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Thought Leadership Views From Peachtree

Buckhead Charts a Course toward Unity

Joe Evans, Chairman, The Buckhead Coalition, and Jim Durrett, President, The Buckhead Coalition

The irreplaceable Sam Massell announced in January his retirement from the presidency of the Buckhead Coalition, an organization that he co-founded and subsequently led for over three decades.  He had the wisdom and forethought in the fall of 2019 to appoint a Succession Committee, chaired by Dave Stockert, that would be tasked with planning the future of the Coalition in a post-Sam environment.

When the committee first set about its work in February, COVID was just beginning to be discussed as a health problem in China, stock markets were at all-time highs, and March Madness was just around the corner. As the group proceeded with its work, COVID evolved into a worldwide pandemic and the economy ground to a halt.  Stress from the pandemic-triggered unemployment, business losses, school closings, event cancellations, and disruptions to daily life was then ratcheted even higher by tragic killings and social unrest as we haven’t seen since the late 1960s.

It was in this environment that the Succession Committee of the Buckhead Coalition decided to take a fresh look at why the organization exists and what its role in the community of Buckhead and the greater community of Atlanta should be going forward. That has led us to forge a closer relationship with the Buckhead CID, Livable Buckhead, and the Buckhead Business Association as a first step in bringing the broader Buckhead community more closely together and to speak with a more coordinated voice.

While the Buckhead Coalition was founded to primarily represent the business interests in Buckhead, the events of late have been a profound reminder that business interests and community interests are inseparable. No one can have a prosperous business in a community that does not experience broad-based prosperity. That need for broad-based prosperity does not stop at the delineated boundaries of Buckhead.

Buckhead is an interdependent part of Atlanta, and interdependency is a two-way street. We believe that as we become more aware of the challenges in other parts of Atlanta and support our neighbors in addressing them, that the Buckhead community will benefit from broader city-wide support for its own specific concerns. 

It has come to our attention that there has been recent conversation in social media regarding the establishment of Buckhead as a city separate from the City of Atlanta. In response to a number of inquiries as to the Buckhead Coalition’s position on this, we issue the following statement:

The Buckhead Coalition has historically opposed the incorporation of Buckhead into a separate city, and the Coalition leadership would like at this time to reaffirm that stance. Our partnering organizations – the Buckhead Community Improvement District, Livable Buckhead and Buckhead Business Association – share this vision. Now, as much as at any time in our history, we believe Atlantans need to come together across racial, geographic, and economic differences to find common ground and build a more unified community. 

The Buckhead Coalition is committed to working with City Government to ensure that the businesses and residents of our City are supported with the necessary municipal services and to build a more cohesive, equitable, safe, and prosperous city for all.

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