Residents Call on Mayor to Support Community Led Development of Turner Field
(APN) ATLANTA — Over sixty residents from the neighborhoods surrounding Turner Field delivered a letter to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on July 07, 2015, asking him to publicly commit to making sure the area’s redevelopment is community-driven, not developer-driven.
“We are more than developers’ current neighbors and future victims,” Sohna Harzeez, a resident of the Pittsburgh neighborhood and member of the Turner Field Community Benefits Coalition, said in a press conference outside of City Hall..
“Stop coming with pre-drafted plans and expecting a yea or nay,” she said, referring to a presentation earlier this year by representatives from Georgia State University (GSU) and Carter, a development firm.
In February 2015, City of Atlanta receive a 212,000 dollar planning grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission to conduct a Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) planning study.
The LCI planning process enables community organizations to have input in the process of creating a Master Development Plan.
Even though Mayor Reed signed off on the LCI, coalition members say they are not sure he has ceased talks with interested developers.
“Mayor Kasim Reed has stated that Georgia State University’s conceptual plan is among four other proposals that he has received for the property, but has not shared details of any other proposal. The Coalition calls upon the Mayor to cease all secret negotiations and ensure a public process to solicit proposals from interested developers,” the Coalition said in a press statement.
In addition to preventing backroom deals from derailing the LCI process, residents want a commitment from Mayor Reed to act on the resulting plan. That would mean exerting his influence on the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority (AFCRA), which acts as a steward of Turner Field.
AFCRA is governed by a nine member board. Six members represent the City of Atlanta, and three represent Fulton County.
Following the press conference, the residents moved en masse to the Mayor’s office, where a member of his staff received their letter. They then boarded a bus to deliver a similar letter to the Fulton County Commissioners’ offices.
State Rep. “Able” Mable Thomas (D-Atlanta) and State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) joined Turner Field area residents in delivering the letter.
“This is the most important grassroots movement in the City since the Olympics. What happens to Turner Field, along with Ft. McPherson and Vine City, will determine what this City is like ten and twenty years from now,” Sen. Fort said.