VaHi Residents, Others Enjoy New Highland Park Grand Opening

New Highland Park logoOver a hundred residents enjoyed picture-perfect spring weather and a picnic lunch catered by Osteria 832 and Atkins Park at the grand opening of the New Highland Park this past Saturday March 16.

Music was provided by Darin Seldes and his son Max, local merchant the indie-pendant had a crafts and games table for kids, and balloons were provided by ReMax Intowners (Sandy d’Aprile, Peter Bade and Julie Sadlier).

City officials were on hand to congratulate park organizers for their vision and commitment to fund-raising that led to this weekend’s grand opening.

Here’s a link to an online album with photos from the event. Scroll down for some of the day’s best photos.

And click here to learn more about how two vacant lots at the corner of N. Highland Ave. and St. Charles Pl. – where a public library once stood – became VaHi’s third public green space.

               

 

New Highland Park Grand Opening Set for March 16

New Highland Park logoThe land purchased by the Virginia-Highland Civic Association at the corner of North Highland Avenue and St. Charles Place is now an incredible rain garden/green space for the community to enjoy! Please join your neighbors for a celebration of this tremendous achievement on Saturday, March 16th, Noon to 2 PM.

The event will feature:

  • Dedication of the new park!
  • Music by VaHi musician Darin Seldes and his son!
  • Picnic lunch (bring your own or buy for $5 adults/$2 kids). Osteria 832 will provide a delicious pasta lunch, and Atkins Park will provide dessert!
  • Kids activities, including games and art projects. Crafts provided by local merchant, the indie-pendent!
  • Balloons will be provided for kids by ReMax Intowners!

The event will be a grand celebration by the Virginia-Highland Civic Association and the many neighbors who supported the creation of this wonderful new park. We’re expecting sunny skies and temps in the 70′s so come help celebrate the park and the arrival of Spring in VaHi!

Special Offer from Ten Thousand Villages

In support of the new park’s dedication, local merchant Ten Thousand Villages is donating 10% of proceeds to the new park from customers who make a purchase any time during the month of March AND present one of the following:

  • Ten Thousand Villages ad on page 6 of the March Atlanta INtown paper
  • Announcement to Ten Thousand Villages email subscribers
  • In-store flyer

VaHi’s Newest Green Space Open for Business!

Have you stopped by and checked out New Highland Park lately (corner of N. Highland and St. Charles)? If not, you should. Park construction is almost complete and it’s a great place to stroll through, stop to read or have lunch, practice soccer with your child, or just sit and enjoy the beauty that is VaHi in the fall. Here’s a link to an online album showing how a pair of undeveloped lots became VaHi’s latest green space in only a few months.

The land is owned by the Virginia-Highland Conservation League, Inc. It was purchased as part of a long-term plan to create green space in the Atkins Park area and to help revitalize the Atkins Park business node. Funds for construction of the new park came from three years of local fundraising efforts, including the “buy a brick” program and a $50,000 grant from Park Pride. Park organizers are very grateful to Park Pride and all the neighbors and nearby businesses that have made generous contributions. Funding to cover the mortgage payments comes from VHCA events like Summerfest and the Tour of Homes, and the VHCL will be seeking additional grants in 2013 and beyond to help reduce the loan balance, which is currently about $660,000.  We appreciate your support in these efforts.

Work remaining on the new park includes:

-  Installation of three light poles, scheduled for week of December 3.

-  Installation of three benches and additional trash cans, scheduled for late December or early January

- Final connection of the water meter

- Completion of a few “punch-list” items and some additional plantings

Special note for those who purchased engraved bricks and for those who donated as “founders” ($1000 or more) for the new park:

The bricks will be integrated into the sidewalk area at the St. Charles entrance. Engraving has just completed, and the bricks will be installed probably within the next few weeks and certainly before the grand opening/ribbon cutting next year. The exact date for the grand opening/ribbon cutting is to be determined, but is likely to be in late February or March. The city has requested another drawing before permitting the install of the bricks. The founders plaque is “in process” and will be installed before the grand opening. Stay tuned for details on the grand opening/ribbon-cutting to be held in the first quarter of 2013!

Photo Essay: New Highland Park Construction

After nearly four years of fund-raising, designing, permit applications and contractor selection, construction began in mid-September on the new park at N. Highland Ave. and St. Charles Place. Read more about plans for the new park here.

