We did it! Thanks for everyone’s sweat and tears on Saturday! We had over 400 volunteers help us install the playground equipment, plant the Cunard Memorial Garden, and beautify John Howell Park. Volunteers came from as far away as Seattle, Washington and from Canton, Marietta and Flowery Branch, too! We were especially touched to have Brad’s family come from Monticello and Lisa’s brother from North Carolina.
Each volunteer put his or her whole heart and soul into the assigned tasks and truly made a difference. We know that Brad sends his thanks and appreciation for everyone’s contribution to the project.
We especially would like to thank all of the business that either donated materials, food or goods for our build day. (We’re still compiling the list of generous contributors!)
Virginia-Highland is a great neighborhood and we thank each of you for making it even better!
We look forward to seeing you at the Opening Ceremonies in March 2004 (date to be determined) and at Summerfest on June 5th and 6th !
– Build a playground at John Howell Park
– Meet your new board of directors (bios)
– Dramatic transformation of Piedmont Park continues with the help of VHCA challenge grant
– Public menorah lighting, by Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman
– President’s address, by Kevin Cronin (Summerfest funds raised; $46K in grants to neighborhood)
– Highland Hoer: Gardening in Virginia-Highland has come a long way since the ’70s, by John Wolfinger
Many thanks to the hundreds of friends, residents and restaurants who joined the Virginia-Highland neighborhood in the Heartfelt Benefit Dinner on Tuesday, October 21 to honor the Cunard family. A portion of the proceeds from the following restaurants will go toward building the Cunard Memorial Playground in John Howell Park.
Cold Stone Creamery
Dark Horse Tavern
Doc Chey’s Emory
Doc Chey’s Morningside
Moe’s and Joe’s
Also, mark your calendars for other upcoming events to support the Cunard Memorial Playground:
Sunday, Oct. 26
Cut-a-Thon — Van Michael Salon on North Highland
12 noon until 5 p.m.
Get a great haircut for $25 at Van Michael’s and 100% of the day’s proceeds will be donated to the playground.
Wednesday, Nov. 12
Whole Foods Day on Ponce de Leon
Shop all day and 5 percent of sales will be donated to the playground.
Saturday, Nov. 15
Build the Playground Day
7 a.m. until dark
Come to John Howell Park as we build the playground ourselves.
Meeting was called to order by President Kevin Cronin at 7:30 p.m.
Guests were introduced: Cyrus Bhedward, Cathy Woolard’s office
New Business/Old Business:
Energy – Report by Cyrus Bhedward
Bhedward spoke on how we can conserve energy in our homes and offices
Woolard has been involved in a sustainability project, focusing on air, land and energy use
There was a lot to information to decipher
No one at the City has been dealing with energy use
First question raised was how much does the City spend?
$21 million on electricity in City buildings alone
$3.1 million on waste and water
The goal is to reduce these figures by 10%
Support is coming from federal, state and non-profit agencies, at no cost to taxpayers. In 2003, the goal is to save $500,000 in energy costs. The group looked at errors in billings by utility companies
Started with City Hall and City Hall East to review usage patterns
Solutions were simple: Employees did what they could – turning off lights, PCs, etc. at night
This single efforts produced a huge dent in bills
City is ready to establish similar cost-reducing methods at other buildings and create sustainable energy efficient and environmentally friendly buildings
What can citizens do?
Watch your THERMOSTATS!
Set them back – Ideally to 68° in winter; 78° in summer
When replacing appliances – look for “Energy Efficient” labels
Bedward also commented briefly on the city’s move to name the new terminal at airport, improvements in fire stations and park facilities
Councilperson Anne Fauver
Fauver was in attendance and offered her assistance if any neighbors wanted to talk to her.
Introduced Officers Green and Rivers
Things going well in the sixth district
Have been several commercial burglaries on the morning watch; Major Banda is working on this issue
Question – have the burglarers been Caught? Not yet. Our officer in charge of burglaries passed away and other officers are following up.
