta’s affordability woes

Local advocates are pressing officials, planners, and developers to tackle the issue of affordable housing after it became one of the most talked-about issues during the 2017 mayoral campaign.

But to preserve affordability – one of Atlanta’s biggest selling points for attracting new companies and residents – advocates believe those efforts must happen not only within the city limits but also out in the suburbs.

Opposition mounting against closing Atlanta’s Eastside TAD

A move is afoot, once again, to close the City of Atlanta’s Eastside Tax Allocation District – a financial mechanism that encourages equitable redevelopment.

And, once again, there’s a groundswell of opposition against closing the Eastside TAD, which includes the corridors of Auburn and Edgewood avenues as well as most of south downtown.

Let’s honor Atlanta with statues of Ivan Allen Jr. and Maynard Jackson at Peachtree and Sweet Auburn

Before leaving office, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced in late November that a statue of boxer Evander Holyfield would be placed near Woodruff Park at Peachtree and Auburn Avenue.

With all due respect to Holyfield, Woodruff Park is the wrong spot to honor the boxer, who fought Bert Cooper on Nov. 21, 1991 at the now demolished Omni Coliseum – the site of Philips Arena.

Jeff Parker: ‘It’s really the time and place for MARTA’ 

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on March 23, 2018

When he was only 18 years old while at Northeastern University, Jeffrey A. Parker picked the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority for his internship so he could get a free transit pass. That launched Parker’s public transit career and led to him becoming MARTA’s new CEO and general manager. The MARTA board is scheduled to vote on Parker, the sole finalist, at a March 23 board meeting.

Column: Home Depot Foundation commits $6.3 million to help Westside

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on March 16, 2018

The Home Depot Foundation will be springing into spring with a $6.3 million commitment in Atlanta’s Westside communities.

The company foundation will hold its “Springing into Service” day on March 20 – the first day of Spring, when about 100 associates will be volunteering on community projects, including working at Vine City Park and making external home repairs at a couple of nearby houses with Westside residents.

Meet the man who was helping the Westside before it was cool 

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on March 9, 2018

It was 2001 when Leonard Adamsfounded a nonprofit to provide low-income housing with support services in Atlanta’s Westside.

Over the past 17 years, the Quest Community Development Organization has developed several small affordable housing communities totaling 269 units and building $22 million in assets.

Atlanta’s ParkScore jumps seven spots, still has lots of room to improve

The City of Atlanta jumped from 50 to 43 in the Trust for Public Land’s annual ParkScore survey of the nation’s 100 largest cities.

The improved ranking shows how Atlanta has gained traction when it comes to acquiring and maintaining parks and green space in the city limits. TPL also including a few other factors in its ranking – such as including private support for parks – that helped boost Atlanta’s standing.

English Avenue residents concerned about proposed Brock development

For more than two years, residents of the Westside hashed out a land-use vision for their community with nationally-renowned planners.

Their vision – the Westside Land Use Framework Plan – was adopted by the Atlanta City Council in December giving residents and neighborhood advocates some comfort that their community was going to be developed in a way that would enhance the area yet not overwhelm it.