For those not able to stop by and see the progress as its made, we thought we’d publish a few photos so you can see how things are shaping up. Construction activity continued last week with the installation of custom concrete caps on top of the granite columns along N. Highland, the laying of sod throughout the park’s interior, and installation of native plants along the new pathway, on top of the bio-retention pond and in the area to the east of the granite seating wall. Two picnic tables have been installed near the sidewalk along N. Highland. Our tremendous new green space is actually becoming reality.

We’ve posted a few recent photos below. Click here to view an album of all pictures taken since park construction began. We’ll provide additional updates as progress continues.

New Highland Park construction

After nearly four years of fund-raising, designing, permit applications, and contractor selection, the Virginia Highland Civic Association and the Virginia Highland Conservation League are proud to announce that construction will soon begin on the long awaited New Park at the corner of N. Highland Avenue and St. Charles Place!

Until the mid-1980s a public library was located on this site, which included a parking lot for the library. The library was demolished, but parts of the old foundation and parking lot are still evident. The property was then sold to a private owner and was in private hands for many years.

Purchased in December, 2008, with a loan from the State of Georgia’s Land Conservation Program, by the Virginia Highland Civic Association, (VHCA) the 0.4 acre property became a privately owned (By VHCA) park for the enjoyment of the entire neighborhood.

View the landscape plan in detail (click to open in new tab/window)

The plan is to create a Bio-retention demonstration project, where a very slight slope will be created to capture storm-water on the site and to re-direct this stormwater to the north edge of the property and away from the storm drains. The center of the site will be excavated to remove ground level concrete, old parking lot materials and debris that would inhibit the ability of water to stay on the site. A rain garden will be built on the center of the site, by scooping out a large area and then backfilling it with amended soils. Rain water will then flow to the graded down area at the north end of the property. Native Georgia plants will be placed on the periphery of the property. The large center of the park will be covered with local zoysia spreading grasses that are drought tolerant, requiring no additional watering, other that rain water, and no chemical fertilization will be done. So, the main area of the park will be used much as it is today for a variety of recreational and community activities. A granite seatwall will line the eastern boundary of the park and a granite dust pathway will follow from the southeast corner of the park from St. Charles Place all the way over to the alley entrance off of N. HIghland Avenue.

A 4 foot tall iron fence will extend the west side of the park from the Gateway at St. Charles Place to the alley entrance, with intermittent short granite columns mimicking the Gateways. Three decorative light poles will also be placed on the border of the park for added security. There will benches and picnic tables and no trees will be removed from the site.

The firm of Escape Outdoor Lifescaping, Inc, owned by Ryan Tracy, has been selected through a competitve process to construct the new park. The VHCA has signed a contract with Escape Outdoor Lifescaping and construction should commence on August 23, pending the city inspector go-ahead.

Many people in our neighborhood have done a great deal to make this park a reality.

First, the VHCA, under the leadership of President Pamela Papner made the decision in 2008 to purchase the park, and now under the leadership of President Jack White is moving forward with construction. Much has been done in the way of fundraising, led by Pamela Papner through the sale of engraved bricks (approximately 400 so far, and more can still be ordered), large donations by businessess and homeowners, and a very generous grant from Park Pride Atlanta of $50,000. Also, we have received pro bono assistance from our neighbors in park design. Civil Engineer Peter Hughes donated his time to provide the initial site engineering and Peter Frawley, of Frawley Associates, Landscape Architecture, has spent the past 3 years designing the park and modifying the design to meet the needs of the neighborhood as well as assisting us through the lengthy city permit process.

While money has been raised for the park construction, there is a continuing need to pay off the initial purchase price, as well as have some money in the bank for park maintenance and lighting costs. The Virginia Highland Conservation League was established as a IRS tax-exempt 501(C) 3 in 2009, for the purpose of accepting tax deductible contributions for each of the parks in our neighborhood-New Park, John Howell Park, and Orme Park. Also, as mentioned above, engraved bricks may still be purchased for $100 each. Continued donations are needed and we ask any and all to continue to contribute to our parks. Just make your check out to the “Virginia Highland Conservation League”, and send it to 1143 Saint Charles Place, Atlanta, GA 30306!