Question – Linked to residential burglaries? Not known
When will the new beats be assigned? Beginning of 2004
Tinka Green – Business Association: Reported 14 break-ins, one attempted break-in and one major shoplifting
Two officers working with the Business Association
Almost caught robber in American Roadhouse early Friday, Sept. 26. Police arrived in seven minutes; the robber didn’t get anything
Inspector Kinser: Shortened days are coming, as is the Christmas season. Be cautious and watch people in stores, take extra precautions
Officer Rivers: Many homeless people sit outside Publix and people making deposits to bank inside
Don’t carry an extreme amount of cash or handle your deposits more carefully
People have been seen knocking on doors, trying to figure out when people aren’t home. DO NOT HESITATE TO CALL THE POLICE WHEN YOU SEE THIS ACTIVITY!
Kinser said if you see people with bags as if they are stealing items or walking up on porches – call 911!
Anne Fauver asked what message we should give 911?
Kinser – “I see an attempted robbery and I have person in view.”
Call and stay on the line! Officers will go straight to address dispatched! Look what they are wearing, what direction the person goes, what type of car they might get into, etc.
The homeless are walking around the neighborhood, looking for work. Don’t hire someone off the streets.
People have been seen stealing bicycles off of front porches. Thieves are looking for easy pickings and large items for which they can get cash easily
Call about any homeless? No, only if they keep going to doors to see if residents are at home/walking around the back of a residence/looking in herby curbies. Don’t call if they are just walking down the street
If homeless are looking closely at a residence, the police call if casing a joint/looking for a future robbery scene. Call if it seems they are attemping to do something
Officer Kinser reiterated that 911 is emergency — and information. Use the number if you have some information to report
Question from neighborhood – what is happening with panhandlers?
Stewart from Atlanta Union Mission has been knocking on neighbors’ door asking for cash
Lot of requests to remove homeless from John Howell Park
Police are working on it and they have talked to Major Banda
Kinser introduced Phillip Pettus – chair of public safety; working on coordinated watch programs and email program
Cronin stated that we will buy something for the force with Summerfest funds
Cronin introduced her – Candidate for Chair, Fulton County Commission
Not an endorsement from the neighborhood
Handel encouraged residents to vote on Nov. 4
She offered to answer questions after the meeting
Cynthia Gentry/Cunard Memorial Playground
City Parks Dept has really helped
Current playground will remain; will be pressure washed and dirt added around benches, etc.
New ground cover for playground area; won’t harm trees
Pieces made by KOMPAN; different pieces will be spread throughout the playground according to plan (photos were shown to the group)
Fire engine is the center piece – Max Cunard loved fire engines
Interactive for many ages and many or a few kids
Biggest piece – 9′ tall tower-like structure with components for younger, physically challenged and older kids
Playground doesn’t block out the sun – it is more open and see-through
Budget – Adding the recycled tires as the groundcover moves the budget from $60K to $130K
Recycled tires are permanent, won’t spread like mulch, is squishy and permeable
Volunteers raising moncy – raised $65,000 to date with matching $17K from VHCA
Oct. 21 – 27 restaurants from 5 p.m to close will donate 15% of all sales
Oct . 26 – Van Michael’s hair salon will offer $25 haircuts with 100% of money going to the playground
Nov. 15 – Build day (7 a.m. to dark) Equipment company will be on hand to direct the installation
Nov. 16 – Clean up
Nov. 22 – Rain date
On build day, volunteers will help with playground or other John Howell activities
Equipment has been ordered
City is doing all land prep work; all granite walls; all design, etc.
City will start work soon -last week of Oct.
Applications available on line
Deadline is 1/30
Good artists want early notice
Grow artists down the street
Press releases across the Southeast promoting the event
Self assigned task — to get bills collected that are owed to City
Water, sanitary fees
Will take some time
Anne will “keep going – like a bill in a china shop. “
Trying to get answers – City only has half the number of water meter readers
Next week – Anne hopes the number will be 100%
Noted the new parking meters in VaHi; Anne promised by next week the amount of time allowed on them will be longer than 30 minutes
Yard waste – hoping pick-up gets better , reorganizing department and beginning to see improvement
Adair, Ponce Terrace especially noted need for more frequent pick-ups
Some people are putting out stupid stuff – fences, bldg materials, etc.
One group of workers is focused on yard waste, one group focused on trash
Long process; thanks for patience
Sandra Jennings promised cost estimates for sidewalks in VAHI by Oct. 15
City will evaluate what can be done
City cotractors are not scheduled to work until year end, but Anne is trying to get them to fit VAHI in schedule
Will be done in 1/04 if not now….
