Emergency Vigil for Mattie Jackson, Peoplestown Block Held; Demolition Hearing Today
(APN) ATLANTA — One dozen supporters gathered for a press conference and vigil to save ninety-three year old Mattie Jackson’s home on Tuesday, September 08, 2015.
The family coordinated the event with Occupy Our Homes Atlanta.
Currently, her neighborhood in Summerhill-Peoplestown is slated to be turned into a series of stormwater retention ponds.
“It is very sad that Atlanta has come to this. That this person, who has built up the community, that people are attempting to move her out of the community,” State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) said during the vigil.
To date, nearly 200 people have signed up on the Facebook event page, “Save Mattie Jackson’s Home, Entire Peoplestown Block,” to attend the City of Atlanta’s Urban Design Commission meeting this Wednesday, September 9, 2015, at 4pm, at Atlanta City Hall.
The Urban Design Commission will be hearing:
“l) Application for Review and Comment (RC-15-352) for the demolition of single family homes at 148, 154, 158, 164, 168, 172, 194, 198, & 206 Atlanta Avenue,” and
“m) Application for Review and Comment (RC-15-353) for the demolition of single family homes at 117, 153, 157, 163, 167, 171, 183, 187, & 189 Ormond Street.”
On Saturday, September 5, 2015 Atlanta Progressive News published an article regarding the City of Atlanta’s plans to demolish a block in Peoplestown [recently rezoned from Summerhill], including the home of Mattie Jackson.
“Moving my mother would be devastating. The City will kill my mother. My mother been here in the house for years,” Josephine Lowe, Ms. Mattie Jackson’s daughter, said during the vigil.
According to Lillian Govus, Director of Communications for Atlanta Watershed Management, the city is planning to relocate her existing home to an adjacent neighborhood.
“[W]e are taking this approach of changing this entire landscape of this block into one that works with nature, that is engineered with nature, and finding a new place for Ms. Mattie where she is going to be safe,” Govus said in an interview.
22 of 29 residents have accepted offers from the city, and been displaced to a variety of communities around Atlanta. Jackson, and six other neighbors, so far are staying put.
Additionally, there are concerns that even if Jackson’s entire house were to be moved, the process of packing and relocating will be particularly stressful for her.
Atlanta Progressive News is very familiar with the desire of seniors to stay in place in their homes and not relocate. From 2007 to 2010, APN worked closely with the residents of Palmer House senior high rise prior to, and following, its demolition by the Atlanta Housing Authority.
The seniors pleaded not to be forced to leave their homes, including in a petition and in a resolution of the resident association.
A disproportionate number of seniors in the Palmer House highrise died during that period, APN found: at least 24 out of a highrise of approximately two hundred. A Georgia State University sociology professor, Deirdre Oakley, testified to U.S. Congress about how she and other researchers found similar results in their tracking study of Palmer House residents.
Wednesday’s Urban Design Commission hearing will bear out what is next for Mattie Jackson and her neighbors.
There is an online petition to save this block of homes:
APN will be reporting more in the near future, including an interview with another neighbor who says the city has not been transparent.
In the meantime, here is a link to the architectural report showing there is an alternative plan to address the flooding: