Volunteer Tree Planting Day – December 15th 1pm – VHCA Parks Committee and Board Update on North Highland Park

Now that several past multiple Board’s have successfully retired the mortgage debt on the neighborhood-owned North Highland Park at St. Charles Place and North Highland Avenue (the two old library lots), it’s time to do some refreshing.

For an update, the Virginia-Highland Civic Association—as part of a multi-phase project, will be contracting to perform several long overdue efforts in the park: this work will include, tree pruning, removal of invasive and voluntary trees [(Mulberry and a 7” DDH (Dead, Dying, Diseased or Hazardous) Pecan)], weeding, new perennial plantings, volunteer plantings of several new trees and efforts to encourage preservation of the great stock of native trees that we have at the park—which is open to the public for use and events. Permits have been obtained for tree removal and the Pecan was destroyed due to utility pruning, unfortunately.

The VHCA Board allocated $10,000 of a generous $55,000 grant received from outgoing District 6 Councilmember Alex Wan last year toward efforts to help maintain and improve this park.

All work has been reviewed and approved by Peter Frawley, landscape designer, who originally designed the landscaping in the park.

The first phase—the tree pruning work, which totals $3,875, will raise the canopy on all existing large shade trees to 8’-10’ for better visibility/security and for best tree health, raise the canopy to 2’-3’ on the Bald Cypress trees in the rear of the park, include removal of a 3” Cherry Laurel, another Mulberry and the aforementioned DDH Pecan, prune all bushes behind the granite wall at the SW corner of the park to a height that is similar to the granite wall (leaving the camellias in front at height with the historic pillars), grinding of stumps and spreading of that mulch, and some general further pruning of additional Cherry Laurels, Ligustrum, etc.


Initial work performed on 12/4. (pics below)


VHCA, with the help of neighbor and Association member Stephanie Coffin, were also able to get Georgia Power to remove a large, invasive Mulberry last week at the NW corner of the park…free of charge as it sat under their utility lines.

Next, are plans for more improvements…first up is invasive and weed removal and a volunteer effort to plant several Serviceberry trees at the NW side of the park. Please mark your calendars to join us at the park at 1pm on December 15th for a volunteer work day to plant the three new Serviceberry’s. This is a great opportunity to contribute to the neighborhood—and, kids are more than welcome to join in.

After this work is done, we will look at more lighting and some ‘neighborhood-use’-focused enhancements.

If people have thoughts on good, additional uses for the park (please keep in mind it is under a perpetual, ‘eco-friendly’ covenant), please forward to ‘parks@vahi.org’.

Information below on why you raise the tree canopy provided by ISA-certified arborist Stephanie Coffin:

As limbs get larger, they are pulled down by gravity. Since it is not desirable to have large limbs dragging to the ground, the usual practice is to slowly raise the canopy. If the limbs are cut when they are fairly small in diameter, they will not leave much opening for the tree to close. Since trees don’t heal, their defense against virus, bacteria and insects is to “wall off” any opening in the bark. If limbs get large, the area that the tree has to protect is also larger. If the limbs become too big and are cut, the tree may be permanently damaged or will be open to attack.

Trees have to use energy to protect against injury. Making the right kind of cuts (in terms of size, exact spot to be cut, and, as small as possible) will help the tree recover. Any cut or mechanical wound must be sealed off by the tree. If branches are not cut outside the main trunk, the trees have to wall off part of the trunk to protect itself. This is also true if the cut leaves a stub and the tree has to heal off all the way to the trunk.

Canopy raising is done gradually to avoid damage to the tree. Another term is “limbing up.” We are going to raise the canopy to an eventual height of 10 feet for most of the trees. The Bald Cypresses will not be raised to 10 feet because this would take too much vegetation off at one time. The Atlanta Tree Protection Ordinance restricts pruning to no more than 20% of the live crown, so this gradual raising of the canopy follows the ordinance as well as aboricultural standards.

Of course the other reason is to keep the park open, so people can see inside the park from the sidewalk and also from across the street. This is done for safety reasons as well as inviting people to view the park with their eyes without stepping inside it.


Article contributed by David Brandenberger, President, VHCA and Chair, VHCA Parks Committee



Capping off another successful year, the 2018 Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes raised more than $30,000 for the Virginia-Highland Civic Association. Every year we’re reminded of what an incredible neighborhood ours is to call home, and this year was no different! Seven generous neighbors opened up their homes to more than 1,700 visitors over the weekend of December 1st and 2nd, showcasing their art, furnishings, and renovations, as well of some of the neighborhoods favorite restaurants. Despite one day of heavy rain, more than 170 volunteers came out to showcase wonderful homes from across Virginia-Highland. Luckily, Sunday brought beautiful weather – and with it a record number of visitors. 

Raising more than $380,000 for the neighborhood over the last six years, the Tour of Homes is a true community effort. We’d like to thank, first and foremost, our homeowners for hosting this year’s tour. We couldn’t have done it without YOU! We’re also very grateful to our advertising and restaurant partners who continue to be so generous each year. Many thanks to those who volunteered throughout the weekend and to our house captains who managed volunteers at each home.

The Tour of Homes Committee works all year long to put together an outstanding event. We’d like to thank each of them for their efforts:

  • Home Selection: Jeannie Lightsey (Co-Chair), Robin Ragland (Co- Chair), Pam Bullock, Julie Farmer, and Mary Hallenberg
  • Public Relations:  Kitsy Rose PR
  • Restaurants: JoAnn Zyla (Chair), Alison Hutton, and Robin Ragland
  • Volunteers: Brittany Thacher (Co- Chair), Meghan Pendergast Dean (Co-Chair), Elanor Barrineau, and Karen Murphree
  • Graphic Design: Lori Z Joslyn
  • Website: Centner Consulting
  • Tour Operations:  Sean Davey, Cherry Frederick, and Holle Gilbert
  • Signage and Flocking: Cherry Frederick

Last but not least, thank you to Robin Ragland for dedicating your time for the last six years as Tour of Homes Chair. Your hard work and dedication are invaluable and we’re grateful to have you as our neighbor!

If you really enjoyed this year’s Tour and want to be part of an important fundraising effort for our neighborhood, please note that the 25th annual Tour of Homes will be held December 7-8, 2019. We’d love to have you join our team! Or, maybe you’d like your home featured on next year’s tour? It’s a great way to connect with neighbors and finish up that list of projects around the house! For details on how to get involved, contact Chase Johnson at chasevhca@gmail.com.

Contributed by Chase Johnson


Thank You Jesse Paluch!

The Virginia-Highland Civic Association Parks Committee would like to formally thank Jesse Paluch of Jesse Paluch Home & Lawn Care for taking over routine maintenance of ‘The Triangle’ at the SW corner of Virginia Avenue and North Highland Avenue. For years, the VHCA has been paying for routine maintenance and upkeep of this great spot in the center of our neighborhood. In partnership with Park Pride and the VHCA, Jesse agreed to take this burden and expense off of our list of ‘to-do’s’. VHCA still retains overall strategic input, with the City, on any new plantings and/or additions. And, there will still be opportunities for seasonal volunteer annual planting days. This just takes the weekly blowing and trash removal off of our plate in exchange for a small sign—similar to those found in most other ‘circles’—not ‘triangles’—throughout the City and is complimentary.

For background, Jesse is local landscaper who is a true native of Atlanta, born and raised in Virginia-Highland, where he still resides.

The services he offers to his clients, include: Landscape Design & Install, Sod & Synthetic Turf Install, Permeable-Scape Install, Complete Landscaping Maintenance, General Sprucing and Clean Ups, and Hardscape Eco-Pressure Washing.

Jesse also maintains several other circles in the neighborhood. If you don’t know Jesse, swing by some afternoon when you see him and his crew there cleaning up—he’s there every week.

To contact him, he may be reached at jessepaluch@gmail.com to set up a consultation for any work you may need assistance with.


Sponsor a Family in Need for the Holidays!

Are you interested in ‘sponsoring’ a family in need this holiday season? In Atlanta, DFCS reports that, this year, there are more families than ever who are in need of some of the most basic items such as food, clothing, etc. I work with DFCS each year to obtain a list of families who would like to be matched with a sponsor. For those of you who have never done this, it can be a great / meaningful experience.

Sponsoring a family is easy to do, can provide a personalized giving experience, and is a great educational/ volunteer opportunity to share with children.

You have a choice to either deliver the basket personally to your assigned family or drop it off at a DFCS warehouse and have it delivered for you.

All you need to do is:

1. Email me back (lindabrenner@mac.com) and tell me how many families you’d like to sponsor. Specify large or small and I’ll try my best to match you accordingly (feel free to sponsor a large family with another group / friends.)

2. I will then send you specifics about your sponsor family (number of people, ages, address/phone, and wish list – if available)

3. Call the family, let them know that you are their holiday sponsor and confirm the information you’ve been given about them. Let them know that you are planning on purchasing a few items for them. You may choose to be direct and ask what kinds of groceries or small gifts they’d most like. Or, you can simply let them know that you’ll be bringing by some surprises based on the information that you were given. Arrange a mutually convenient time to drop off your basket at the family’s home – or let me know that their basket will be delivered to them. (Regardless of what a family requests, you should buy what you’re comfortable buying.)

4. Put together a basket / box (or a big plastic tub that they can re-use is a good option) with as many food and/or gift items that you feel comfortable giving. A gift card (in any amount) to either Publix or Kroger is a good idea instead of (or in addition to) other items. Make a holiday card for the family.

5. Deliver between now and Christmas. If you want to drop it off at DFCS so they can deliver, let me know and plan on doing that by mid-December.

Note – baskets should not include second hand/used clothing or toys. (If you have women’s/children’ s clothing or supplies that you want to get rid of – I can connect you with one of several organizations nearby which are in constant need of such things.)

PLEASE send this message to friends or co-workers who also might like to participate – there are many, many families in need – so the more, the better.

Here are some comments from some of the folks who have done this in the past:

<<I just wanted to thank you for arranging the holiday sponsoring
program this year. I dropped off the family’s stuff yesterday and it
was a very moving experience. The young girl (with two little kids)
was very sweet and appreciative and she definitely needed our help.
The only gifts under the tree were from our family and we increased
the food items in her kitchen by about 20-fold! >>

<<I wanted to let you know that I dropped off gifts for my host family
last Saturday. It was a mother and daughter and they were very nice
and appreciative. I included a $20 publix gift card so that they can
pick something out themselves. Thanks for arranging this!>>

<<We dropped our gifts and food off on Sunday and the family was very
appreciative. The overall experience was good for our family and made
us realize once again how fortunate we are. I wish we would have
done more, but not having done this before I just wasn’t sure what to
do and what to expect. I think the next time I would add other items
to the gifts, such as books for the 7 year old and probably more
food. Thank you so much for coordinating this and we will definitely
do this again.>>

<<My little 4 year old and I delivered our basket to our family this
past Saturday. The mother in turn gave us a thoughtful card and two
candy canes. She met us at her apartment and she welcomed us with
hugs. The whole experience was wonderful.>>

<<We just returned from delivering our basket. We took our two
children (5 and 2) as a Channukah ‘good deed’ activity – and it was
great. They had two little girls so the kids played while we talked
to the mother. They had a very small apartment and no gifts in
sight. Even though the mother was quiet and reserved, I could tell
she was really happy and appreciative. It’s got to be hard to be in
that situation! Thanks for arranging it and put us on the list for
next year.>>

Thank you and happy holidays!

Article contributed by Linda Brenner


Help Decorate VaHi for the Holidays!

Help make Virginia-Highland jolly and bright this holiday season! VHCA has formed a new decorating committee that will be making the neighborhood festive.

The committee will be holding decorating work days if anyone in the neighborhood is interested in participating.

Those dates are:

Sunday, November 25th 10:00 AM- 4:00 PM
Monday, November 26th 9:30 AM- 12:30 PM
Tuesday, November 27th 9:30 AM-12:30 PM
Wednesday, November 28th 9:30 AM- 12:30 PM

If interested in participating or learning more, please email Leah at leah.kelly05@gmail.com


CINS Data Dig: State of the Grady Cluster

From the Council of Intown Neighborhoods & Schools (CINS)

Curious how schools in the Grady Cluster compare to those across town and around the state? Wondering where we excel and what needs work? Trying to understand how our student body has changed and what the future may hold?

If so, please join CINS and Atlanta Public Schools’ Data and Information Group for the 2018 Data Dig: State of the Grady Cluster on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at noon at Mary Lin Elementary School. This event is intended for parents of current and prospective students and community stakeholders who want to know more about where our schools stand and where they’re heading. Bring your questions and your friends!

Attendees are welcome to bring a lunch, and drinks will be available.

This is a free event. Additional details and registration available HERE.


Paideia School’s 36th Annual Art Visions Artists Market – This Weekend


The Paideia School’s 36th Annual Art Visions Artists Market starts this weekend. The sale features more than a 150 local artists, makers, crafters and designers.

Every year we receive several applications from artists to be part of the show and we are proud to present new fine artists, ceramicists, jewelry and fashion accessory designers. We are thrilled to welcome back past years’ favorites!

So get your holiday shopping done at our two day event starting:

Saturday, Nov 10th: 10am-5pm
Sunday, Nov 11th: 12pm-5pm

Come support our amazing, local talent and the arts! We are family friendly – bring your kids so they can enjoy our craft corner while you shop. This event is FREE and open to the public.

Paideia is located at: 1509, Ponce de Leon Ave, Atlanta GA 30307. The market will be held at the Paideia Art Gallery & Gym ((Near the corner of Oakdale and South Ponce de Leon)

Check out some of participating artists:


A Tree Grows in Virginia-Highland

Trees Atlanta, Georgia Power, commercial property owners and VHCA teaming up to plant trees in the neighborhood


On November 10th Trees Atlanta will lead a planting effort in the neighborhood along Rosedale Drive, Rosedale Road and North Highland Avenue to install 75 trees. We will be filling in Crepe Myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica ‘Muskogee’) along N. Highland from Drewry to Virginia. On Rosedale Drive we will plant Redbuds (Cercis canadensis ‘Rising Sun’), Sweet Bay Magnolias (Magnolia virginiana) and Trident Maples (Acer buergerianum), and on Rosedale Road we will plant a mixture of Oaks (Quercus), Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica), Dogwood (Cornus kousa) and Trident Maples.


If you would like to learn how to properly plant a tree and help with this project, please sign up. And if you find you can help at the last minute, just show up at North Highland Park on Saturday morning at 9:00 am. Trees Atlanta provides tools, work gloves and instruction. You provide the sweat! At a later date another planting effort will fill in missing trees on St. Charles, Frederica and Barnett.

Then in December we will be planting trees along the west side of N. Highland Avenue from St. Charles to Briarcliff Place. This is an important project to improve the attractiveness of the Atkins Park commercial node in Virginia-Highland.


Trees Atlanta has selected trees that will do well in this area and allow for the somewhat narrow width of the sidewalk. They have significant experience with similar conditions in Poncey-Highland and Little Five Points. In addition, tree wells will be filled with Flexi-pave, the material used around tree wells at Greenwood near the Dark Horse and Virginia in front of Bla Bla. This material is pervious but makes a more walkable surface, prevents erosion, and helps with weed control. This installation will be handled by Trees Atlanta and their sub-contractor as it will involve concrete cutting and preparation of the tree wells.



We owe a special thank you to commercial property owners in Virginia Highland for their generous contribution to this project. Doug Landau (owner of Neighbors, the Dark Horse and other properties in the neighborhood) donated $1250 and the Pichulick Family (owners of properties housing Tiki Iniki, Blind Willy’s, Limerick Junction, and other) donated $1000. Georgia Power also made a substantial donation paying for six trees. VHCA is using money contributed by former Atlanta City Council Rep Alex Wan to pay the balance of the project.

Virginia-Highland is very fortunate to have a beautiful tree canopy. However, many of our trees are mature and a few are even reaching end-of-life. It is important that we continue planting every year to ensure that we continue to enjoy this canopy and all its benefits. Read this great article about the many benefits of urban trees.


2018 North Highland Candy Crawl Returns Bigger than Ever

Monday, Oct. 29, 5:30-7:30 PM

Virginia-Highland Civic and Business Associations are teaming up with the Morningside Lenox Park Association and Morningside Village businesses to host the 2018 Candy Crawl. This event was a rousing success in Virginia-Highland in 2016, so we have decided to expand the fun to include Morningside businesses along North Highland for 2018!

This fun family-friendly event is meant to show support for our North Highland Avenue corridor businesses, bring our neighbors together, and of course there will be candy for everyone. Some businesses will offer specials for kids in costume. Check the websites and Facebook pages of our businesses for details of offers.

North Highland shops from Ponce to University will have candy for the kids. Each participating business will display the Candy Crawl poster in their window. Start at one end and work your way to the other, or just stop by a few shops close to your home. Either way do come out with your spookiest Trick or Treaters and be part of the fun.

Volunteers Needed!

As in the past, keeping the Candy Crawl safe for everyone is our first priority–therefore, we need volunteers to help monsters, princesses, and ghouls safely cross the streets. In Virginia-Highland we will need a dozen volunteers to serve as crossing guards starting at around 5:15 and staying at your corner until 7:30. If you can help please click to volunteer.


Tour of Homes Recognizes 2018 Sponsors – Get Your Tickets Today!

By Robin Ragland, 2018 Tour of Homes Co-Chair

The Tour raises needed funds for our much-loved neighborhood through ticket sales and sponsorships. We hope many of you decide to kick off your holiday season and celebrate our community  by attending this year’s tour Dec 1st and 2nd!  Get your tour tickets online NOW at the Tour of Homes website. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 day of the tour. Your tickets get you access to seven incredibly unique homes, food samplings from 11 different community restaurants and special coupons and discounts from our local eateries and shops.

The Tour would not be possible each year without the support of our sponsors. We’d like to sincerely thank all of our 2018 sponsors.

This year’s Presenting Sponsors are Ferguson Keller Knapp Realty and Engineered Solutions of Georgia.

Our Premium Sponsors are  Atlanta INtown; Harry Norman Realtors Intown Office; Homestead Realtors; Phoenix Renovations; and Sarah Mercer Chatel, Ansley Atlanta.

Our Major Sponsors are  Cantoni; Karen Hott Interiors; Peachy Clean; Piedmont Park Conservancy, The Great Frame Up Morningside; Senior Life; Traditions in Tile and Stone; Virginia Highland Apartment Homes; and the YWCA.

Our Benefactor Sponsors are ; Ashley Bynum, Harry Norman Realtors; Homestead Realtors; Intown Renovations Group, LLC; Kara Stringer, Harry Norman Realtors; Marco’s Pizza;  Ten Thousand Villages.

Our Neighborhood Sponsors are ART BATH SOUL enrichment lounge; Bla Bla Kids; Brickworks Gallery; Center Consulting; Dakota J’s; Design BH Architecture; Empire South; Kindall Elizabeth Palmer at Kind Design; Kitsy Rose KRPR; Mary Hallenberg, Harry Norman Realtors; Morningstar Storage; and PSB Studio ARCHITECTURE.

Our Giveaway sponsors are Alon’s Bakery & Market; ART BATH SOUL; Atkins Park; Beautify VaHi; Bla Bla Kids; Brickworks Gallery; Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits; Cantoni; Dakota J’s; DBA Barbecue; El Taco; Empire South; Engineered Solutions of Georgia; Highland Bakery; Keller Knapp Realty; La Tavola; Marlow’s Tavern; Murphy’s; Nowak’s; Press & Grind; Pure; San Francisco Coffee Roasting Company; The Canteen; The General Muir; The Great Frame-up Morningside; and Whiskey Bird.


Volunteer for Tour of Homes and Get Two Free Tickets!

By Brittany Thacher, VHCA Tour of Homes Volunteer Co-Chair

This is an excellent deal. We have eight very interesting homes on tour this year in VaHi on Dec 1st and 2nd, and anyone who volunteers for a 2-3 hour shift gets two free tickets—up to a $60 value. The rest of the weekend is yours to tour the seven homes for free—not to mention sampling mouth-watering dishes from neighborhood restaurants.

With your 2 free tickets, take your spouse, partner or friend on this wonderful Tour of Homes right here in VaHi. Nibble while you look around at the creative renovations that VaHi families have recently engaged in. It’s always interesting to see what other families have done to improve their homes, and many visitors over the years have gotten ideas for their own home renovation projects. It’s an experience that is yours for free all weekend in exchange for just one 2-3-hour shift.


BIG Lake Cleanup in Piedmont Park


An iconic feature of Piedmont Park, Lake Clara Meer is in the center of the Park. Unfortunately, this also means that most of the litter and debris eventually ends up in our beautiful water landscape. After a very busy summer season, the Piedmont Park Conservancy and its partners will be doing a BIG Lake Clara Meer cleanup project!

The Department of Natural Resources, Piedmont Park Conservancy staff, and other partners will be doing the annual lake cleanup in kayaks. This GA Gives Day, we are asking community members to simultaneously volunteer to do trash pick around the perimeter of the lake.

Volunteer for 30 minutes or the whole time; we will be here from 9am- 12pm on Friday, November 16 accepting community volunteers to lend a hand!

In addition to volunteering, we are asking the community to make a donation in honor of this project and our nonprofit organization.

Volunteer Information: CLICK HERE

Thank you for your support of historic Piedmont Park!


Article submitted by Amy Han Dietrich, Piedmont Park Conservancy


The Todd Memorial at Todd and Adair

Join members of the VHCA Preservation & History Committee and landscape architect Peter Frawley on Sunday, October 21 at 4:00 pm or Tuesday, October 23 at 6:00 pm at the intersection of Adair Avenue and Todd Road to hear details about and provide input to the project. If you have any questions, please contact Robin Ragland at robin_ragland@bellsouth.net.
Peter has made changes to the conceptual design incorporating neighborhood input. Come see those and share your thoughts.  We hope to see you there.


Article contributed by Robin Ragland


Tour of Homes Giveaways

Do you follow the Tour of Homes on Facebook?  Many people have discovered a wonderful facet of the Tour that’s been growing in popularity since its inception in 2014–giveaways from many of our sponsors.

Free tickets for the tour as well as a number of gift certificates for local businesses will be given away via the Tour’s Facebook page up until the weekend of the tour.  For example, win tickets or a gift certificate from  Bla Bla Kids, Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits, The Great Frame-up, Keller Knapp and Engineered Solutions of Georgia within the next couple of weeks.


Other giveaways include gift certificates to restaurants such as Alon’s Market and Bakery, Atkin’s Park, DBA Barbecue, Marlow’s Tavern, Press & Grind, El Taco, Murphy’s, The General Muir, Nowak’s and Whiskey Bird.  Don’t miss out on a chance to win certificates to local businesses such as ART BATH SOUL, Brickwork’s Gallery, Dakota J’s, Empire South and more! The sooner you starting following along, the more chances you have to win!  Be sure to ‘Like’ our Facebook page to be eligible to win. https://www.facebook.com/vahitour/.

Oh – and look who’s flocking to the neighborhood for the Tour of Homes! You may see some of these flocks in various gardens around the neighborhood! Hopefully you’ll enjoy our bit of whimsy as we remind everyone it’s tour time.   

Please visit our special Tour of Homes website for more detailed information on the times, the homes, the sponsors and the restaurants. Click here for information on purchasing a ticket.


Article Submitted by Robin Ragland, Tour of Homes Chair


Volunteers Needed for 2018 VaHi Tour of Homes

One of the most helpful things you can do for your neighborhood is to volunteer at the Tour of Homes. It benefits you, too. You get two free Tour of Homes tickets for working one shift in one of our beautiful neighborhood homes. And it’s also a great opportunity to meet other neighbors who will be working along with you.

Organizers man the volunteer check-in table during a recent Tour of Homes.

This year’s Tour of Homes is coming up on December 1st and 2nd. Signing up to volunteer is easy. Just go to vahitourofhomes.org/volunteer and click on the green “Click here to sign up” button. We especially need volunteers for the afternoon shifts and for Sunday. Volunteers working later shifts can pick up their tickets at the YWCA anytime during tour hours Saturday and Sunday and can go on the tour before their shift.

If you can’t volunteer, be sure to buy tickets and encourage your friends and neighbors to do so.  Our combination of wonderful homes and delicious food tastings is unique!  Tickets are available at www.vahitourofhomes.org/tickets.


It’s Almost Time to Tour!

YES! It’s finally Autumn in VaHi and the air is cooler, the leaves are falling AND the Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes committee is in FULL SWING preparing for our neighborhood’s next big event. The 2018 Tour of Homes is set for the first weekend in December, Saturday and Sunday the 1st and 2nd. Our committee has been working hard all year to ensure the success of this year’s tour.932 N Highland Ave is one of the homes on this year’s Tour.

932 N Highland Ave is one of the homes on this year’s Tour

Seven beautiful properties will be featured on this year’s tour. Although different in style and design, they are all equally representative of the Neighborhood’s character. This year’s line-up includes a 1923 semi-Tudor style home that has been lovingly transformed to a showcase over the last 32 years, a recently renovated American Foursquare built in 1916, a 1919 “shotgun” California craftsman bungalow with beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces, a beautifully renovated 1916 bungalow with a multitude of original features, The tour includes three other fabulous historic homes transformed for the modern world and display unique and whimsical works of art.

1005 Adair Avenue is one of the homes on this year’s Tour

Local restaurants will provide food tastings at the YWCA and at each of the Tour homes. Local favorites, such as Alon’s Bakery & Market, Atkins Park, The General Muir, Marlow’s Tavern, Press & Grind, and San Francisco Coffee will once again serve up delicious bites. We are thrilled to have the following restaurants new to the tour in 2018: DBA Barbecue, El Taco, Murphy’s, Nowak’s, and Whiskey Bird.

So many people make this fundraising event possible in order to improve the quality of life in our community.  The funds raised by the Tour of Homes go to support various projects in our neighborhood, including playground/park improvements, sidewalks, safety, traffic concerns, planning and preservation and other community efforts.  Hopefully, Mother Nature will provide clear skies and perfect temps to bring out tour goers. We know businesses and residents will give them a warm welcome.

Please visit our special Tour of Homes website for more detailed information on the times, the homes, the sponsors and the restaurants.  There’s a map of the tour and some “teaser” pictures of our featured homes. You can purchase tickets on the website as well.

910 Virginia Avenue is one of the homes on this year’s tour

This is a great weekend to kick off the holidays. TOUR, EAT and SHOP in the charming neighborhood we all call home. Remember, ToH tickets make great gifts, day dates, girls’ trips and family memories!

Hope to see you all out & about!


Article Submitted by Robin Ragland, Tour of Homes Chair


The Todds in Virginia-Highland

William Zachry of Columbia County Georgia and War of 1812 veteran acquired Land Lot 17 of the 14th District during the Georgia Land Lottery of 1821. He sold the 202 ½ acres a year later (for almost five times what he paid for it) to Richard and Martha Todd. The lot’s boundaries were today’s Barnett Street on the east, Adair Avenue to the north, North Avenue on the south, and Lakeview Avenue on the west.  The area was originally a part of Henry County, later Dekalb, and now the City of Atlanta, Fulton County.

The Todds were among the first Europeans to reside in the region. Todd was a farmer in Chester, SC, who continued to farm once he settled in Georgia. Hardy Ivy, now recognized as Atlanta’s first settler, was married to Richard’s older sister Sarah Todd Ivy; they moved to the region in the early 1830s. Todd Road is one of the city’s oldest routes and is a remnant of an old wagon trail that ran from the Todd’s property to Ivy’s home in what would later became downtown Atlanta, and as shown on this 1893 map.  (Courtesy of Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center.)

