Fort McPherson to open Saturday for fall festival, workshop to plan area redevelopment

By David Pendered

The second community workshop to discuss the long-range plans for redeveloping Fort McPherson and its surroundings is scheduled for Saturday and is to coincide with a fall festival that’s aimed at building good will with the community.

Oakland City/Fort McPherson LCI

The red line on this map map marks the boundary of the study area in the Livable Centers Initiative study now underway in the Oakland City/Fort McPherson area. Credit: MILRA

The workshop is part of the Livable Centers Initiative study of the Oakland City/Fort McPherson area. The Atlanta Regional Commission this year provided the Fort McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority with $60,000 to update a previous study of the region.

The fall festival on Saturday is open to the public and offers, “free food, FUN, and Falcons tickets giveaway,” according to the event notice. Both the workshop and festival are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the offices and outdoor pavilion of the Fort McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority, located at Fort McPherson.

A highlight of the community meeting will be a number of maps that are to identify issues involved in the redevelopment and potential connections between people and places, according to the notice.

This LCI study is to update one completed in 2004 for a slightly different area. The previous study examined the Oakland City/ Lakewood neighborhoods.

MILRA has created a consulting team to coordinate the project. The six members are:

  • Sizemore Group – Design and architecture;
  • The Collaborative Firm – Public outreach and land use;
  • Kimley Horn and Assoc. – Transportation;
  • Noell Consulting – Market research;
  • HJ Russell – Development and implementation;
  • Mack Cain and Travis Pruitt – Landscape architecture and infrastructure.

    Oakland City/Lakewood redevelopment plan, 2004

    This map shows the development recommendations of a Livable Centers Initiative study completed in 2004 of the Oakland City/Lakewood area. Credit: MILRA

The first LCI workshop was held Oct. 1 at the Rev. James Orange Recreation Center. Team members laid out the planning process and discussed the guiding principles of the LCI study. The overview states that:

  • “We will develop a program of transportation improvements to provide connections between redevelopment areas and surrounding neighborhoods; We will plan streetscape improvements and vibrant public spaces to enhance residential areas; We will create redevelopment concepts that are realistic and consistent with local market realities, and refine economic development concepts to create employment opportunities and benefit local residents.”

A third workshop is scheduled for Nov. 17 at a location to be determined. The fourth and final meeting, scheduled for Jan. 28, 2016, is to feature a presentation of the final recommendations; the public will be able to talk with planners about the final plan.

When the ARC announced the grant, it specifically cited the project as, “a major plan update to the [2004] Oakland City/Lakewood LCI, including expansion to include the entire Fort McPherson site.” Filmmaker Tyler Perry has purchased 300 acres of the former fort. MILRA, a state authority, will own the remaining 145 acres and is authorized to sell or lease the property.

This LCI planning process is unfolding as MARTA is seeking a developer to build a live, work, play area at the Oakland City MARTA Station. MARTA has offered to provide a great deal of assistance to the developer in order to get the project off the ground.

Pershing Hall is among the buildings at Fort McPherson that appear to have great potential for reuse as a movie set or other purpose. File/Credit: Donita Pendered

Pershing Hall is among the buildings at Fort McPherson that appear to have great potential for reuse as a movie set or other purpose. File/Credit: Donita Pendered

The non-binding deal with Tyler Perry to buy 330 acres of Fort McPherson does not include a section of the base that faces Campbellton Road. File/Credit: Donita Pendered

The non-binding deal with Tyler Perry to buy 330 acres of Fort McPherson does not include a section of the base that faces Campbellton Road. File/Credit: Donita 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. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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