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Thought Leadership Views From Peachtree

“Second Responders” Ready to Mobilize Local Recovery in 2021

BY KEVIN GREEN, MIDTOWN ALLIANCE PRESIDENT AND CEO

It’s a wrap. 2020 was a year for the history books. It was also a year of discovery as we learned how dependent we are on each other and found new ways to support one another. Midtown residents on balconies every night celebrating our healthcare heroes, thousands of citizens demonstrating for racial equity – these are scenes of 2020 we won’t soon forget. It was a year of highs and lows that provided an opportunity to reexamine what is really important in our lives and as a society, and the potential for positive change moving forward.  

And as you can read in our newly published Midtown Alliance 2020 Progress Reportour organization stayed as busy as we have ever been. Like everyone, we modified our daily operations to address new challenges, but the overriding premise of our work remains unchanged. In the long run, walkable, mixed-use urban places like Midtown will continue to thrive as choice locations because these areas provide the dynamic lifestyle and quality choices that attract people and talent. These fundamentals are proven and solid, and our work continues unabated. 

While we owe everything to our fearless first responders and frontline workers, we believe that organizations like ours have an obligation to be “second responders,” to help our community stay resilient and emerge stronger. And times like this invite a fresh look. Midtown is a dynamic community with a mix of residents, businesses, academic institutions and arts and cultural powerhouses that make significant contributions to our city. This is a unique and powerful combination of assets and amenities fueled by creative and passionate people. How do we work together to tap this talent and passion and channel it towards more positive outcomes? How do we get important things done quicker? These are among our shared challenges as we look to the year of recovery ahead. 

As we look ahead to 2021, Midtown’s momentum persists. So much of the work we are advancing takes on new meaning in the context of the trials we’ve been through in 2020 and are still going through in 2021. We’ve learned a lot from these experiences that we’re applying to our work in the year ahead: 

More Parks and Plazas

Open air outdoor spaces have become even more crucial. People who spend time in Midtown can look forward to more open space additions and improvements in 2021, including construction commencing on the Art Walk, the creation of new “parklets” and a revamped 10th Street Park. 

Supporting the Arts

Our local art community has been devastated this past year and needs opportunities to re-establish its critical place in our local economy. Teaming up with private property owners, we’re making space in Midtown buildings for artist residencies, physical spaces where talented artists can both create and make a living. 

More Transportation Options

Many people made the best of 2020 by walking and biking more, and in Midtown we have seven transportation projects ready to advance towards construction that will support these positive new habits. The projects, totaling $21 million in investment, will bring more protected bike lanes, new sidewalks and pedestrian amenities to the district. Another seven projects advancing through the design and engineering phase will deliver bridge enhancements, new roadway connections, new traffic signals and more. Take a look at our projects page for more info. 

Stronger Public Safety Partnerships

This past year has emphasized the need for strong public safety programs citywide. In this challenging environment, we have staffed up our Midtown Blue public safety program, modified operations and forged even stronger partnerships with APD and our local, state and federal partners. We will continue to work with our city leadership to implement new strategies and address root cause issues that will make our city safer and more resilient.  

Many of us are not sorry to see 2020 in the rearview mirror. There are many reasons for optimism as we head into 2021 – another year for the history books that will bring recovery and a new appreciation for what’s important. 

You can stay plugged in to our work in Midtown by signing up for our monthly updates here. 

 

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