If all goes well, the park should be completed in 4-6 weeks from the start date. So, take a walk down to the corner of St. Charles Place and N. Highland and watch a park being made. And by the way, as you may have noticed, the park has no name. For anyone who donates enough money to pay off our loan, we will be happy to name the park for you!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Paul Burks, President of the Virginia Highland Conservation League, paulrburks@gmail.com

Voice – Summer 2012

Last edition of the Voice (print edition) published!
Download PDF (6.1 MB)

- It’s festival time! Summerfest 2012
- New Highland Park construction to begin soon
- Reflections on redistricting, by Nicole Foerschler-Horn
- Dr. Leila Denmark, by Lola Carlisle, Karri Hobson Pape and Judy Potter
- Graffiti in Virginia-Highland
- Planning for the 2012 VaHi Tour of Homes is underway, by Jack White and Lola Carlisle
- A walking community, by Peggy Berg
- Goin’ Coastal, a great catch, by Brent Schnee
- How to choose a contractor, by Phillip Pettis

Voice – May 2012 – Fundraising Efforts and Fun!

Fundraising Efforts and Fun!

  • Dine-Out Saturday to Benefit New Highland Park: Be sure to stop Osteria 832 (832 N. Highland) this Saturday, May 5 from 5pm to 10pm for music, giveaways, $1.50 pizza slices and beer specials! Proceeds from their anniversary celebration will benefit New Highland Park and Fire Station 19. Be sure to bring the family!
  • Summerfest is June 2nd and 3rd  with the neighborhood parade, dinner and movie on June 1st.
    • Win $250 in Art! – “Like us” on the Summerfest Facebook page, and you’ll be automatically registered to win a $250 coupon that you can spend on your choice of art available at the festival!
    • Don’t forget to volunteer (get a free Summerfest t-shirt) – spots are filling up!
    • Print your Summerfest calendar of events!

Don’t Miss Out on the Fun – Volunteer for Summerfest Now!

Please support our incredible community by donating a few hours of your time at this year’s festival. Volunteer slots are generally 2-3 hours, with many areas from which to choose – parade, 5K, artist market, kidsfest, etc.

Volunteering is lots of fun, and Summerfest just won’t be the same without you. Come join in the fun and go home with the coveted volunteer t-shirt!

Click the Volunteerspot link below to learn more and sign up to help. If you have any questions, contact volunteer coordinator John Becker atjnbecker@me.com.

Voice – Fall 2011

Download PDF here (2.0 MB)

- Summerfest success
- President’s corner: volunteer for the board!
- Safety update: street captains, graffiti removal
- New Highland Park brick purchases
- 2011 Gold List of neighborhood businesses
- Street tree do’s and don’ts
- Patrols expand in VaHi and Old Fourth Ward
- VaHi history book published
- Parks update: Orme and New Highland
- Bella Cucina
- Repairs coming near Chevron and The Cavern
- Garrison Afterschool expands

Voice – Summer 2011

Download PDF here (7.5 MB)

- Summerfest
- Recent accomplishments of VHCA
- Maintaining curb appeal
- Funding received to benefit Orme and New Highland parks
- Rosedale Dr./N. Virginia intersection improvements made
- New businesses (Catalyst, Genki)
- History Part XI

Voice – Winter 2010-11

Published late November 2010
Download PDF (1.8 MB)

- Get ready to do the tour (Tour of Homes)
- President’s corner by Aly Higgins
- Group works to rid VaHi of graffiti, by Victoria Hathcox and Laura Voisinet
- Planning continues for construction of New Highland Park, improvements to Orme Park: Both projects could see groundbreaking in early 2010, by Pamela Papner
- Green Dream fundraising
- VHCA wants Atlanta Gas Light to repave streets adversely impacted by recent line work: Gas company meets some, not all, of neighborhood’s cleanup requests
- Spotlight on public safety: keep your dollars at home! by John Wolfinger
- History of Virginia-Highland, Part IX
- Restaurant review: Goin’ Coastal
- New burger joint opens in VaHi

Voice – Fall 2010

Download PDF (1.5 MB)

- Summerfest success
- President’s Corner: VHCA achievements of past 12 months
- Historic designation interest survey results to be presented
- Atlanta’s oldest fire station seeks funds for renovation
- Green Dream – New Highland Park fundraising
- Osteria 832
- Gas main replacement project nears completion
- History part VIII
- Public safety update: city codes and code violators
- Java Jive
- 2010 Tour of Homes with Design Forum
- Membership

Movies by Glamour Paws in New Highland Park

The North Highland Avenue pet store, Glamour Paws, is sponsoring two free movies in the new parkland at North Highland at St. Charles Place on 6/19 and 6/26 at about 8 – cleverly enough, both are dog movies. This will be a neat family event – walk to the park and enjoy an evening with your neighbors and family pets.

