City of Decatur Selected by Emory’s Barkley Forum as “Speaker of the Year”

The City of Decatur made this announcement late last week…

The City of Decatur has been selected, by members of the Barkley Forum of Emory University, as the 2016 Georgia Speaker of the Year for its “innovative and ethical leadership in implementing the Better Together Action Plan”.

Since 1967, the Barkley Forum has recognized individuals or groups that exemplify outstanding and effective communication that aligns with the organization’s values: creating space for deliberative dialogue in pursuit of the public good.

The Georgia Speaker of the Year Award is presented at an annual banquet. Past recipients who have been honored include Ralph McGill, Andrew Young, President Jimmy Carter, Benjamin Mays, Senator Zell Miller, Ted Turner, Johnnetta Cole, former first lady Rosalynn Carter, and Mayor Shirley Franklin. Decatur will be the first city to receive the award.

Better Together is a citizen-led, government supported effort to build deeper connection, understanding, and mutual respect among the Decatur community. The process facilitated a substantive community conversation around the myriad differences — in culture, race, age, abilities, politics, economic resources, and more — that make us who we are.

The community conversation culminated in the creation of a tangible Community Action Plan that focuses on cultivating a more just, welcoming, inclusive, equitable and compassionate experience for all who visit, live or work in the City of Decatur. This action plan is a policy and implementation guide for the community, consisting of facts about Decatur’s populations, background on the Better Together process and the people behind it, key findings and recommendations that emerge from the process, the community’s suggested actions moving forward, and the individuals or organizations responsible for implementation.

According to its website, the award has been given each year since 1967 to “honor the power of communication in intelligent, responsible, and effective civic speech”.  The Georgia Speaker of the Year represents these skills in the public sphere.


Clifton Road To Receive a Long Overdue Revamp, Repaving

emory bridge

Praise be!

From Emory

By this time next year, Clifton Road will be a wide, tree-lined corridor welcoming students, faculty, staff, patients and other visitors to Emory University and Emory Healthcare facilities. Clifton Streetscape, a project to improve access, safety and aesthetics along Clifton Road, is slated to begin in mid-to-late June and continue until late spring/summer 2017.

The extensive construction effort centers on Clifton Road from North Decatur Road to Haygood Drive/Eagle Row. It will include widening of the road and sidewalks, a bike lane, repaving of Clifton Road, new landscaping and improved visibility of intersections along Clifton Road.

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If you’ve been blowing out your suspension on this road for more years than you can remember and want more details, click the rendering above to look at the larger image.  Or just keep reading…

An almost half-mile segment of Clifton Road will be resurfaced and widened, and a bike lane will be added along the east side. A “sharrow,” or shared bike-vehicular lane, will remain on the west side of Clifton Road.

Sidewalks will be widened to eight feet, with the addition of a five-foot planted strip along the curb, and trees and other plantings will be added to new medians. Streetlights similar to those at Emory Village and Emory Point will be installed as well.

A new right-turn lane will be added at Clifton and North Decatur roads for westbound traffic headed toward Emory Village.

A new traffic light and ingress/egress lanes also will be added at Healthgate Drive and North Decatur, where there is currently a gated, limited access entry near the North Decatur Building. This access point will be for use primarily by Emory University and Emory Healthcare faculty and staff who are accessing the parking decks along Gambrell Drive and is not intended for patients or through traffic.

As you can see in the first rendering at the top of this post, a ” new, two-story pedestrian bridge will be installed over Clifton Road from the new J wing to Emory University Hospital” starting in July.

Yes, you can expect lane closures and delays along Clifton for the next year or so, but man is this project long overdue!

Want to dig even deeper?  Emory has created an entire website for this project that you can check out for yourself.

Emory and Atlanta Hawks Building Joint Training Facility in Brookhaven

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Big news for the new city of Brookhaven.  The city of Brookhaven sent out this release yesterday afternoon…

The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club and Emory Healthcare today announced plans to partner as well as build a first-of-its-kind training and sports medicine center in Brookhaven’s Executive Park, which will serve as the team’s official practice site.
The 90,000-square-foot facility will be located on about five acres at 22 Executive Park Drive, and is expected to bring at least 200 permanent jobs to the city. The development of the Brookhaven site will not require any rezoning action by the city’s planning commission.
“The City of Brookhaven is proud to be home to the Atlanta Hawks and Emory Healthcare,” Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst said. “This innovative training and sports medical facility fits within our City’s vision for smart growth and a high quality of life. Bringing an elite athletic franchise and world class healthcare to Brookhaven fosters investment, visibility and well-being for our vibrant community. We welcome the Atlanta Hawks, Emory Healthcare and their visitors to Brookhaven.”

Continue reading “Emory and Atlanta Hawks Building Joint Training Facility in Brookhaven”

Be Alert: Emory Students Robbed At Gun Point in Separate Incidents This Week

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Be careful out there everyone.  We’ve received details from both Emory and Decatur Police.  First from Emory…

Emory has received reports from the DeKalb County and Decatur Police Departments of pedestrian robberies that occurred in area neighborhoods in the late evening hours on 11-23-15 and 11-24-15.