The Todd home was at today’s 816 Greenwood Ave. near the intersection of Bonaventure; it had views of the Ponce de Leon resort and the ballpark built in the valley below. The Todd home was close to the outer boundaries of the siege of Atlanta. Four generations lived in this home before it burned October 31, 1910; the family replaced it with a larger brick structure that was demolished in the late 1950s.  Condominiums were built at the address in 1960.

Richard Todd died December 2, 1851. Captain Hezekiah Cheshire (a resident of the Virginia-Highland district with his wife Sarah), and John W. Medlock witnessed the signing of his will on November 7, 1851. Richard’s will designated his wife Martha Todd be given the entire lot of land where they lived; she applied for Dower Rights in Fulton County Superior Court on April 19, 1856 and was awarded 66 2/3 acres on October 14, 1859. Their son, John Copeland Todd (three years old at the time of his father Richard’s death), inherited his mother’s dower tract at the time of her death in 1896. He kept most of the original lot together by buying the interests of the other heirs. John C. Todd was Justice of the Peace for the Peachtree District for 30 years.  

Richard Todd’s burial in 1851 was the first known burial at the Todd family cemetery located on the family farm.  The cemetery qualifies as one of the older cemeteries of European settlers in Atlanta—for example, Oakland Cemetery was established in 1850. The cemetery was established on high ground 200 yards north and a little west of the old Todd homestead.  Richard’s wife Martha was buried in the family cemetery in 1896. Other family members were buried there as well, but the number of burials is unknown. A memorial to Richard and Martha Todd was placed in the family cemetery in the late 1920s in accordance with Judge John C. Todd’s will.  John C. Todd died May 18, 1925. He and his wife, Sarah Jane Mayson Todd are buried in Sardis Cemetery.

Julia Carlisle Withers is credited as being the first baby born in Atlanta. Her headstone in Oakland Cemetery records her birthdate as August 17, 1842 and is inscribed “ATLANTA’S FIRST BABY”. However, Richard and Martha Todd’s first child and daughter, Patience Elizabeth Todd (Armistead) was born in 1828, fourteen years earlier.   She may be the first European-American baby born to settlers in the Atlanta area. If not, she is certainly one of the first.

Yancy Spring, on Todd land, was an early source of water prior to it being buried with fill dirt during the construction of the Air-Line railroad in 1868.  A new source of water was later discovered nearby–two springs shaded by ancient beech trees. Patience Elizabeth Todd married John M. Armistead, who was the proprietor of the two springs that were later named Ponce de Leon Springs.  The springs were sold to the Atlanta Street Railway Company in 1887. The graves and headstones of Patience Elizabeth and John M. Armistead are in the Peachtree Baptist Church Cemetery. The inscription specifically identifies her as the daughter of R. C. (Richard Copeland) and M. (Martha) Todd. This is the oldest existing original reference to this very early Atlanta pioneer couple.

Judge John C. Todd and his wife, Sarah Jane Mayson Todd, raised two children, John Heyward Todd and Emma May Todd. The surrounding community was still relatively small, and many of the pioneer families were connected by marriage. Sarah Jane’s sister, Carrie Elizabeth Mayson, married Napoleon Cheshire, son of Captain Hezekiah Cheshire. John Heyward Todd never married, and died at age 50. Emma May Todd married Andrew Pinckney Liddell. Emma May and Andrew’s son, Heyward Todd Liddell, Sr., married Bertie Sue Cheshire, the great granddaughter of Captain Hezekiah Cheshire, on July 2, 1924.  The Cheshires owned land north of the Todds.

Many Todd descendants still live in the Atlanta area. They have demonstrated a consistent interest in preserving and sharing the family history. The records they have collected and shared with Atlanta historians have helped add to the body of historic knowledge of the Atlanta area and its development.


Article contributed by Robin Ragland


Anna Jensen featured in OPENspace Gallery Project

A special installation by Anna Jensen is featured at 1048 N Highland (formerly Savory Spice) as part of the OPENspace Gallery Project thru October 17.

Anna Jensen was born in Atlanta, GA.  She began making portraits of teachers and classmates to entertain herself and friends in grade school.  Anna went on to attend the University of Georgia and Agnes Scott College; the latter as a Pre-Med student.  She then moved to New York City and completed intensive training in the field of theatre acting.  She brings both her love of natural observation and obsessive precision as well as spontaneity and emotional expression back to her explorations in drawing and painting.  Influenced by many she emulates no one, hoping only to present personal yet universal truths in an affecting form.

Open Space is a not for profit organization whose goal is to provide quality gallery services to emerging artists by hosting shows in vacant commercial real estate spaces. We bring excitement and attention to vacant spaces thereby assisting real estate professionals in their marketing and leasing programs. We also serve as a conduit that introduces emerging artists to gallery owners and the art loving community of Atlanta.

“How’re We Doing On Joy”

Additional information on Anna Jensen’s projects:




Article information submitted by Anna Jensen


Hillside’s 130th Anniversary

This year, Hillside celebrates 130 years of service to the community. Since 1888, they have been a place of healing and hope for children and adolescents in need of a safe and caring environment. Hillside began as a shelter for homeless women and children, arranging foster care placements and adoptions wherever possible. By the 1920s, with generous support from the Kiwanis Club of Atlanta, Hillside established its Morningside campus at 690 Courtenay Drive and began to focus exclusively on school-aged children and their families. Over time, it concentrated their mental healthcare expertise on children and adolescents struggling with behavioral challenges. As Hillside’s campus grew to thirteen acres, six more cottages followed, as well as an AdvancED-accredited school, a medical clinic, a centrally located dining hall, and several options for recreational activities, including a gym, sports court, and swimming pool.

Today, Hillside provides strength-based treatment and support to over 200 young people each day by extending their reach beyond the campus. It offers community- based programming throughout metro Atlanta, including day treatment, in-home services, and treatment foster care. Their services are rooted in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), an evidence-based modality effective in helping individuals with depression, self-injury, suicidal behaviors, and difficulties with emotion regulation.

This year, Hillside was awarded the highly coveted and professionally respectedDBT- Linehan Board of Certification, Certified Program™ (dbt-lbc.org) under the guidance of to Dr. Adam Silberman, Medical Director, and Dr. Kimberly Vay, Ed.D, LPC, NCC, CPCS,  the first clinical professional in Georgia to earn DBT-Linehan Board of Certification, Certified Clinician™. Hillside is the first child and adolescent residential treatment facility to be awarded this certification in the world. The DBT-Linehan Board of Certification is an international organization devoted to ensuring programs and individuals offering Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) meet rigorous standards and demonstrate adherence to this evidence-based treatment model.Program certification confirms Hillside’s commitment to provide DBT with effectiveness and fidelity as developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan and colleagues.

To learn more about Hillside, the impact of DBT, and their 130 years of social service, visit their website at www.hside.org.


Article Submitted by Gabriella Marvin, Hillside Community Relations Manager


Annual Meeting Election Results and Grant Recipients

The Virginia-Highland Civic Association is proud to announce its 2018-2019 Board of Directors. Elected at last Thursday’s annual meeting, this group will lead neighborhood committees ranging from Safety to Planning to Summerfest. Thank you to all neighbors who took time to vote, either in person or via absentee ballot. These board members will assume their positions on October 1, 2018.

2018-2019 Virginia-Highland Board of Directors
David Brandenberger
Chip (Louis) Franzoni
Chase Johnson
Jenifer Keenan
Mike Lewis
Barry Loudis
Leah Matthews
Troy Murray
Katie Voelpel
Joshua Zane
Stefanie Roberts(alternate)


In addition to the election, VHCA was proud to present more than $23,000 in grants to local groups and organizations. These grants are a direct result of neighborhood fundraising efforts (Summerfest, Tour of Homes, donations, etc.) and are designed to improve our neighborhood by supporting local organizations. Congratulations to all of this year’s recipients!

2018 VHCA Grant Recipients 
Atlanta Rescue Dog Café
Chabad Intown
Grady High School College and Career Center (CCC)
Grady High School PTSA
Inman Middle School Foundation
Inman Middle School PTO
Intown Collaborative Ministries
Ponce De Leon Library
Springdale Park PTO
Trees Atlanta
Virginia Highland Church
YWCA of Greater Atlanta

Please stay connected with the Virginia-Highland Civic Association at vahi.org, like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.


Board of Director Candidate Bios and Voting Instructions

The Virginia-Highland Civic Association annual meeting will be held Thursday, September 20th from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Inman Middle School cafeteria. Please try to arrive by 6:30 p.m. to sign in and receive your ballot. Grants will be awarded and the 2018-2019 Board of Directors will be elected.

The SPARK Chorus, led by music and chorus teacher Brianne Turgeon, will kick off the meeting again this year, so be sure to arrive early to hear them! They will start at 6:45 pm.

Candidates for the 2018-2019 VHCA Board of Directors
The election committee of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association presents the following list of candidates for the board of directors. Click on each name to read a brief biography for each candidate. Candidates will also have an opportunity to speak briefly at the meeting.


(I) indicates incumbent



Candidate Bios

David Brandenberger (I)
I have lived in Virginia-Highland on Rosedale Road for the past 19 years. I have served on the VHCA Board for the past five years–as a volunteer on the Planning Committee for the first two years, for the entire time as a member of the Parks Committee and as Chair of the Parks Committee the past two years and as President during this past term.

As Chair of Parks, in addition to our regular efforts to work with qualified landscape professionals to augment landscape maintenance at Orme, John Howell, the Triangle and North Highland Park, I have also been heavily involved in applying for, securing and implementing several matching grant applications with Park Pride that have resulted in significant improvements to John Howell Park.

This past year, while serving as President, I worked with the Board and our other committee volunteers to conduct yet another successful Summerfest ((where profits grew year-over-year by 56% (I also served on the Summerfest Committee managing t-shirt sales operations this past year)), was actively involved with others on the Planning Committee in temporarily defeating the most recently proposed development at 10th/Monroe and Cresthill, was involved in working with the City͛s Department of Urban Planning on installation of the City͛s first ‘parklet͛’ at Amsterdam and North Highland, completed the 2nd-phase of a ~$90,000 capital improvement project at John Howell Park, and with the rest of the outgoing/current Board, that–after many years of prior Board and volunteer efforts, was able to successfully retire the mortgage debt on North Highland Park.

If elected to serve another term, in addition to continuing to organize and execute the ͚parks-related͛ work above, I would like to continue to help to manage Summerfest t-shirt operations and work with the Summerfest Committee on the strategic planning analysis that will occur over the next few months to look at how we can make Summerfest even better, and continue to ensure that the Virginia-Highland Civic Association has sufficient capital to continue to give back to this neighborhood in ways the Board and Association deem most critical.

I am fortunate to have been a part of this organization over the past five years and look forward to continuing with VHCA’s good work for another term if so elected.

Chip (Louis) Franzoni
Chip Franzoni is one of the newest Va-Hi homeowners, and couldn’t be happier to have moved from his Buckhead home just four miles away to be closer to the excitement and energy of ATL in-town living. It’s better than he or his family ever imagined!

He’s a roll-up-the-sleeves and get it done kind of guy, who has a wide breadth of experience in various business and volunteer roles. He approaches tasks with a goal in mind and humor to help fuel the effort.

Professionally, Chip has held positions from Account Executive to Vice President for companies including Prentice Hall, National Data Corporation, TSI, and Harbinger. In 2000 he resigned from a senior management position to dedicate his energies to his family and community service.

Since quitting that perfectly good job, his volunteer work is extensive. He is a past president of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association, which represents the interest of the community’s 30,000 residents. He was a board member of our local YMCA’s for nearly 15 years. He established and ran a charitable foundation to support under-privileged children with special needs. He served four years in public office as a school board member, his most challenging community service effort to-date! If he could survive that, service on the VHCA board should be a breeze!

Chip is committed to continue his volunteerism. He hopes with your vote of confidence, and with guidance from the full VHCA board, that he can contribute his talents in some way to make Virginia-Highland an even better community than the better-than-imagined community he’s so thankful to now be part of.

Chase Johnson (I)
Virginia-Highland has always held a special place in Chase Johnson’s heart. Growing up, he heard stories about his grandparents wedding reception at his Great Aunt’s house on Virginia Circle, and he always told people this was where he would live one day. In 2012, he made good on that promise, and in 2017, he and his wife were thrilled to purchase their first home on Rosedale Drive.

A commercial real estate broker by day and an armchair urbanist by night, Chase is passionate about places and what makes a community a great place to live. He currently serves as chair of the Tour of Homes, and if elected, will continue his work to sustain and grow the neighborhood’s winter fundraiser.

This year’s board was able to pay off North Highland Park early and he excited that this will allow the board the opportunity to have more community engagement activities to bring all of our wonderful neighbors together, as well as continue to help improve our neighborhood’s commercial district.

Atlanta has always been a place that welcomes new people and new ideas. Chase hopes that Virginia-Highland will continue to be part of that tradition, and would be honored to serve as a board member for the civic association for another year.

Jenifer Keenan (I)
I am a mom, wife, lawyer, and community activist who has lived in Virginia-Highland for over fourteen years. I take great pride in our neighborhood and have been an active neighborhood advocate on the BeltLine, safety issues on Monroe, proposed development at 10th/Cresthill and Monroe, and other important neighborhood issues.

I have been on the board for several years and served as VHCA President in 2016/2017 and VHCA Secretary in 2017/2018.  This past year, I served on the Planning Committee and was the co-chair of Summerfest.  I have signed on to be one of the co-Chairs of Summerfest 2019, and am always looking for volunteers to help with Summerfest!

For the coming year, I would like to focus on Summerfest and planning issues, including development, traffic, and transportation. I would also like to focus on fundraising to help increase VHCA’s revenue so that we can fund more great initiatives in the neighborhood.

I am proud of all of the great work that VHCA has done and look forward to another productive year on the board.

Mike Lewis
Moved to the neighborhood in 2004. He and his wife live on Virginia Ave. and have two children who attend school in the Grady Cluster. Mike has been active in VaHi through participation in neighborhood events and has supported the schools through volunteerism as well.

Mikes background is in marketing. He has worked for agencies in San Francisco and Atlanta and is currently the Creative Director/Strategist at Grady Hospital.

If elected, Mike would like to help the board address the needs of the changing community, supporting events and projects that help maintain the culture and vibrancy of VaHi. His communications experience will be a great addition to the association.

Barry Loudis (I)
If allowed the privilege of serving on the VHCA Board for a second year, my number one goal will remain to work with all residents to unite, understand the needs of our changing community and keep Virginia-Highland the best neighborhood to live, work, do business and play in.

Moving to VaHi (Kentucky Ave) almost three years ago from New York City, my family (wife, Kerri and daughters, Sloan (6) and Saylor (3)) and I knew right away that we wanted to not only have an address but a home. Virginia-Highland afforded this opportunity early and I’ve been fortunate to meet and speak with many neighbors and city officials through my participation on the 2017-18 board, several committees and other community activities.

I obviously enjoy our major events like Summerfest and Tour of Homes but also experiencing our parks, taking in our commercial nodes, accessing Piedmont Park and enjoying the Beltline. I will continue to engage with neighbors in other parts of Atlanta (NPU-F and beyond) to hear about how they are facing their issues, learning what has worked, what hasn’t and how we can put those things appropriately into place from Ponce to Amsterdam, The Beltline to Briarcliff.

My areas of focus include neighborhood safety, proper planning for both residential and business development and continuing to make VaHi’s voice heard on the city, county and state levels.

I currently co-chair the VaHi Planning Committee, lead the Communications Committee, am a member of the Grants Committee and have assisted with projects effecting the VaHi business and residential districts (specifically the Monroe and Cresthill project), parking configurations and bike lanes. I live on Kentucky Ave.

Leah Matthews (I)
Leah Matthews moved to the neighborhood 6 years ago. She lives on St. Charles Ave with her husband Todd, son Jonah, baby on the way, and their lively boxer, Kota. Leah is an entrepreneur and owner of two businesses. She moved to Atlanta in 2006, and immediately fell in love with Virginia-Highland and knew it was where she would
make her permanent home.

She came on mid-year to fill the alternate vacancy on the VHCA board. Leah currently serves on the Summerfest Committee and is Co-Chair of the Summerfest Parade. For 2019 she will Co-Chair Summerfest and is excited to be involved in the strategic planning of the festival for the coming years. In addition, Leah is the Street Captain for the lower half of St. Charles Ave.

If elected in the coming year her interests are continuing work on Summerfest and safety, but also finding ways to increase community within the neighborhood. Leah hopes to become even more involved in the neighborhood and the VHCA to ensure that Virginia-Highland will continue to be a great place to live for years to come.

When not working, her interests include cooking, wine, travel, yoga, and volunteer work. You’ll often find her working at Press & Grind or out and about in the neighborhood with her family.

Troy Murray (I)
Troy Murray is a 20-year resident of Atlanta and a 14-year resident at Greenwood Lofts in Virginia-Highland. Originally from Nashville, Troy moved to Atlanta after earning a bachelor’s degree in Logistics and Transportation with a minor in Geography from the University of Tennessee. Troy is a project manager for United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS), and has a passion for transportation and a strong interest in infrastructure growth and sustainability. With a balcony view overlooking the Beltline and Ponce City Market, Troy has seen many changes in the neighborhood.

Troy has been involved with several organizations in Atlanta including: UPS LGBTA Business Resource Group (2014 – current); AIDS Walk Atlanta (Team UPS captain, 2015 & 2016); Out & Equal Atlanta (board member, 2008 – 2013); United Way (UPS team leader, 2006 – 2008); Greenwood Lofts HOA (secretary 2005 – 2008); and Open Hand volunteer (1998 – 2005).

As an avid runner and dog owner, Troy can be seen daily either walking Jesse along Greenwood Avenue or running on the BeltLine.

Troy looks forward to serving this great neighborhood for a third year. He has gained so much experience and made new friends and acquaintances. Troy is the co-chair of the Safety committee and serves on the Parks and Planning committees.

Stefanie Roberts (I)
Stefanie Roberts, Associate Director of Reimbursement and Access at Boehringer- Ingelheim.  Prior to joining BI, Stefanie served as District Sales Manager for Novartis, Amgen, Savient and Alkermes where she was responsible for building sales’ teams to prepare for product launches for pharmaceutical products.  Stefanie brings over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including expertise in product launches, sales management, and marketing.  Stefanie earned her Bachelor of Science in Natural Science from Spelman College, Master in Public Health from Morehouse School of Medicine and Master in Business Administration from University of Miami.

Stefanie enjoys traveling and playing tennis in her spare time. Stefanie is married to one of the hottest DJs in Atlanta Toronto (DJ Tron) and has a 10 year old aspiring tennis pro Justin whom attends Springdale Park Elementary. Stefanie has lived in Virginia Highland for ten years on Ponce De Leon Place. Stefanie strives to be on the board of VAHI as a committee member of safety or fundraising events because of her passion to serve her community and to represent the diversity of the community she strives to raise her son in.

Katie Voelpel
Moved to Virginia-Highlands in the Fall of 2016 after receiving my Masters degree in Architecture from the University of South Florida. I visited over 50 cities the summer following graduation and in the end, moved to the first city of the trip- Atlanta. Although I also have family in Atlanta, the more I explored the more I fell in love with the 42 different neighborhoods. I decided to live in the Highlands because of its historical character, walk-ability, and people. I have been living in the Atkins Park area and recently made a purchase off Frederica Ave!

In March 2018, I co-founded a non-profit corporation called Beautify VaHi, our mission is to focus, advocate, and invest in the future of the Virginia-Highland business corridors, which has been declining. Beautify VaHi’s mission focuses on beautification and neighborhood activation to promote small businesses and a local economy in the Virginia-Highlands. We engage all levels to educate and advocate with efficiency and purpose. We launched a kickoff fundraiser and partnered with 18 local businesses to provide an exclusive neighborhood discount card, with discounts up to 20% continuously for up to one year (VaHi Perks Plus Card). Proceeds directly benefit the sidewalks of the Virginia Ave. and Highland Ave. business corridor.

I have worked in VaHi and have come to know many of my neighbors. I walk the streets and love to ride my Kona bicycle. I enjoy yoga locally; I volunteer. I feel very blessed to be here. There is great potential in the neighborhood and the people of Virginia-Highlands. If elected, I would like to serve the residents by participating in multiple committees, advocating for beautification and revitalization of our business corridors and seek for greater sponsorship and community involvement.

Joshua Zane
Joshua is a native Atlantan and has lived in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood on Monroe Drive since 2016. He has strong ties to the community with several family members living in various parts of the neighborhood. He has seen the city grow and develop over the decades and believes that retaining the character, safety and usability of the neighborhood is critical to its continued success.

He has been a member of the Virginia-Highland Master Plan Update Steering Committee since 2017. He also took an active role by providing input to the city and neighborhood related to concerns about the scale, traffic, safety and viability of the Tenth and Monroe project that was recently cancelled.

Joshua has a background in management consulting and has experience growing small, medium and large companies. In his free time he enjoys outside activities including golf, running on the Beltline and in Piedmont Park and skiing.

His interests in the neighborhood include parks, safety and planning, however he has a breadth of skills that would translate well into other areas that may need help.

If elected to the board, he looks forward to shaping the future of the Virginia-Highland neighborhood, continuing to serve on the Master Plan Update Steering Committee and making sure Virginia-Highland continues to be a top residential, business and social neighborhood in the city.

Voting Instructions


Members of the association (18 years of age residing within the official boundaries of Virginia-Highland) may vote at the annual meeting or by absentee ballot. Residence is verified by providing a copy of a valid ID (e.g. GA driver’s license or state issued ID) or a utility bill issued within sixty days of the meeting. The bill or statement should show your name and address.

Absentee Ballot:

Members may also vote by absentee ballot. Your ballot, along with one of the forms of identification mentioned above, may be delivered to 949 Rupley Drive NE or 996 Drewry Street NE (a collection box will be available) by 5 p.m. on September 20, 2018. Ballots may be also be mailed to P.O. Box 8041; Station F, Atlanta, GA 31106. To be counted, they must arrive in the box by 5 PM on the day of the election, at which point they will be collected. Absentee ballots may also be delivered to the annual meeting by its start time of 7 PM.

Please put your ballot in a sealed envelope and then attach the identification document to the outside of the envelope. Account numbers and driver’s license numbers should be blacked out, but leave your name and address visible. After your residency is verified, the identification documents will be removed and destroyed to ensure your ballot and personal data remains anonymous.

Beginning on September 12th, you can download a copy of the absentee ballot here.


Virginia-Highland Block Party

Virginia-Highland Block Party
Join Tommie Macon & the Gentlemen of Jazz on the stairs of the Virginia-Highland Church (743 Virginia Ave NE) for a free concert. Also featuring Sweet Auburn BBQ‘s food truck, Face Painting, Inman Middle School’s Jazz Combo, and an Artisan Food Market.
The Virginia-Highland Block Party is in support of The River – Transforming Homelessness In Atlanta. Admission is free. There is a suggested donation of men’s long sleeve shirts, pullovers, polos, and sweatshirts.

Trees Atlanta Virginia-Highland Yard Tree Program

Intown Atlanta is known for its tree-lined streets. But we’re losing the old growth quickly due to the loss of old trees and so much new construction. Trees planted by residents in their yards are important in helping maintain our tree canopy, creating a healthier environment for all of us including the wildlife that calls Intown Atlanta home.

As a result of a supplement grant to the partnership between the City of Atlanta and Trees Atlanta NeighborWoods program, Trees Atlanta can now, for the Virginia Highland, Poncey Highland, Midtown, Morningside/Lenox, and Druid Hills neighborhoods, provide free trees for residents to plant in front, side and/or in the back yard of their property.

Typically Trees Atlanta provides trees for the right-of-ways/city property and the front yards of homes. Follow this link to learn more about the program and to request your trees. Trees Atlanta staff will also come to your home and advise you on the best trees to plant, placement and care. You can place your order at any time and Trees Atlanta will help decide the appropriate time to plant.

Article Contributed by Charles Lindamood III


Grady Cluster Principals’ Forum

Inman Middle School Auditorium
774 Virginia Ave. NE | Atlanta, GA 30306


Hosted by the Council of Intown Neighborhoods & Schools (CINS)

On September 5, join Grady High School principal Betsy Bockman, Inman Middle principal Kevin Maxwell and all of the Grady Cluster elementary and K-8 principals to hear about their schools’ achievements, challenges and goals for the new school year. Principals will also discuss how they work collaboratively to provide a continuum of high-quality K-12 education for the 6,500 students their schools serve.

Attendees are welcome to bring a lunch, and drinks will be available.

CLICK HERE to Register



Your VHCA is powered by the many volunteers who organize fundraisers such as Summerfest, the Tour of Homes and the Highland Mile, participate on the Safety Committee, Budget Committee, Parks Committee, Communications Committee, Grants Committee, Planning Committee and much, much more.

Each fall, the neighborhood elects the VHCA’s Board of Directors (10 members and 1 alternate) to oversee the work of the many committees and identify issues, concerns and opportunities for improving Virginia-Highland. Any resident over 18 years old and willing to invest their time and talent is eligible to be on the ballot and run for the Board.

The Election Committee is now accepting bios from those interested in running for the Board. Please review the activities and the mission of the association on vahi.org if you are interested.To be included on the printed and published ballot, please email a short bio to the following Election Committee members by September 5:

Debbie Skopczynskidebskop_vahi@yahoo.com

Jack Whitectbold@gmail.com

Paige Hewellpaige.hewell@gmail.com

Please include the following information in your bio:

– a brief statement on what you would like to accomplish as a member on the 2018/2019 VHCA Board, and

– a paragraph on your experiences in the neighborhood, including but not limited to VHCA committees in which you currently participate or have an interest in being active in.

The Committees page (here), Annual Goals from 2018 and prior years (here) and bios of current board members on vahi.org are particularly informative. The Association’s work is also directed by our Master Plan which may be viewed on the website, as well.Bios for all candidates will be posted on the VaHi.org website.

The Election Committee will accept all nominations of those qualified to serve whose nominations are received more than fifteen (15) days prior to the Annual Association Meeting, which will be held on September 20 at the Inman Middle School Cafeteria from 6:30 – 9:00pm. Grants will be awarded and the 2018/2019 Board of Directors will be elected. The Springdale Park\ Elementary Chorus, led by Music Director Brianne Turgeon, has been invited to perform at the meeting, so be sure to arrive early to hear them!



As another great academic year begins at Inman – our second under the outstanding leadership of Dr. Kevin Maxwell – we are proud to report that the Inman Middle School Foundation experienced a record year in 2017/2018, raising nearly $100,000 that was put to direct and immediate use in our Inman classrooms.

The Inman Foundation is a non-profit organization supporting initiatives that fall under two primary elements of the school’s Strategic Plan: Systems & Resources and Talent Management.

Thanks to the generosity of Inman families, neighborhood businesses and organizations, and other community members during the last two school years, the Foundation has succeeded in funding:

Inman students utilizing Chromebooks in the classroom.

More than 250 Chromebooks supporting the 1:1 initiative to provide every Inman student with his or her own dedicated Chromebook in the classroom

“A Chromebook in every student’s hand individualizes student learning with endless access to online resources, each that cater to different interests, comprehension, and vocabulary levels.  Additionally, Google integration provides classrooms limitless opportunities for collaboration and creation through powerful apps.” instructional coach Sarrita Allen said.

“Kids love technology. But they are using the device to create, curate, evaluate and synthesize info,” Dr. Maxwell said. “The Foundation understands how technology can be a vehicle for students to be engaged in the classroom.”

A highly effective in-school tutoring partnership with the Educational Advisory Foundation

Bringing experienced and highly trained outside educators to work one-on-one or in small groups during school hours providing intensive instruction in reading and math for students who require extra attention. The EAF program effectively reduces class sizes by allowing teachers to continue instruction for students not in the program at a pace appropriate to their level.

“We’ve seen statistically significant increases in test scores with those students. It’s definitely working,” Maxwell said.

Inman Principal, Dr. Maxwell, demonstrating a mobile Chromebook charging/storage cart also purchased by the Foundation.

Level 1 Google Certification for 30 teachers

Which lead to improved efficiency among teaching teams when

 the same learning platform is utilized in addition to gifted certification training for 14 teachers, which helps keep all class sizes smaller and permits greater flexibility in teacher assignments.

“I love the benefits of Google Classroom. No more stacks of paper. You can see a single kid’s entire work flow. It keeps families informed and you see real-time progress.” said 6th Grade Science teacher, Melissa Nunnink.

Although the Foundation has made significant progress, it has not yet fully attained all
objectives. Inman still needs approximately 300 Chromebooks to reach the 1:1 goal. The Foundation has also committed to continuing the EAF tutoring program this year and providing additional gifted and Google certifications.


Whether you are a current, past or future Inman Eagle, local business, relative, or community member, EVERY donation makes a real and lasting difference in each Inman student’s education experience. A donation of just $500 covers the cost of a Chromebook or 1 teacher’s gifted certification training. Or a donation of $250 equates to the cost of one student in the EAF tutoring program. Your investment goes a long way.

Visit inmanfoundation.org for more details and how you can help! Your gifts will ensure that our Inman Eagles take flight and soar!

Thank you in advance. …Your Inman Middle School Foundation


Submitted by Kim Meyer, Trustee, Inman Middle School Foundation


Preventing Package Theft At Your Home

In 2017, online shopping sales grew 17% and accounted for 49% of the retail economy. The obvious result to this is the number of packages left on porches in Virginia-Highland. With this increasing trend comes a higher rate of package theft in our intown neighborhood. There is an actual term for someone who follows package delivery trucks and looks for a pile of packages to steal; “package pirates.”

Here are a few tips that could help prevent packages pirates from taking your online purchase as their treasure.

Have packages sent to your workplace 

I have a tech junkie coworker who sends his online purchases to the office so his wife doesn’t know about them. He also does this because he doesn’t want his high tech/high dollar purchases sitting on the front porch all day. Most offices have a mail room that is staffed during the day. One thing to keep in mind is if the packages arrives after your office mail room closes, you may not get your needed item until the next business day.

Consider mail box service

For frequent online shoppers or for people who work out of their homes and have work related parcels and documents coming to their home office, look into a PO Box or Amazon locker. The UPS Store, USPS and Kinko’s offer delivery boxes for monthly rates.

Sign up for delivery notification, rerouting and rescheduling ability

Both UPS and FedEx offer web apps to help reroute parcels to another address and reschedule your package delivery (UPS My Choice and FedEx’s Delivery Manager). These apps also give you delivery tracking, delay notifications and package status.

While on vacation…
If you are away from your home during the holidays or on vacation, look into rerouting or rescheduling delivery. You can also request a delivery hold from the USPS: You can do this on their website with the option of pick up at the post office or deliver all mail once you return. Also, if you ask a neighbor to look out for your home, remind them to check for packages as well.

To quote Julie Andrews, “Brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things.” A few simple precautions can help ensure that you get your favorite things.

Submitted by: Troy Murray


Make Safety On Monroe The Top Priority!

At the RENEW ATLANTA public meeting on June 28th , the Renew Atlanta team failed to present any substantive safety improvements for the stretch of Monroe between Dutch Valley and 10th Street. Although they proposed a new traffic signal at Westminster Drive, the only proposed improvements south of this new light and just north of the 10th street intersection were “signal improvements.” Since the June 28th meeting, there have been at least three wrecks at Park and Monroe – all involving injuries – and at least one wreck on Monroe between Cresthill and Elmwood where a car went onto the sidewalk and crashed into a house’s retaining wall. “Traffic signal improvements” are clearly not enough to deal with the dangerous conditions on
this stretch of Monroe.

VHCA’s City Planning and Transportation consultants met with Renew Atlanta to review their traffic data and discuss the desperately needed safety improvements for Monroe. During that meeting, they learned that the Road Diet itself would actually function very well in the areas where it would be implemented. (See VHCA’s articles here for information on how road diets work). The result is exactly what road diet supporters have long envisioned for Monroe Drive – a slower and safer roadway that greatly reduces pedestrian and vehicular accidents. The outstanding issue identified by RENEW ATLANTA is that the traffic model predicts traffic congestion could increase at the intersections on either end of the Road Diet at peak rush hour times.

Based on VHCA’s City Planning and Transportation consultants’ discussions with Renew Atlanta, as well as the work on the VaHi Master Plan, which called for a Road Diet on Monroe, we believe that there is reason to at the very least advocate for the implementation of a testing period for the Monroe Drive Road Diet concept.

First, the RENEW traffic model confirms that even if we do nothing and Monroe Drive does not change in any way, traffic during peak hours will remain bad and will in fact get worse. There is no scenario that will reduce traffic during peak hours. Without the Road Diet, travel time delay during rush hour is estimated to be approximately 30 minutes in the future without the Road Diet and is estimated to be approximately 40 minutes in the future with the Road Diet.

There are no options for the future of Monroe Drive that reduces travel time delay during peak hours. But there is an option for the future of Monroe Drive that reduces accidents and fatalities – and that is the Road Diet concept. We believe that any scenario that makes it safer for our community and that will avoid future tragedies is worth it and should be pursued.

Secondly, we believe that is it possible that some of the assumptions made and some of the outcomes produced by the traffic model may in fact turn out to be incorrect. The BeltLine Eastside Trail will eventually be built and when it is that could become a viable alternative to driving on Monroe for some commuters. The use of the Eastside Trail in Inman Park and Old Fourth Ward has shown that the trail, when completed, can in fact provide an attractive and popular mode of travel for commuters. The RENEW model assumes that all drivers that drive today will continue to do so in the future and this is an assumption that could be invalid.

Finally, we believe that we must make decisions on the future of Monroe Drive based on our desired outcome for the roadway and our community every day of the year and not just during work day rush hours. Monroe Drive impacts us all – and not just during rush hour. It’s the road we live on, walk on, push strollers on, walk to school on, walk to the park on, and get to the BeltLine on. It is imperative that we have a roadway designed for all of us to live with and live on every day of the year and not a roadway designed for the maximum number of commuters to drive as fast as possible for a few hours of the work day.

We know that there is no option for the future that will reduce traffic congestion during peak hours. But we can chose a future for Monroe Drive that will make it safer for everybody who uses it no matter what they use it for and no matter how often they use it.

For these reasons, we are recommending that the community advocate for the testing of the Road Diet to allow residents to experience the benefits of a road diet and to test assumptions in order that as a City we might have more information to make a better long-term decision for our city and our neighborhoods. You can make your voice heard by submitted comments to Renew Atlanta that emphasize the following:

1) The City must make safety on Monroe the #1 priority. Excessive speeds, blind left turns, and the unsafe design of Monroe have made this one of the most dangerous streets in the city. During a one week period, there were three injury wrecks and Park and Monroe. This is unacceptable

2) The dangerous conditions on Monroe demand serious changes to the road design. The best way to improve safety for all users of the street – drivers, cyclists, pedestrians,
BeltLine users, and students – is to implement a road diet.

3) We support the implementation of a road diet and ask that, at a minimum, Renew
Atlanta implement a 6 – 12 month interim road diet so that the real impacts of the road
diet on safety and travel times can be determined.

Comments should be submitted to:

Submitted by Jenifer Keenan and Aaron Fortner


Nominations for 2018/2019 Virginia-Highland Civic Association Board of Directors and Annual Grants

Your VHCA is powered by the many volunteers who organize fundraisers such as Summerfest, the Tour of Homes and the Highland Mile, participate on the Safety Committee, Budget Committee, Parks Committee, Communications Committee, Grants Committee, Planning Committee and much, much more.

Each fall, the neighborhood elects the VHCA’s Board of Directors (10 members and 1 alternate) to oversee the work of the many committees and identify issues, concerns and opportunities for improving Virginia-Highland. Any resident over 18 years old and willing to invest their time and talents is eligible to be on the ballot and run for the Board.

The Election Committee (now forming) will be accepting bios from those interested in running for the Board. Please review the activities and the mission of the association on vahi.org if you are interested.

To be included on the printed and published ballot, please email a short bio to board@vahi.org, no later than September 5. Please include the following information in your bio:

– a brief statement on what you would like to accomplish as a member on the 2018/2019 VHCA Board, and
– a paragraph on your experiences in the neighborhood, including but not limited to VHCA committees in which you currently participate or have an interest in being active in.

The Committees page (here), Annual Goals from 2018 and prior years (here) and bios of current board members on vahi.org are particularly informative. The Association’s work is also directed by our Master Plan which may be viewed on the website, as well.

Bios for all candidates will be posted on the VaHi.org website. The Election Committee will accept all nominations of those qualified to serve whose nominations are received more than fifteen (15) days prior to the Annual Association Meeting, which will be held on September 20 at the Inman Middle School Cafeteria from 6:30 – 9:00pm. Grants will be awarded and the 2018/2019 Board of Directors will be elected. The Springdale Park\ Elementary Chorus, led by Music Director Brianne Turgeon, has been invited to perform at the meeting, so be sure to arrive early to hear them! Stay tuned for more details.

Grant applications are due by August 24. Visit the Grants section of this site for more information and to complete an online application.

Submitted by David Brandenberger, VHCA President


Introducing: Beautify VaHi

Below is an introductory letter from a new group in the neighborhood, Beautify Va-Hi.

Hello Neighbor!

We are Beautify VaHi – a new entity, comprised of VaHi community members, dedicated to the prosperity of local business and the beautification & maintenance of our precious neighborhood sidewalk life. Beautify VaHi is especially focused on the intersection of Virginia Avenue and North Highland Avenue.

Our mission is to reinvigorate the vibe of one of Atlanta’s most desirable neighborhoods and to ultimately improve the shopping experience in Virginia-Highland.  This organization was formed with intentions of community improvement for all, to better compete with adjacent markets like Ponce City Market, Krog Street Market, Midtown and Inman Park. It is our heart’s desire to support OUR local business climate by raising customers’ experiences via beautification, exclusive discounts, artisan events and a rebirth of our neighborhood’s marketplace. Look for us in the coming months with the launch of our exclusive neighborhood discount card!

Katie Voelpel
President, Beautify Va-Hi

Cresthill & Monroe: Special Project Update

Through District 6 Councilwoman Jennifer Ide, the Virginia-Highland Board of Directors and Planning Committee has learned that the City of Atlanta has made the decision to withdraw the RFP for the 10th and Monroe (Cresthill & Monroe) project. This means that the proposed development will no longer be moving forward.

While this doesn’t eliminate the option for the land to be offered again and another development to be presented, it does give more time for public engagement and appropriate land use discussions. We trust that the City, Invest Atlanta and the Atlanta BeltLine will involve all parts of the city in these discussions and find the best path forward.

We will relay more information as it becomes available but if you have any questions in the interim, please email planning@vahi.org.


Thank you for our best Summerfest yet!

Thanks to our amazing Summerfest Committee for putting on the best Summerfest yet.  The numbers our still coming in, but it looks like Summerfest 2018 raised over $110,000 for our neighborhood!

 Summerfest would not be possible without the hundreds of hours of hard work of the Summerfest Committee:   

    • Directors:  Jenifer Keenan and Pamela Papner
    • Operations & Logistics:  Rob Frazer, Premier Events Management
    • Operations Support:  Paige Hewell and Steve Messner
    • Artist and Local Market:  Julie Tepp and Nancy Musser
    • KidsFest: Stefanie Roberts, Lisa Ladds and Leah Matthews
    • Volunteers:  Steve Voichick and Troy Murray
    • Community Dinner: Charlie LeFort and Atkins Park
    • Music:  George Zirkel and Kristen Sheehan/Chrissy Culver of On Point Creative
    • Parade:  Leah Matthews and Mary Peck
    • Road Race:  Ed Williams, Kay Stephenson
    • Tot Trot:  Allison Delmedico and Ann Carter
    • Summerfest T-Shirts:  David Brandenberger, Steve Voichick, and Suzanne Simkin/PeaceLoveMom
    • Festival Sponsorships: Rick Kern, Mix-It Marketing
    • Public Relations:  Andi Frey, Launch! Marketing and John Becker
    • Summerfest Survey:  Mary Peck
    • Parking:  Jack White
    • Financials:  George Zirkel and Steve Voichick

 Each of these committee members were instrumental in planning and executing Summerfest.  We all owe a debt of gratitude to the hard working members of the Committee and the hundreds of volunteers who worked during the festival.    

I would like to extend a special thank you to Pamela Papner.  Pamela’s leadership of Summerfest for over a decade has been invaluable.  During Pamela’s tenure, Summerfest has raised over $1 million dollars for our neighborhood.  Thanks to those tremendous fundraising efforts, there is less than $40,000 remaining on the $850,000 mortgage for North Highland Park.

 I would also like to extend a personal note of gratitude to the entire Summerfest Committee.  It was an honor and privilege to work with each and every member of the Committee.  Thanks to everyone for helping to make Summerfest such a great success!


