Forecourt. By Marriott.

Be forewarned: This may get wonky.

I figure that’s okay. With DM working the daily, well-reasoned news and perspective angle, Daren staking out the purview of “hare-brained schemes,” and Andisheh reminding us that, boosterism aside, we’ve still got problems to solve, wonky is pretty much what’s left. Which is fine. It suits me.

Recent talk about the Holiday Inn to Courtyard conversion got me thinking. Most, if not all, of the comments so far have focused on, at the micro-level, the quality of the accommodations or, at the macro-level, the hipness factor and overall economic benefit to Decatur. But what about the space in between those two extremes — the day to day quality of life for the people who live here?

The Holiday Inn was considered a coup when it was built because it fulfilled a key goal of 1982’s Town Center plan and, I think overall, it has been a successful addition to downtown. Nonetheless, from a design perspective, it’s really worked in spite of its design rather than because of it.

It’s as though, when it was built, someone said, “Shame about the location” and simply shoehorned their standard, just off the interstate, hotel template into the site rather than embracing the street and Decatur’s vision for downtown. But perhaps the Courtyard conversion presents an opportunity to correct that.

That’s right. I’m talkin’ ‘bout terraces.

Continue reading “Forecourt. By Marriott.”

Juvenile Stabbed in Self-Defense at Decatur Library

Patch reports that a “group of juveniles”, who caused a commotion on the second-floor of the Decatur Library yesterday afternoon around 5pm, attacked a patron who had asked them to quiet down.

One man, said to be wearing a turquoise baseball hat, slipped past [the library’s security guard] and began hitting [patron Raad] Delaimi. When the altercation broke up, the juveniles fled and the man with the turquoise baseball hat, later identified by police Taurus Barber, was seen “walking briskly toward the Decatur MARTA station without a shirt on and bleeding from his left wrist,” the report said.

….The report…said Delaimi stabbed Barber, who came at him, during the incident. Police recovered a small red Swiss Army knife in Delaimi’s backpack and the library was evacuated. Delaimi was not charged.



AJC: DeKalb May Raise Taxes By 4 Mills as Property Values Decline


DeKalb County may have to raise property taxes higher than expected after new calculations revealed Tuesday show property values have plunged even more than anticipated.

The 13-percent drop in property values translates into an estimated $40 million shortfall in the 2011 budget –- and what some county commissioners say could lead to a 4-mil tax hike this summer. The drop in the county’s assessed value, down to $20.8 billion, had been projected last week to be about 10.5 percent.

But commissioners, who have the final say on the budget, say they won’t approve any tax increase unless the CEO Burrell Ellis offers up more cuts.

My casual calculations, based on the formulas in this Decatur Tax Blog post, seem to show that a 4 mill increase on a $275,000 house would result in an annual property tax increase of around $400.  Throw in the roughly $120 DECREASE Decatur residents will soon see on their DeKalb taxes due to the elimination of long-running “double-taxation”, and it’s possible that the $1,600 tax difference between the two municipalities on a $275,000 home could be reduced to at least a $1,200 difference (if you assume the DeKalb mill increase wipes out the “no-more-double-taxation” drop for Decatur residents).

Decatur’s taxes may still be higher, but they certainly seem a bit more sustainable than those in DeKalb.  How much more expensive must DeKalb get before annexation requests come flooding in?

Decatur Solarium Patio Party Sunday June 5th

Cynthia writes in…

Friends and neighbors, mark your calendars for Sunday, June 5. From 5-8pm, the Solarium will be hosting its annual FUNdraiser to help ensure that this historic neighborhood treasure is available for you – the Decatur community – to utilize and enjoy.

Enjoy tasty food from local caterers, adult and kid-friendly beverages (all provided free of charge with your ticket), listen to live music, and perhaps leave with incredible raffle prizes or outdoor artwork decorated by local artists through our not-so-silent auction.

Tickets are only $15 in advance (vs. $20 at the door), and are available online now at Kids under 12 are admitted free, and tickets for seniors are only $5. All funds raised go directly towards upkeep and continued improvements to our building and grounds. We look forward to seeing you all then and there!

WHAT: The Solarium’s 8th Annual Patio Party

WHEN: Sunday, June 5, 2011 from 5-8pm

WHERE: 321 W Hill St, Decatur, GA 30030 (the easternmost building of the Historic Scottish Rite complex, just off the Oakhurst Village)