In both incidents, a female Emory student was walking alone when approached by an occupant from a nearby stopped vehicle.  A male exited the vehicle, pointed a shotgun or rifle at the victim, demanded personal items (cell phone, purse), and then fled the area.  Neither victim was injured.  What follows are details about the reported robberies:

1)     On 11-23-15 at approximately 9:00 pm, a pedestrian robbery was reported to have occurred inside the complex, located on Clairmont Rd.  The vehicle involved was described as an older sedan (possibly burgundy) and the person with the shotgun was described as a male, approximately 5’8, slim build, wearing a dark colored jacket, and identified by the victim as black.  Two or more other occupants were in the vehicle.

2)     On 11-24-25 at approximately 10:15 pm, a similar incident was reported to have occurred at the intersection of N. Decatur Road and Willivee Drive.  The vehicle involved was described as a silver sedan and the person with the shotgun or rifle was described as a male between 5’8 and 5’11, medium build, short haircut, and identified by the victim as black.

Because these two similar armed robberies took place within a short time period near the Emory campus, we want to make you aware of them so you can consider appropriate safety precautions.   Anyone with information regarding these incidents is encouraged to contact the DeKalb County Police Department at 770-724-7850 or the City of Decatur Police Department at 404-373-6551.

Risk Reduction Tips:

  • Stay alert, trust your instincts, and be aware of your surroundings.
  • If something or someone makes you uneasy, move toward a place where there are other people.
  • Walk in a group, or at least with one other person, whenever possible.
  • Use well-lit and well-traveled areas.
  • Use the safety escort services.
  • Do not leave valuables (cell phones, laptops, etc.) unattended or exposed to public view.
  • Program emergency numbers in your cell phone.
  • Report suspicious behavior to the police immediately.

Call the appropriate number below if you ever feel that your safety or that of others is compromised,to report information about a crime under investigation, or to access resources available for survivors of sexual assault.

Secondly from Decatur Police…

Continue reading “Be Alert: Emory Students Robbed At Gun Point in Separate Incidents This Week”

Atlanta Mayor Reed Supports Druid Hills, Emory and Surrounding Area Annexation

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On Tuesday afternoon, a group called “Together in Atlanta” announced on Facebook that they had gotten the support of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to annex the Briar Vista and Fernbank school zones – which include both Druid Hills and Emory University – into the city of Atlanta.  (Yes, you’ve seen this map before)  Here’s that announcement…

Together In Atlanta is extremely pleased to have the support of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, and looks forward to working with the Mayor’s office and legislators to make our state’s flagship city bigger and better in 2015.

WABE has an extensive report on this recent news, with reasoning from a Mayor Reed Senior Advisor…

A big factor moving forward is Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has thrown his support behind Together In Atlanta’s annexation plan. Reed Senior Advisor Melissa Mullinax explains why.

“The map includes Emory and the CDC, which we think are prestigious institutions that we think ought to be in the city,” said Mullinax. “The other piece about it is this is a neighborhood that really always has been thought of as in the city so this is just formalizing that.”

Mullinax says annexation makes a lot of sense on both ends. For the city, the fact that the area is affluent and would add to the tax base isn’t lost on Reed.

According to the WABE article, DeKalb Commissioners are not thrilled with the Mayor’s support of the annexation, since any potential annexation would cut into DeKalb County’s tax base.

Starbucks News: Suburban Plaza Update, Emory Village Location To Close

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 8.06.44 AMAs has been previously reported, Starbucks is seeking a land use permit to open a location at Suburban Plaza with a drive-thru.  The Medlock Area Neighborhood Association recently released a new site plan of Suburban Plaza which showed the new location along North Decatur Road.

Tomorrow’s News Today reports that the Starbucks would be built close enough to the Cozy Burger Town location in the plaza along North Decatur that the aforementioned burger joint – with the best name around – would need to close.  (Cozy Burger Town has a second location at Northlake Mall.)  The Selig plans on the MANA site also show a revised building plan for the nearby building at the corner of Church and North Decatur, which suggests that whole area of the site is planned for redevelopment.

According to TNT, a sign on the door of Cozy Burger Town says that they are closed this week, but will reopen next Tuesday.

In related news, TNT also reports that the Starbucks in Emory Village has elected not to renew its lease and “would close soon”.  The large Starbucks on Oxford Road next to Emory’s Barnes & Noble will remain open.

Photo courtesy of Google Streetview

Druid Hills Annexation Update: Residents Notified of Possible Atlanta Annexation, Decatur Never Formally Approached

From the AJC’s county by county wrap up on Sunday...

Druid Hills residents began receiving letters Friday informing them about options for joining a city like Atlanta or remaining in the unincorporated part of DeKalb County.

The letters, from Druid Hills Civic Association President Justin Critz, said annexation into Atlanta would be an opportunity to be part of the city’s growing development and its neighborhood planning unit system.

But Critz also said uniting with Atlanta presents challenges in the form of potentially higher taxes and the cost of some services.

The letter asks residents to pay attention in the coming months as the Druid Hills community considers its options.

On a somewhat related front, City Planning Director Amanda Thompson tells DM that the city has never been formally approached by Druid Hills to be annexed.  Additionally, there would be some expected complications that would come with such a move.

There has never been a formal request from Druid Hills to be annexed into the city. I believe that Emory wishes to be identified with Atlanta.  Annexing Emory would require some special emergency management services for the hospital, research and if the CDC was included that we do not provide now.

A recent AJC article  on Druid Hills annexation options wrote off neighboring Decatur as an option “the city school system is already at its capacity and its government doesn’t want to add more residential properties”,