Article Submitted by Jenifer Keenan


“Don’t Get the Boot” Program – June 1-15

The City of Atlanta and ATLPlus will sponsor the “Don’t Get the Boot” program to promote parking education and assist in the resolution of unpaid parking citations.  This program will waive late penalties added to citations issued before March 24, 2017. The “Don’t Get the Boot” program will only last 15 calendar days ( Friday, June 1, 2018 through Friday, June 15, 2018) and will be limited to citations issued before the ATLPlus program began. Citations rates will be reduced to the original fine amount.  At the end of the late penalty waiver program, all outstanding citation amounts will go back to their previous amount and include the previously added late fees.

For addition information on Don’t Get the Boot program visit: https://www.atlantaga.gov/government/departments/public-works/office-of-transportation/parking-services/don-t-get-the-boot-program

To pay outstanding citations visit: www.ATLPLUSmobility.com


Virginia- Highland Summerfest – 2018 Highlights

It’s our 35th year of Art, Music and Fun!

Art: Did you know that Sunshine Artist Magazine recognized Summerfest 2017 as one of the top 100 Classic and Contemporary Craft Shows in the U.S.? This year, the juried Artist Market again welcomes more than 200 fine artists working in a wide variety of media – painting, sculpture, clay, photography, jewelry, textiles/fiber, wood, metal, graphics and mixed media. Come check it out and find that perfect addition to your home!

Local Market: Summerfest is also pleased to bring back the popular Local Market, begun in 2016. This area features Georgia artisans who craft a variety of gourmet food and home products like honey, seasonings, soaps, dog treats and candles. With 30 vendors selling tasty and unique items that ignite the senses, the Local Market offers plenty of temptation.

New this Year:

  • On Saturday from 10am – 6pm, race your friends down Barnett Street (adjacent to John Howell Park) on adult-sized big wheels. Just $5 and the winners get a prize!
  • Come visit “Va-Hi House”, a shaded sports bar located on Virginia/Park Drive.

Free Music Weekend: This year’s music lineup will have you dancing all weekend, kicking off Friday night with Moontower, expertly covering your favorite rock hits from the Beatles, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and more at the N. Highland Stage. The Main Stage at John Howell Park features a variety of indie music acts headlined on Saturday night by explosive electro-jazz-funk-rock group Kung Fu. Supporting acts include Gurufish, a soulful blend of pop-funk and Voodoo Visionary, a rock & roll group who draws from elements of jazz, funk and disco. Come back on Sunday and jive to the high-energy southern gothic swing sounds (and daring feats of sword-swallowing) from Mayhayley’s Grave & Bonafide Sideshow, followed by the Georgia Music Awards 2015 Americana Artist of the Year Alex Guthrie and his soulful, blues-tinged rock band.

Check out the rest of our talent-packed lineup at www.vahisummerfest.com/music


VaHi House Premiers at Summerfest 2018

Virginia-Highland’s Summerfest is rapidly approaching and the excitement in the
neighborhood is heating up.

People are talking about the incredible music line-up, fantastic artwork for sale and, of course, how hot it will be outside! We’ve noticed the sweat beading up on your brows just thinking about this, and we’ve come up with a solution to combat the sizzling pavement of Virginia Ave.

This year’s Summerfest will have something that is extremely cool for everyone, VaHi House! This shipping container-turned bar is more than just a lounge, it’s a full-fledged party in a box! Tailgatehouse, the #1 Atlanta start-up in 2018, will be opening the doors of their luxury suite in front of Inman Middle School for all to enjoy.

Inside the container, get refreshed with an ice-cold beer, cocktail or soft drink at the bar. With your beverage in-hand, chill in one of the comfy chairs out front. Take in some amazing people-watching while keeping up-to-date on the latest games on 4 large-screen TV’s. No party is complete without music so DJ Tron will spinning from the roof to ensure VaHi House keeps it cool.

VaHi House is open to all during Summerfest so join us to unwind, chill out and get refreshed.


Expanded Kidsfest Area for Summerfest!

Introducing a new and improved Kidsfest area for Summerfest 2018

On Saturday, Xtreme Air Balls (human “hamster balls”) will be in the sand volleyball court, and on both Saturday and Sunday we’ll have a petting zoo in the grass area behind the courts!

We’ll also have all of your favorites including face painting, crazy hair, free arts and crafts, The Sand Art Cart and a few other surprises including DJ Tron, the best DJ in Atlanta.  APD will also be back this year with a squad car and a special appearance by the mounted police horses!

The Kidsfest Committee would like to thank this year’s Kidsfest Presenting Sponsor, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta as well as Gusto! for serving as a Kidsfest sponsor for the second year in a row. The expanded Kidsfest area would not be possible without CHOA’s and Gusto’s generous support.

We look forward to seeing your kids at Kidsfest!



The BEST 5K and Tot Trot in Atlanta

Every year serious runners and walkers alike participate in one of the best races in Atlanta – the Summerfest 5K.

Just a few reasons to sign up:

  • Chip-timed race and an official AJC Peachtree Road Race qualifier
  • Runners receive a premium t-shirt
  • Winners will receive awards for first, second and third place by age group, and for overall and masters male and female winners.
  • The route winds through the neighborhood starting at the intersection of Virginia and Lanier and ending on Barnett near John Howell Park and the festival.
  • Cheerleaders all along the route

Early packet pick-up will be available at Phidippides (Ansley Mall) on Saturday June 2nd, and Monday through Thursday June 4th – 7th from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. You may also pick up your bib and shirt at Virginia-Highland Church on Friday June 8 from 4:30 – 7:30 PM).

Early packet pick-up is required for all local runners. Out of town participants only may pick up prior to the race on Saturday morning.

Register now on Active.com – CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Tot Trot
For children seven & under, a Tot Trot will be held in John Howell Park immediately following the award ceremony for the 5K (around 9:30 AM).

Sign-ups ($10 per child) are available at John Howell Park starting at 8:00 AM on the day of the race. PLEASE ARRIVE NO LATER THAN 9:15 AM!

Each child participating in the Tot Trot receives a race number, ribbon and T-shirt.


Self-Defense Training – Virginia Highland Church

Join us at Virginia-Highland Church on May 19th at 10:00 am for a self-defense training, co-sponsored by Neighbors Organizing for Equity and Progress (N.O.P. E.).

This class is an introductory self-defense class for women learning to improve confidence, self-awareness, and strategies for personal safety.

While not excessively physical, participants should come ready to move. Be sure to wear everyday clothing.


Cresthill & Monroe – Neighborhood Engagement Update


The Virginia-Highland Civic Association has heard loud and clear our neighbor’s input regarding the proposed Fuqua development at Cresthill/10th and Monroe. We are continually sharing those concerns and comments with the developer, Atlanta Beltline, Invest Atlanta, and City officials, including City Council. It is incredibly encouraging that there has been such a vocal and unified response – we ask everyone to keep up the energy and stay engaged in this process.

Over the next few weeks, we will outline a plan for citizens to lobby City Council and express concerns about the proposed Fuqua development. The plan will include yard signs, flyers, stickers and “talking points” for communications with City Council members, who will ultimately vote on the rezoning needed for the development. While we are all eager to get started, we’ve been advised that it will be most effective to wait to contact City Council until we see a definitive plan from the developer and an application for rezoning.

Rest assured, there is a great deal already happening in the wings, and when the time comes to contact City Council members and other city officials, we will let you know — and keep in mind that hard copy letters are more effective than emails.

VHCA will schedule another Community Update meeting in the near future (which will be different from the developer’s required community meetings). The Community Update meeting welcomes people from all neighborhoods to learn more about the community’s concerns about the project and discuss the best path to address those concerns.

In the meantime, there are several things you can do to stay informed and engaged with this issue:

1)      Contribute to the GoFundMe Campaign www.gofundme.com/vahicef

Funds will help pay for VHCA’s professional consultants (city planning, land-use lawyer, traffic, affordable housing and media relations).

2)      Volunteer for Summerfest https://signup.com/client/invitation2/secure/2229418/false#/invitation

Money raised from Summerfest supports all of VHCA’s initiatives, including efforts related to the proposed Fuqua Development.

3)      Stay Informed — Review Materials on the VHCA Website Related to the Project     

Cresthill & Monroe Meeting Materials is the VHCA PowerPoint by Planning Consultant Aaron Fortner.

As noted in the PowerPoint, there are ~1.2 million square feet of land in Virginia-Highland along the BeltLine that are zoned for increased density. Higher density development should occur at those parcels and include real affordable housing, not the bare minimum affordable housing that is proposed in the Fuqua project.

Public Meeting – 10th & Monroe Development -Update is an overview article on the proposed project, the community input process organized by the development team, and explains the process for City Council to vote on rezoning.

4)      Start Conversations! Spread the Word to Neighbors in VHCA and Nearby Neighborhoods

Have a neighbor you haven’t spoken to in a while? Ask them about the development and if they’ve been active in the discussion. Ask friends in nearby neighborhoods to contact their civic association leadership to express their opinion(s) about the development and ensure their civic association, too, is taking a vocal position. Talk to neighborhood businesses and visitors to the neighborhood about the project and the materials the neighborhood has prepared (#3 above). Better still, host an informational meeting on the topic on your street and let us help facilitate the discussion. Reach out to us at planning@vahi.org and we would be happy to attend, talk about the project as it currently stands, discuss our stance as a neighborhood, and answer questions about further engagement on the issue.

What should you say about this issue? The VHCA stands in support of:

  • Preservation of existing single family zoning in National Register Historic Districts
  • Development of properties already zoned for increased density with effective traffic solutions
  • Real Affordable Housing on all parcels currently zoned for increased density along the Beltline
  • Safer, Slower and Less-Congested Streets

Rezoning issues are at the heart of this project and impact all neighborhoods along the BeltLine! The Fuqua development is proposing the rezoning of 9 single family homes on Cresthill and Monroe that is contrary to all city planning, including the BeltLine Redevelopment Plan, the BeltLine Subarea 6 Plan, City’s Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP), and current zoning.

Thank you for your continued energy and participation in this process. With your help, we will continue to fight effectively for growth and development that is thoughtful and well-planned. We must stay engaged and unified as we navigate this Atlanta-changing issue.

– Virginia-Highland Civic Association


May 17 Cresthill & Monroe Meeting – CANCELED

The Fuqua Development Team announced this afternoon that the Thursday, May 17, meeting on 10th and Monroe is canceled and that future Working Group and Technical Group meetings are canceled as well.   

During today’s working group meeting with the development team, neighborhood representatives reiterated the importance of maintaining the zoning of existing single-family R-4 parcels and our longstanding support for affordable housing and development on the parcels that have been designated for increased density in the BeltLine Subarea 6 Master Plan.

We are surprised and disappointed by the cancellation of the meetings. We remain open to participating in future meetings when they occur.

Further information, as it is available, will be posted on vahi.org.


Public Hearing Notice – Proposed MARTA Changes/Eliminations

MARTA bus routes 16 and 36 connect Virginia-Highland with several other neighborhoods in Atlanta as well as the entire MARTA bus and rail system. Recently, eliminations and changes to both of these routes have been proposed. Below is a information about the public hearings associated with the changes as well as other ways to have your voice heard if you are unable to attend the meetings in person.

A change.org petition has also been established for those interested:




ATLANTA—The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) will hold three public hearings on proposed bus service modifications and proposed fiscal year 2019 operating and capital budgets. The hearings are scheduled for Monday, May 14 in the Clayton County Board Room, Tuesday, May 15 in the Fulton County Government Assembly Hall, and Wednesday, May 16 in the DeKalb Maloof Auditorium for the following routes:

Route 6: Clifton Rd./Emory; Route 9: E. Atlanta/Tilson Rd./Candler Rd.; Route 15: Candler Rd./S. DeKalb; Route 16: N. Highland Ave.; Route 21: Memorial Dr.; Route 25: Peachtree Ind. Blvd./Johnson Ferry Rd.; Route 27: Cheshire Bridge Rd.; Route 30: LaVista Rd.; Route 32: Bouldercrest; Route 36: N. Decatur Rd./Virginia Highland; Route 49: McDonough Blvd.; Route 74: Flat Shoals; Route 107:Glenwood; Route 110: Peachtree Rd./Buckhead; Route 133 (formerly Route 33): Shallowford Rd.; Route 195: Forest Pkwy.; Route 809 (formerly Route 109): Monroe Dr./Boulevard; New Route 825: Johnson Ferry Rd.; New Route 832: Grant Park; Route 899 (formerly Route 99): Old Fourth Ward

MARTA representatives will be on hand for a community exchange session beginning at 6 p.m. followed by public hearings at 7 p.m. 

MARTA regularly evaluates bus route performance including scheduling, on-time performance, ridership, and safety. Modifications were recommended based on feedback received from customers and the Authority’s service analysis.

MARTA representatives will present the proposed FY19 capital and operating budgets. These budgets will guide the Authority’s investments in customer services over the next fiscal year.

All changes accepted by the MARTA Board of Directors will become effective August 18, 2018.



Monday, May 14

Clayton County Board Room

112 Smith Street

Jonesboro, GA  30236

Community Exchange: 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Public Hearing: 7 p.m.

Riding MARTA: Route 193


Tuesday, May 15

Fulton County Gov’t. Center Assembly Hall

141 Pryor Street

Atlanta, GA  30303

Community Exchange: 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Public Hearing: 7 p.m.

Riding MARTA: Routes 32, 42, 55


Wednesday, May 16

DeKalb Maloof Auditorium

1300 Commerce Drive

Decatur, GA  30030

Community Exchange: 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Public Hearing: 7 p.m.

Riding MARTA: West of Decatur Rail Station


A sign language interpreter will be available at the hearing. If you cannot attend and would like to share comments, you may: (1) leave a message at 404-848-5299; (2) write to MARTA’s Department of Planning at the address below; (3) complete an online comment card at www.itsmarta.com; (4) or fax your comments to 404-848-4179.


Copies of the proposed bus service modifications and FY19 operating and capital budgets will be available at MARTA headquarters, 2424 Piedmont Road, N.E., Atlanta, Ga. 30324, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.