A New Fundraiser For Our New Parkland

The attachment to this Report outlines the details of this fruit tree and berry bush sale. Read about the neat trees and shrubs being offered for sale and then get with your neighbors to plan plantings of those that need cross-pollination and create an orchard on your street. We will also need some early morning helpers on March 13th to bundle and label orders for customer pick-up at the new parkland. Let me know if you can help that morning – should be fun.

Fruit Tree Fundraiser (PDF)

Voice – Fall 2009

Download PDF (2.8 MB)

- Summerfest success
- Safety: our neighborhood connection VHList with 331 members
- President’s corner: past year’s achievements
- Streetscape Phase II (Triangle area) update
- Neighborhood arboretum coming to VaHi
- History part IV
- School news: MES, Inman
- New Highland Park fundraising update
- Join the New Highland Park Conservancy
- Neighborhood feels impact of Callanwolde construction
- New afterschool program (Garrison)
- City Storage
- Col. Mustard reviews D.B.A. Barbeque

Voice – Summer 2009

Download PDF

- Summerfest
- Neighborhood preservation committee update
- Planning for 2009 Tour of Homes
- Historic Fourth Ward Park under construction
- President’s Corner: fundraising for new park
- News from MES and Inman
- SPARK gets name and principal
- Join New Highland Park Conservancy
- New businesses: Glamour Paws, D.B.A. Barbeque, Silverstein, Thomas & Carter
- VHCA wants you!
- Rufus Henry Stansell (1929-2009) neighborhood folk artist
- Col. Mustard reviews Belly General Store
- History of Virginia Highland Part III

Safety Team Report 3/6/09

Virginia Highland Scores A Win!!

Recently I was contacted by an APD Officer who wanted to perform some extra patrol time as a volunteer, giving back to his city. We are the winner, as he selected us for his generous offer!! His name is Officer Terence Alexander, and you will recognize him walking our streets, not only from his uniform and orange APD vest – but from his ear-to-ear smile. To begin with, he will be walking along North Highland Avenue from PDL Avenue to Amsterdam Avenue, in late afternoon-early evening, looking for problems along this important pedestrian route. He has promised to stop into businesses and introduce himself, and if you are a restaurant owner, and if he looks like he might be hungry – you know what to offer. His patrols will be on a random basis, which is good, as he hopes to make some arrests as he patrols. Be sure to return his smile as you encounter him on the street and welcome him to VaHi.

CourtWatch Training Saturday Morning

This is your chance to learn more than you ever dreamed about the inner workings of our Fulton County justice system from the folks who are in the Court House every day. This session will run from 9 a.m. til noon, March 7th, in the Justice Center building at 185 Central Avenue, S.W. downtown. Parking is convenient at the Underground garage on MLK or get off the train at 5 Points. Go to courtwatch@fultoncountyga.gov for more info. Learn what happens to our criminals after our APD folks make an arrest and see how this system works or doesn’t work – depending on all the variables involved. This is a real eye-opening session and you, as involved citizens, need to understand this vital part of our total crime problem.

Our New Parkland

I have recently learned that our newly acquired future parkland at North Highland Avenue at St. Charles Place is being used as an ad hoc parking lot. Granted, we have a long road ahead to transform this land to a park – but parking is NOT part of the plan. If you are a business owner nearby and you suspect your patrons are parking here – please ask them to move. The recent rains are going to make this a mud lot and ruin the grass cover. We may have to post this area for towing, if this problem continues.

