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Thought Leadership Views From Peachtree

Last Year’s Successes Hold Promise for the New Year

By Jim Durrett, President of the Buckhead Coalition and Executive Director of the Buckhead CID

The year ahead is certain to be significant for Atlanta, and especially for those of us who work and live in Buckhead. Two years ago no one could have imagined the changes that were coming our way in nearly every facet of our personal and professional lives. As we head into 2022, it’s good to take stock of those changes as a way of orienting ourselves toward the important work we need to accomplish going forward. 

The Buckhead Coalition has done a lot of organizational work in the past two years to clarify our mission and launch major initiatives that support our community in vital ways. In 2021 we created a new brand and website to bring that all together and more clearly communicate it publicly. We will build on that strong foundation in 2022, working collaboratively with the many thousands of Buckhead residents and business owners who want this community to continue to thrive as part of a prosperous, vibrant Atlanta. 

Working for a United Atlanta

  • The Buckhead Coalition collaborated with Central Atlanta Progress and Midtown Alliance to achieve favorable outcomes for how our improvement districts can be more independent and impactful in implementing projects in partnership with the City.
  • The Buckhead Coalition commissioned the Economic Impact Analysis for Atlanta’s Greater Buckhead Area, which demonstrated the importance of the Greater Buckhead area to the City’s, the Region’s, and the State’s economy.
  • The Buckhead Coalition funded the Buckhead De-Annexation Fiscal Analysis to determine the fiscal impacts to the City of Atlanta and to the Buckhead Community should Buckhead be carved from the City.
  • The Buckhead Coalition launched the Committee for a United Atlanta in order to provide a reasoned counterpoint to the group pushing to carve Buckhead from the City.

Civic Engagement

  • The Better Community Political Action Committee conducted dozens of interviews with Mayoral and City Council candidates and the top five mayoral candidates addressed the Buckhead Coalition membership at our September meeting.
  • The Buckhead Coalition launched a significant and successful get-out-the-vote campaign to generate turnout within Buckhead during the City of Atlanta elections in November.
  • The Buckhead Coalition and Buckhead Community Improvement District have already established a trusted working relationship with incoming Mayor Dickens, and through the work of our Better Community PAC are in the process of strengthening and developing good relationships with all City Council members. 

Public Safety

  • The Buckhead Security Plan was fully rolled out with substantial financial support from both the Buckhead CID and from Buckhead Coalition members.
  • The Buckhead Coalition and Buckhead CID successfully lobbied city council for various public safety and zoning actions.
  • The Buckhead Coalition and Buckhead CID presented Atlanta Police Department’s Chief Rodney Bryant with data supporting the need for more resources in Zone 2, resulting in his support to site a new precinct on West Paces Ferry.
  • The Buckhead CID funded approximately 10,500 hours of traffic management by off-duty APD officers; 7,500 hours of supplemental patrol in the two co-branded BCID/APD police cruisers and a third APD cruiser; and 5,000 hours of newly implemented bike patrol conducted by off-duty APD police officers.

Community Leadership and Support

  • The Buckhead Coalition adopted a new logo and launched a new website to highlight our work in the community. We also introduce our 125 Members, all of whom live in Buckhead, lead companies based in Buckhead, and/or have significant business interests within Buckhead. In 2021, 17 new members joined the Buckhead Coalition, increasing the diversity of our membership and strengthening our organization.
  • The Buckhead Coalition’s Homelessness Committee established good working relationships with area nonprofits and public agencies upon which to build our future work in this area.
  • The Buckhead Coalition’s Gas South partnership yielded a $20,000 donation for The Shepherd Center, bringing the total contribution to $86,000 over the years.

A Look Ahead

Here’s a sneak peek at priorities for 2022:

  • The Buckhead Coalition will determine how best to partner with others to address the root causes of criminal activity and lack of access to opportunity.
  • The Buckhead Coalition will work with the new mayor and city council to improve how government delivers services and to make our community safer for all.
  • Through the work of the Committee for a United Atlanta, we will defeat the effort to carve Buckhead from the City of Atlanta by continuing to provide good information to the legislature and the local community.
  • The Buckhead CID will make progress on the engineering and final design of HUB404.
  • The Buckhead CID will continue the final phase of improvements to Peachtree Road and will kick off construction on the Phipps/Wieuca Roundabout, Lenox Road Phase I improvements and the widening of Piedmont Road near the Buckhead Loop. We will also start the engineering design on Lenox Road Phases II and III.

I am looking forward to a hopeful 2022, and on behalf of the staff and boards of both the Buckhead Coalition and the Buckhead CID, I wish the same for you.

 

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