Public Meeting – 10th & Monroe Development -Update

The proposed development at 10th Street and Monroe has generated significant concern from the community. This article provides an overview of the proposal, the public input process published by the developer and Atlanta BeltLine Inc. (ABI), and key issues related to the proposed development. The Virginia-Highland Civic Association (VHCA) will be hosting a public meeting at 7:00PM on Thursday, April 19th at The Virginia-Highland Church (743 Virginia Avenue) regarding this proposed development and next steps.

The area for the proposed development is the southwest block at Monroe and Cresthill (see map below). Jim Kegley, a partner in 10th and Monroe, LLC, is part of a joint venture that  owns the commercial properties marked C1 below and all single family homes marked R4 below other than 565 Cresthill.

Aerial sketch of proposed project area 

Concept from proposal to Invest Atlanta

Jim Kegley, as part of 10th and Monroe, LLC has partnered with Fuqua Development to develop this area. They submitted a bid to purchase a small section of BeltLine land adjacent to their commercial properties and single family homes (marked “Atlanta BeltLine” above). The fact sheet on their bid to purchase the BeltLine land and develop this area can be found at the following link:  Invest Atlanta – Fact Sheet 

Invest Atlanta (IA), the City of Atlanta’s Development Authority, voted to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the purchase of the BeltLine land with Kegley/Fuqua at the December 19, 2017 IA meeting. Little notice was provided about the IA vote, and the actual vote was conducted in Executive Session and not open to the public. Although VHCA only received 48 hours’ notice of the impending vote, several VHCA Board and Planning Committee members, as well as NPU officers, attended the Invest Atlanta meeting to object to the vote and the proposed development. VHCA also submitted a letter objecting to the Invest Atlanta vote and proposed development (see VHCA article and letter to Invest Atlanta).

Under the MOU with IA, the developers were required to engage in a “robust community input” process. Their “public input process,” which was approved by ABI, includes the following “Community Wide Meetings,” “Community Working Group Meetings,” and “Technical Advisory Group Meetings”:

Following the community engagement process, the development team will go through the formal rezoning process.  The process is outlined below.

NPU-F requires that rezonings go to the NPU-F Zoning Committee first, then to the neighborhood where the project is located, and then to the full NPU-F meeting.

The following link provides additional information on the City’s website related to zoning changes:
City of Atlanta Zoning Changes

Additional information on the ZRB and Office of Zoning and Development:

Zoning Review Board (ZRB) – This body consists of nine members, appointed by the Mayor and City Council, who meet twice a month to consider property rezonings and special use permits. The Zoning Review Board takes into consideration the recommendations of the relevant Neighborhood Planning Unit and the Office of Planning staff and makes recommendations on rezonings to the Zoning Committee of City Council.

Office of Zoning and Development – This office is responsible for interpreting and enforcing the zoning ordinance. The Zoning Division checks all building permits for compliance with the zoning ordinance and conducts research to verify the zoning classification for a given property.

There are many critical components with this proposed development.  A partial list of the key issues includes:

  • Maintaining Single-Family Land Use and Zoning to Prevent “Creep” of Rezoning of Single-Family Land Along Monroe and the BeltLine and elsewhere in the city

This proposed development would require both a land use and zoning change to the parcels that are R4/single family, including the 9 existing single-family homes on Monroe and Cresthill.  Any planning ‘logic’ that accepts tearing down single-family homes in one area can be applied just as easily to other areas in Virginia-Highland and along the BeltLine as a whole. If the west side of Monroe and the south side of Cresthill are rezoned, it will set a precedent for rezoning other single-family land in Virginia-Highland and along other parts of the BeltLine.  Keeping existing single-family streets (and Monroe itself) as single-family housing is a critical goal. Both VHCA and NPU-F have devoted significant formal planning efforts on these topics in the city’s official plan for the area (the Comprehensive Development Plan, or CDP.) In addition, the BeltLine Subarea Plans says that “protecting existing single family neighborhoods” adjacent to the BeltLine is a critical goal of the BeltLine (see pg. 3/pdf pg. 21).  

  • Increased Density Designations in the BeltLine Subarea 6 Master Plan and City’s CPD Are Called for In Other Sections Along the BeltLine

Unlike the Kegley/Fuqua land at 10th and Monroe, which has not been designated for increased density in the BeltLine Subarea 6 Plan or any other City plan, increased density has been planned for other parcels along the BeltLine in Virginia-Highland and Morningside. The BeltLine Subarea 6 Master Plan shows the areas along the BeltLine from Ponce to the Interstate (Subarea 6) that have been designated for increased density. The map on pg. 6 shows all of the areas along the Subarea 6 portion of the BeltLine that have land use and zoning already in place to allow for increased density (in Virginia-Highland, it’s the Ponce Place corridor and the area where the storage facility is located on the east side of 10th and Monroe).


In addition to the Subarea 6 Master Plan Map, this map shows the land use categories for all of Virginia-Highland:

The areas in brown along the BeltLine have been designated for Medium Density and High Density residential.  The area in bright yellow has a land use designation of “low density residential” and is zoned “RG-2,” so this area will accommodate increased density without any changes to land use and zoning.

  • Affordable Housing Component

The proposal submitted by Kegley/Fuqua to Invest Atlanta includes 30% affordable housing. Not only is affordable housing an important goal and welcomed by VHCA and the City of Atlanta, all rental developments as of January 1, 2018 in the BeltLine overlay district are required to have affordable housing.  Key components of affordable housing include the length of the term of the affordable housing and the income level used to measure the affordable cost of the unit. According to the AJC, Invest Atlanta “said it wanted a project that created long-term affordability, in excess of 50 years; the Fuqua plan calls for those affordable units to be available for 15 years, the minimum term.”

In accordance with Atlanta BeltLine policy – reaffirmed again in a meeting with the developer in February, 2018 – affordable housing can be built at the area of 10th and Monroe without removing any existing single-family housing at this or any other site along the BeltLine.

  • Traffic and Safety Issues at 10th and Monroe

10th and Monroe is one of the most dangerous intersections in the City of Atlanta. Two people were killed in a single quarter-mile section of the street in Virginia-Highland in the last few years and countless auto accidents have occured in a short half-mile stretch of Monroe.  10th and Monroe serves the BeltLine, Piedmont Park and Grady High School and has significant bike, pedestrian and car traffic. This extraordinarily complicated intersection poses significant challenges; increasing the volume of traffic in all types (pedestrian, cyclist, vehicular) is extremely problematic without significant modifications.  

  • Adhere to the design principles of the BeltLine Overlay and Redevelopment Plan

The BeltLine Redevelopment Plan states the following:

  • “preservation of existing single-family neighborhoods by providing appropriate transitions to higher-density uses” (p. 2)
  • “a majority of participants favoring the retention of this site (10th and Monroe) as greenspace” (p. 64)
  • “Buildings should also defer to the scale of adjacent single-family neighborhoods by decreasing in height and mass as the proximity increases.  A transitional height plane is recommended for all places where new development on the BeltLine approaches existing neighborhoods.”  Chapter 6, pg. 13).
  • “Buildings should not exceed 52 feet in height within 150 feet of single-family neighborhoods, and should step down in height corresponding to a 45 degree plan extending from 15 feet above the adjacent property line.”  (Chapter 7, pg. 16).

The proposed Kegley/Fuqua development contradicts all of these principles.

  • Other issues

There are many other issues raised related to this development that were raised at the Community Engagement meeting at Grady High School on April 10, 2018: green space, preservation of trees, route of future transit, capacity issues in the Grady cluster, location of transit stops, overshadowing Piedmont Park and comparison of other land purchases along the BeltLine and surrounding Piedmont Park to name a few.  

VHCA has been working with a professional planning consultant and a land use/zoning attorney for years on the potential development of 10th Street and Monroe.  These professionals have over 40 years combined experience on land use and zoning issues and will be a critical component of challenging the proposed rezoning of single-family land and this out-of-scale development.

VHCA will review these issues and the most effective way to respond to them in a meeting open to all at the Virginia-Highland Church on Thursday, April 19, at 7:00PM. We will provide an update on plans, listen to concerns and alternate approaches and will speak about process, strategy, next steps and how the neighborhood can assist and engage, both financially and in other ways.


PARENTS: Rising Kindergartener Information

Article submitted by Virginia-Highland Communications Committee

Information available for Kindergarten registration at both Springdale Park and Morningside

Are you are the parent of a rising kindergartener (starting school this fall)? Check out the links below for registration and information on getting your child enrolled at either Springdale Park or Morningside Elementary.

Springdale Park Elementary


For additional information on current school zones:

Morningside Elementary

Springdale Park Elementary 


Trees Atlanta: Yard Tree Program

Article submitted by Virginia-Highland Communications Committee

Free trees available for front, side and back yards to Va-Hi residents

Virginia-Highland is known for its tree-lined streets. But we’re losing the old growth quickly due
to the loss of old trees and so much new construction. Trees planted by residents in their yards are important in helping maintain our tree canopy, creating a healthier environment for all of us including the wildlife that calls Virginia-Highland home.

As a result of a supplement grant to the partnership between the City of Atlanta and Trees
Atlanta NeighborWoods program, Trees Atlanta can now, for the Virginia Highland
neighborhood, provide free trees for residents to plant in front, side and/or in the back yard of
their property. Typically Trees Atlanta provides trees for the right-of- ways/city property and the
front yards of homes.

Trees Atlanta staff will also come to your home and advise you on the best trees to plant,
placement and care. You can place your order at any time and Trees Atlanta will help decide the appropriate time to plant. Note the current Trees Atlanta application does not identify the
Virginia Highlands program so when contacted by Trees Atlanta, mention you are interested in
side and/or back yard trees.


Homeless/Unhoused Residents Public Session

District 6 Council Member Jennifer Ide has informed the Virginia-Highland Civic Association that she and her staff are organizing a community meeting open to all interested parties on the topic of homelessness/unhoused residents. Representatives from the City’s Office of Continuum of Care, Intown Collaborative Ministries, the Atlanta Police Department, the Solicitor and Public Defenders Office, The River at Virginia-Highland Church, mental health resources and other resources have been invited to an educational discussion to learn the facts about the laws, what the City is doing/has done since the closure of the Peachtree-Pine shelter, and what resources there are from the city as well as from non-profit groups to provide assistance.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 24th at 6pm at the Virginia-Highland Church, 743 Virginia Avenue NE.


Call for Volunteers – Summerfest

Article submitted by Steve Voichick, Summerfest Volunteer Coordinator

Be a part of the biggest event of the year!

As a resident of Virginia-Highland, you no doubt know that Summerfest is the largest fundraiser benefiting our neighborhood. Proceeds from the festival go directly to maintain, beautify and improve the safety of our community. Summerfest is also one of Atlanta’s oldest and most prestigious art and music festivals. We need your help to keep it that way. With the growing popularity of neighboring communities and the oversaturation of festivals and weekly road races, it gets tougher and tougher to stand out from the crowd. It’s essential that we do and it’s our volunteers that can make that happen.

Please consider giving back to your community by volunteering for one or more shifts (2-3 hours) and help make this year’s Summerfest one of the best ever. Volunteer opportunities are plentiful, supporting nearly all aspects of Summerfest including:

Summerfest Parade – it’s going to be SUPER!
Community Dinner and a Movie
5K Road Race and Tot-Trot
The Artist Market
Commemorative T-shirt Sales
Kidsfest – it’s not just for kids anymore.
Festival Set-up and Teardown
Surveying Attendees

Double the fun by signing up to volunteer with friends and family. Volunteers do not need to be residents of our neighborhood…the more the merrier. And don’t forget, all volunteers receive one of the coveted commemorative Summerfest t-shirts.

Don’t wait… sign up today using this link

Thank you for volunteering and being a part of an Atlanta tradition.


Best Summerfest Ever

Article submitted by Jenifer Keenan and Pamela Papner, Summerfest Co-Chairs

The countdown is on to Summerfest 2018; June 8-10

Summerfest is right around the corner and this year is shaping up to be the best Summerfest yet! We’ve brought back all of the favorites like top artists and fun cover bands for the music stage at the triangle, and lots of new things, including an expanded local market, adult big wheel races, a petting zoo and Xtreme Airballs for Kidsfest, and a few other surprises as well.

Everything kicks off Friday, June 8th with the Summerfest parade. This year’s theme is Super Heroes so kids (and adults!) can show off their super hero powers in their favorite super hero costumes. After the parade, we’ll have the Community Dinner for VaHi residents in John Howell Park followed by a showing of Guardians of the Galaxy 2!

The festivities continue bright and early on Saturday, June 9th with the Summerfest 5K race and tot trot. Sign-ups for the 5K, which is chip timed and a certified Peachtree Road Race qualifier, are available at https://endurancecui.active.com/event-reg/select-race?e=52227251and sign-ups for tot trot will be available at the Friday parade and community dinner and Saturday morning before the trot. Following the 5k and tot trot, we’ll have two full days of great artists and music on the stage at the triangle and the main stage at John Howell Park.

Come out and celebrate our amazing neighborhood on June 8 (community events), 9, & 10 at the best Summerfest yet! For more details, visit vahisummerfest.org


Peachtree State Champs!

Article submitted by Virginia-Highland Communications Committee

The Grady High School G3 Robotics team wins the Peachtree State Championship!

For the first time, Grady High School’s G3 Robotics Team won The Peachtree State Championship. The team ends state competition season with four blue banners including two qualifying tournaments wins and a qualifying Chairman’s Award. In addition, the team was honored twice with the Gracious Professionalism Award.

Grady travels to Houston April 18 – 21 to compete at the FIRST World Championship.

Congratulations, Grady!


Dude, its STILL only a mile!

The 8th annual running of the Morningside Mile on Sunday, March 25 attracted more than 600 registrants.  The day started out cold and rainy, but almost 500 intrepid souls finished the race, which is in fact, only a mile.