The Briarcliff Summit building

This past week, I attended a resident’s meeting in this beleaguered apartment building, and really got an eyeful (and earful) as to living and safety conditions. I hope and intend to be involved in some sort of an improvement program – but really need some advisory help from you folks. I am not necessarily asking for folks to attend meetings with me – but I need e-mail advice from folks who are versed in HUD, Section 8, social services and other related aspects of senior citizen/handicapped housing, as I put togther a plan of action for myself. And, yes, in case you have been hearing rumors, there was a homicide in this building a few days ago. It was not a stranger-on-stranger crime, but a homicide nonetheless, and a life was taken. The perp has been arrested. I hope to help make some sort of a difference in the living conditions of the residents – but I do need some advisory help. Let me know at safety@vahi.org as to how you can help me. These folks are our neighbors, and need a safe place to live.

Crime reports from APD

The following crime information is for weeks # 8 and 9 of 2009, and is gleaned from our APD Zone 6 reports, with emphasis on our Beat # 603, but with news from around the Zone as it applies to us in our everyday lives. This report is not meant to scare anyone, but to give you a chance to alter your daily activities to avoid being the victim of criminal activity. No – we can’t always avoid crime, but informed and alert folks are far safer in the long run.

Auto Theft – Trailer thefts continue – this time the vehicle attached was also taken at a work site on Lenox Road. Scooter/motorcycle thefts also continue with ones being stolen on PDL Avenue, PDL Place, Greenwood Avenue, and even an inoperable motorcycle from St. Charles Avenue. As a warning, a car was stolen from a driveway on Custer Avenue, S.E. while the resident was unloading groceries – but unfortunately left it running in the process.

Commercial Burglary – Lenox Park Cleaners was entered through a smashed front glass, as was the Green Sprout restaurant on Piedmont Avenue, and Half Moon Outfitters on North Highland Avenue. Two different units were entered and robbed at the storage facility on Monroe Drive in Piedmont Heights. Vocalicity offices on Virginia Avenue lost 20 laptops and a cleaning person is suspected, since there was no forced entry.

Larceny From Auto – Smash and grabs were reported on Arlington Place, Briarcliff Place, Lanier Boulevard, Virginia Avenue (3), North Highland Avenue, St, Augustine Place, Vance Avenue, Greenwood Avenue (2), and PDL Avenue. Of these 12 incidents – 10 of the victims were from outside of our neighborhood. If you are in the local hospitality or retail business – please remember the Clean Car Campaign, and gently warn your patrons to clean out their cars before dining/drinking/shopping at your business. Also, if you have visitors in your home – give them the same message. Crime victims are not going to think highly of our neighborhood. All around total Zone 6, SEVENTEEN GPS systems were stolen, 2 in-dash radios were ripped out, 2 more catalytic converters were sawed off, 4 license plates were taken off, and two weapons/ammo thefts were reported. Also – would you buy a stethoscope from a guy on Ponce or Boulevard – one was stolen in this time period and is certainly for sale somewhere.

Larceny Other – A patron’s purse was looted at the Local Bar on PDL Avenue, the PDL Blockbuster reported a shoplifter who escaped, and yet another female shopper at the Edgewood Kroger had a checkbook stolen from an unwatched shopping cart purse. Checks were also stolen from a mailbox in Kirkwood. Pick up your new check order at the bank – don’t have them mailed to you!! Our PDL Avenue Kroger and Publix stores caught 2 shoplifters, and the Edgewood Target caught 3 illegal shoppers (wonder how many these stores did not catch?).

Pedestrian Robbery – On 2/21 at 1:50 a.m. in the parking lot of the Club Jungle on Faulkner Road, a lone female victim, talking on her cell phone in her vehicle, was robbed at gunpoint. Quite obviously her car door was not locked with the window rolled down, and who the heck was she talking to at 1:50 a.m.? Also on 2/21 at 1:30 a.m. a lone male exiting his car, was robbed at gunpoint in his apartment parking lot on Piedmont Avenue.

Residential Burglary – A door was kicked in to gain entry at a LaVista Road apartment. On Bonaventure Avenue, an apartment was entered via a pried open back door. A Los Angeles Avenue garage was easily entered through an open door. A Briarcliff Road apartment had a smashed window – but nothing taken. On St. Charles Avenue, the front door was pried open, with a hand gun stolen to add to the arsenal on the streets. And on St. Louis Place, a side window was pried open for entry. All around total Zone 6 for this time period – entry was made via kicked-in doors to 9 residences.