Cronin reiterated that the money from VHCA will come only when we get promise from city
Panhandling ordinance being redone
New parks ordinance
Sleeping in Piedmont Park, but current ordinance doesn’t do all it should to keep people from sleeping there
Question from neighbors: What about sleeping in John Howell Park?
Third lane on N Highland is unnecessary
Anne suggests removing it and add more parking spots
Question – airport name change?
No, Anne feels we should keep Hartsfield and name the new international terminal “Maynard Jackson”
However, Anne doesn’t think that approach will pass
Hartsfield’s name is in three-four place; Perhaps name the new street to the International Terminal as Jackson street; main entrance “Hartsfield-Jackson”
Other considerations – Cost of renaming? Possible statue of Hartsfield and Jackson at City Hall?
How will any of the initiatives be funded? Out of public art construction budget?
Sizeable homeless population? Any master plan?
Mayor’s task force picked up
Old jail – transitional home for men
For drug programs, rehab programs, etc.
Encourage counties to provide shelters, etc.
Encourage churches to adopt families
Reunification project – get me connected with my family and get me off the street
VHCA would be willing to fund the city for more of them!
Need to set policy as to where they will go…..Schools, churches, fire station?
But if we put markers on very crosswalk, they will be meaningless. Don’t put on every corner!
Strategic positioning, but City determines where they go
How can VHCA get our sites marked?
Send recommendations to Anne and let city install them
Markers at Inman Middle School coming
The association asked if it would help to provide feedback/encouragement to get them installed?
Anne thinks the City has enough feedback
VHCA offers compensation, but John Craft and his wife walked North Highland to note which ones VHCA will take care of
If there is a bad sidewalk in front of a home, the City can cite the homeowner if it is reported.
Why can’t the City cite them? City doesn’t have the manpower….
Deputy program who can cite bldg code violations, including sidewalks
Example of Bay City – Homeowner’s responsibility! City cited you and if you did not repair the sidewalk, the city fixed it and billed the resident for sidewalk
Fauver – We don’t have city personnel to enforce that type of regulation.
VHCA — We can identify the problem but we can’t do anything about it.
Fauver — No personnel to supervise this type of project
VHCA — Why doesn’t the City hire contractors and just repair the sidewalks?
Fauver – City won’t touch it and there is no vehicle for enforcement
New meeting date and time
First Mondays, beginning on Monday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Ponce Library
Imagine taking a nice stroll from Amsterdam to Ponce on any side of the street in Virginia Highland. Now imagine that the sidewalk you’re on is perfectly smooth and pedestrian friendly: no cracks, no missing pavers, no sink holes. One of our main projects this fiscal year is to repair all or at least a sizeable portion of the sidewalks in our neighborhood. We will pay 50% of the cost of the sidewalk repair, up to $500.
Getting your sidewalk repaired is cheaper and easier than you can imagine because if you use the city to make the repairs you only pay for the sidewalk materials. I had a portion of my sidewalk repaved by the city for a cost of $280. The Virginia Highland Civic Association reimbursement would now be $140 (At the time the reimbursement was 25% so I received $70.) The board has allocated $10,000 of this year’s budget to fix our sidewalks.
What you need to do if you are interested in fixing your sidewalk:
1. Call the city’s streets number at 404-330-6245 and set up an appointment to have someone inspect your property and write up an estimate and work order. Get a name and a direct number of your contact so you can follow up on your work order.
2. Make sure you have a receipt from the city for the work that was done on your sidewalk. We cannot reimburse you if you do not have a receipt. Make an additional copy for your records.
3. Send the receipt to Wiley Sommerville at 858 Adair Ave. or call him at 404-881-1003.
If you have any questions feel free to call me at 404-651-1853.
– Vote for your Board of Directors on September 3
– President’s Address by Steven Kushner (criticism of Atkins Park resident parking)
– Proposed amendment to VHCA bylaws
– Security patrol update, by Officer B. Miller, Jr.
– Virginia-Highland by the numbers, by Chip Gallagher
– Meet congressman John Lewis
– Pictures from Summerfest 2003
– Highland Hoer: Late summer gardening, by John Wolfinger
– First person: Barrel of Fun, by Robert Ramsay
– Picture of sidewalk memorial to Cunard family
– City arborist suggests ways to check on your trees’ health