Help Wanted

As I filled out my goals for the 2009 strategy plan report for the civic association, I fully realize I need some help to achieve my goals. I need folks to step up and assume responsibility for the following areas to help make this a safer, cleaner, more aware and connected neighborhood -
1. Produce another successful National Night Out event (time to be determined yet by the national organization)
2. Hold another successful Street Captain training and informational meeting
3. Organize a graffiti and trash patrol group to keep our neighborhood clean and inviting
4. Organize a traffic/sidewalk/parking/transportation committee
Of course, I will work with and provide guidance for all of these activities – but I can’t be a one-man committee to achieve these goals for this year. Thanx already to David Rein for stepping up to try to figure out a way to produce a crime-mapping system for the neighborhood. Again, I am at safety@vahi.org

If you were among the several thousand folks who were not at Anne Fauver’s Town Hall meeting this past week – you missed a terrific and informative session as to the current financial state of our city and public safety concerns. I’ll be posting things I learned that nite in future reports. I don’t want this report to become too long.

Be alert and be safe!!

John

VHCA Purchases Former Library Lots for New Park

The following article is copied from the web archive of Dec. 22, 2008 of the old VHCA website . (Editor, 8/22/2012)
—————–

On Thursday, December 4, 2008, the Virginia-Highland Civic Association (“VHCA”) closed on the purchase of the two lots adjacent to N. Highland Avenue at 1076 and 1082 St. Charles Place. These two lots are currently vacant (they are the site of the former public library), and the intention is to turn them into green space.

The financing was through the Georgia Land Conservation Revolving Loan Fund. Due to a recent change in this loan program (passed by the Georgia Legislature, effective July 1, 2008), non-governmental (non-profit) entities may now apply for low-cost financing, and the VHCA was the first non-profit in the State of Georgia to secure such funds under the new rules. The interest rate is 3%, and our loan term is 15 years. The VHCA will fund payments on the property until private (individual/ corporate/ grant) funds can be raised to pay off the loan. We must complete the design for the park by January 2010, and construction by January 2011.

The loan program includes a requirement that the financed project be one that pertains to land conservation, with a water quality benefit. The space will therefore be used for a passive park and “rain garden” – utilized for recreation, walking, community gathering and educational programs for the residents of Virginia-Highland… and what better location for a passive park than in the heart of Atkins Park!

A special “thank you” is extended to Sandy d’Aprile, who acted as real estate agent for the VHCA, without compensation, and to Paul Burks, VHCA Board Member, who did extensive legwork to support the VHCA’s application for financing to the Georgia Land Conservation Program. We now have over $800,000 to raise, to pay off the loan, so we need to get very busy and begin our fundraising efforts!!!

Voice – Winter 2008-9

Download PDF here
Published November 2008

- 14th annual Tour of Homes
- President’s Corner
- Safety Update
- The Bus Stop, news from schools
- VHCA attemps to purchase former library lots, by Pamela Papner
- More delays for Phase II of VaHi streetscape improvements, by John Becker
- New elementary school to open in August 2009
- Neighborhood commercial (NC) zoning initiative gains momentum by John Peak and Pamela Papner
- VHCA 2008-2009 membership Q&A
- Street smart by Drew Baughman
- History of Virginia-Highland, Part I
- Buy a brick in the new VaHi park

Help us increase Virginia-Highland’s green space!

VHCA is concerned about quality of life in our neighborhood and Atlanta. To maintain as much green space for our residents and children, the association has pledged money to purchase the lot located at North Highland Avenue and St. Charles Avenue, and convert it into a small city park. The lot is currently on the market for $700,000. VHCA has pledged $15,000 as seed money for this project.

How can you help?

We need your help to buy this space and keep it green! While we are looking to raise funds from foundations, corporations, the City of Atlanta and other NGO’s, we are asking neighborhood residents for contributions as well!

Please make your tax deductible donations out to Park Pride, and note St. Charles Park on the check. Mail your donations to:

The Virginia-Highland Civic Association
P.O. Box 8401
Atlanta, GA 31106

Many thanks for your consideration and donations. We look forward to continuing to keep our neighborhood as green as possible for the benefit of our residents, their children and visitors. Please contact Rob Glancy, Parks Co-Chair at (404) 467-9922 ext. 100 with any questions or if you would like to volunteer your time and effort to this project. You may also contact Rob by email at parks@vahi.org.