This year’s race marked the first year that MLPA and VHCA joined to raise funds and draw attention to the North Highland Commercial Corridor through our two historic neighborhoods.  To highlight the focus, this year’s race took place on N. Highland beginning at the YWCA with the finish line in front of Morningside Village.  As expected, thes gently sloping course lead to some lightning fast times.  The men’s overall winner came in under 5 minutes and the women’s overall was just over that mark!  Here’s a summary of the results:
Category Winner Time
Men’s Overall Doug Doblar 4:59
Women’s Overall Hannah Chappell-Dick 5:06
Men’s Masters Simon Angove 5:13
Women’s Masters Karin Dusenbury 7.06
Men’s &lt; 6 Dylan Clarence 8:34
Women’s &lt; 6 Eloise Nichols 8:31
Men’s 7-9 Lincoln Finley 8:05
Women’s 7-9 Chloe Dolas 7:36
Men’s 10-14 Will Hunter 6:43
Women’s 10-14 Ellie Spears 6:51
Men’s 15-19 Mathieu Kaufmann 5:51
Women’s 15-19 Kate Guensler 8:06
Men’s 20-29 Bryan Nonni 5:45
Women’s 20-29 Heather Yates 7:30
Men’s 30-39 Naveen Ramachandrappa 5:25
Women’s 30-39 Alison James 6:37
Men’s 40-49 Tim Langan 5:27
Women’s 40-49 Jen Heller 7:40
Men’s 50-59 Rob Pollock 5:49
Women’s 50-59 Kathleen McDavid Harrison 8:08
Men’s &gt;60 John Bacon 7:23
Women’s &gt;60 Sue Sawyer 11:52

Additional results are posted on the website, morningsidemile.com.  Runners were surprised by the t-shirts that sported the new name for the race—while the logo featured the iconic tag line, “Dude, it’s only a mile,” the name has been changed to the N. Highland Mile to draw attention to the race’s purpose.
Racers, spectators, and volunteers all enjoyed the activities at the Block Party. Face painting and balloon animals from Bubbles the clown, corn hole and giant soap bubbles from The Wish List, and making leashes from re-purposed climbing rope and learning about pet rescue from the Atlanta Rescue Dog Cafe. The most spectacular activity was racing adult big wheels, thanks to Atlanta’s Adult Big Wheel Club. Live music, DJ Tron, and Doc Chey’s noodle eating contest also entertained the crowd. The addition of a live band was a big hit with My Friend Ian’s Band taking the crowd on a walk through the 70s, 80s, and 90s.

Historically the commercial corridor along N. Highland was the lifeblood of our neighborhoods with vibrant restaurants, retail, and services catering to both residents and visitors from all over the city.  In recent years, as new landmarks have been created along the beltline, N. Highland’s popularity has been eclipsed—MLPA and VHCA are working to bring resources and attention back to the heart of our communities.  This first race and block party put us well on our way, raising funds that will go back into our neighborhood.

Besides the runners, the volunteers that gave so generously of their time were also recognized for their efforts.  Besides receiving some of the coveted t-shirts, they were entered into a drawing for door prizes.  Congratulations to Gigi, Anguelyca, and Devon, the winners of the door prizes!

Our thanks also go out to our generous sponsors for the race and block party– presenting sponsors,
Engel &amp; Voelkers and Homegrown Restaurants (Doc Chey’s, Dragon Bowl, &amp; Osteria); hosts Neighbor’s
Pub and Sweetwater Brewing; benefactors El Taco, FIT Learning, JW Ayers Plumbing,  Morningside
Pediatric Dentistry, Fontaine’s, Highland Tap, Phidippides, Pierce Chiropractic Center, Replenish, Sprouts
Farmers Market, and The Great Frame Up; and contributors Alon’s, Atkins Park Tavern, Highland Real
Estate, Homestead Realtors, Kale Me Crazy, Midtown Butcher Shoppe, Morningstar Storage, and Warren
City Club.  Please thank the businesses that support our neighborhood by visiting them often.


City of Atlanta to Offer Loans for Home Repairs

Invest Atlanta and the City of Atlanta Department of City Planning have launched a deferred forgivable loan program that provides up to $30,000 to eligible homeowners for health and safety repairs on their home. Find more information in this flyer.

Meet with City representatives on Monday, March 26th from 11:30 until 4:00 pm at the Ponce de Leon Library or on Tuesday, March 27th from 10:00 until 3:30. Representatives will also make an appointment to meet individually at home.


We have learned that there is a public meeting on April 14th about the program. Please note that applications are accepted as early as 4/4/18 and will be time-stamped...the meeting is much later than that date, so please consider meeting with a representative next week at the library.

Peachtree Hills Recreation Center
308 Peachtree Hills Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30305


VaHi Neighbors organize for Progress and Equity

Article submitted by Shannon G., Co-Founder of N.O.P.E

Virginia-Highland, like so many neighborhoods across Atlanta and the country, has a racial profiling problem, particularly on our online community forums. On Nextdoor, a social media site that purports to connect neighbors, people of color are criminalized regularly for offenses such as walking with a camera around their neck, circling the block in their vehicle, or as VHCA board member, Stefanie Roberts, experienced last summer, strolling through our neighborhood with an out of town guest. (For a deeper understanding of the effects of racial profiling, check out this article written by a local Atlanta teen)

After Stefanie bravely shared her disturbing encounter on Nextdoor, nine neighbors came together that very night to offer Stefanie, her husband and her 10-year-old son support. We heard her account first hand, and the group, the majority of whom were people of color, shared their own experiences of racism living in our predominantly white neighborhood.

From this spontaneous community meeting, Neighbors Organizing for Progress and Equity (N.O.P.E.) was born. N.O.P.E is a multi-racial group of neighbors whose mission is to promote and build authentic community in Virginia-Highland through the centering of equity and justice.

Our vision is to build towards a Virginia-Highland that seeks out and amplifies underrepresented voices in our community. To date, we have hosted a Get Out the Vote community event that helped elect two people of color to the VHCA for the first time in the board’s history, we’ve hosted an anti-bias training with the Anti-Defamation League and there is much more to come.

If you are interested in engaging with neighbors around issues of equity and justice in Virginia-Highland, please join us! You can find us on Facebook here or you can email us at nope.vahi@gmail.com.



City Announces Placemaking Program at N Highland and Amsterdam Ave

Representatives from the City of Atlanta’s Department of City Planning, Office of Mobility Planning have informed the Virginia-Highland Civic Association along with the landlord and business owners along the business node at Amsterdam and N Highland regarding a placemaking project at this intersection. For those unfamiliar, placemaking is a multi-faceted approach to planning, design and management of a space with the intention of creating more usable public spaces (and intersections, in this case) that are attractive to people because they are ideally both more pleasurable and often times more interesting. This is a conscious design principle that involves designing streets as comfortable and safe places for everyone—for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as drivers. Placemaking projects and parklets have sprung up in cities like Phoenix, Philadelphia, Oakland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Seattle and San Diego, among others.

A draft rendition of the City’s current plan is here. The last drawing includes the latest contemplated design with callouts and dimensions. As seen in the imagery, design elements under consideration include the installation of several new painted ‘bulb-outs’ for traffic calming purposes, a 3D-painted crosswalk and a decorative crosswalk for enhanced visibility and safety, and a parklet along N Highland with amenities such as movable furniture, outdoor lighting, planters and an umbrella.

The City selected this location as one of the first to deploy in the city because it is a part of a thriving neighborhood retail corridor that has foot traffic, has transit adjacency, is easily usable (because of the amount of concrete/width of the intersection), and has no metered parking.

The implementation of placemaking generally can be broken down into three essential parts:

  • The first element is creating safe, visible crosswalks. Under consideration is installation of a 3D-painted crosswalk south of Mali restaurant on Amsterdam and a restriping of the western north-south crosswalk on N Highland with decorative painting,
  • The second element of placemaking here would highly contribute to the safety and ease of pedestrian crossing. Under consideration are painted bulb-outs on both western-side corners of the intersection. Bulb-outs are a curb-extension that serves as a traffic calming measure, primarily used to extend the sidewalk, reduce the crossing distance and allow for both pedestrians about to cross and approaching vehicular drivers to see each other better (when vehicles parked in a parking lane would otherwise block visibility, as exists today).
  • The third element of placemaking here provides the passerby and users of surrounding commercial districts a place of refuge and social engagement. Under consideration is a parklet (a sidewalk extension that provides more space and amenities for people using the street) along N Highland with amenities like movable furniture, outdoor lighting, planters and an umbrella.

An overall timeline for commencement is forthcoming but is anticipated to occur in the March/April timeframe.

The Department of City Planning invites you to attend our Placemaking Program Question and Answer Meeting.

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018


Downtown Central Library

(One Margaret Mitchell Square, Atlanta, GA 30303).

Snacks will be provided! This meeting is an opportunity to learn more and ask questions about the Placemaking Program and the upcoming application.

Article submitted by David Brandenberger, VHCA Board of Director Chair


Virginia-Highland Church supports Homeless Neighbors

Do you like hiking? How do you feel about taking a 7-mile hike? How do feel about adding 5-15 pounds in your backpack with toiletries, a sleeping bag, and a couple changes of clothes? How do you feel about doing that hike every single day?

This hike is, for many of our neighbors, a reality as they walk from place to place seeking shelter from the ever-changing Atlanta weather, trying to find a place to clean up, or trying to find a place to rest. Many of our neighbors experiencing homelessness have lived in this area for many years, some for even decades, and yet, we don’t know their names, refuse to see their faces, and prefer to fear them and further alienate them. The challenges of living in the streets are many – some of them obvious, and some of them not-so-obvious – and compassion is hardly ever found.

Virginia-Highland Church has a rich history, rooted in the pursuit of justice and the love for all those who walk and don’t walk through our doors. We are proud of this history regardless of the many times it has caused tension with the larger community. We are committed to love all and we believe there can be no love without justice.

The River, a ministry of Virginia-Highland Church seeks to address both the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness and the systemic causes of homelessness through a clothing closet, education, volunteer opportunities, and advocacy. Week after week, I am amazed by the work of our congregation and our partner organizations: men and women gather to make sleeping mats out of reused grocery bags, put together hygiene kits, make meals for women in a transitional home, write letters to city council members, visit lawmakers at the capitol during the legislative session to discuss the topic, volunteer in a myriad of non-profits, and seek to continuously learn from our brothers and sisters living in the streets of Atlanta. We offer educational and volunteer opportunities for all who seek to walk side by side with our friends experiencing homelessness and we are delighted to welcome Rev. Matt Laney, whose ministry has been characterized by an incessant work for justice, as our senior pastor.

In a city and a country that seem more and more polarized over political and economic views, Virginia-Highland Church members are trying to love all and serve all as we follow our mission to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly” with God.

I invite you to get to know your neighbors. All your neighbors. Hear their stories, their struggles, and hopes. There is much life and wisdom and laughter to share. And if that is too much to ask, I invite you to take a moment and share a good thought, full of love and compassion, with anyone who crosses your path. That can make all the difference in the world for someone.

Submitted by Rev. Claudia Aguilar Rubalcava, Pastor for Justice and Witness, Virginia-Highland Church



From Rockets to Robots: Grady’s Robotics Team

“We envision a world where STEM leaders are heroes and role models.” That’s the start of the shared vision of the Grady High robotics team, also known as G3. Folks talk a lot about the incredible Speech and Debate team, or the great Journalism program, but did you know that Grady’s G3 is one of the best robotics programs in the state?

Now in their 14th year, the program has grown from 10 students to over 50 with volunteer mentors from Georgia Tech, MailChimp, local engineering firms, and beyond. The team is more diverse than you might imagine with over 25% of the team being young women and almost 35% minority involvement. Glancing at the photo, you’ll probably recognize many of the kids as Mary Lin alums. If you think robotics is a “boys club,” know that this year’s team captain is Hannah Prausnitz-Weinbaum from Inman Park.

So what exactly does a robotics team do? The primary goal is to design, engineer, and build a robot that can perform specific required tasks. In the past, the tasks have included scooping up items from the field, shooting items from an air cannon into a target, unloading gears from its own deck onto hooks and even climbing a rope! This takes many dedicated hours from teammates creating CAD drawings, using shop tools to create the robot, and programming the mainframe so that the robot can be “driven” by someone.

What about kids who aren’t so technically inclined? Well, there’s a NEO crew of students who represent the Non-Engineering Operations. This group manages the marketing of the team, maintains the website, handles social media, creates newsletters, scouts other teams at the competition, and develops the very important Team Spirit documents. A competition isn’t just about having robots battle robots. Judges receive presentations from each team about how and why they operate, as well as what each robotics team does to serve their community. These are some of the most prestigious awards given at local, regional, and national competition.

Not only do they travel to competitions (at least 3 a year), but G3 does a HUGE amount of community service each year. Through hosting the First Lego League competition at Grady, the G3 team brings together over 50 area elementary school Lego robotics teams for a day of challenges.

For the middle school students, G3 created Drones for Good. This is another day-long competition where students work with their mentors and teachers to develop an innovative drone-based solution to a problem in their community, state, or the world. Over 60 teams from across metro Atlanta build and fly their own K’Nex based drones. G3 students support and guide these teams as they put their drones through their paces at Grady.

G3 Robotics believes that it’s not enough to promote STEM education alone. As they focus on building programs in each APS elementary, middle, and high school, they keep equity in mind. They continue to promote females, minorities, and the socio-economically disadvantaged in all their work. G3 hopes to build a stronger, healthier STEM community in Atlanta, and the world.

As part of the Atlanta Science Festival, held at Piedmont Park this year, G3 will be hosting a Drones for Good event in the Grady High School cafeteria on Saturday, March 10th from 9am – 2pm. The event is free and family-friendly, so come build your own drone and get a glimpse into this exciting STEM based program. Find the full #ATLSciFest schedule and event details here: http://bit.ly/AtlSciFest. To learn more about Grady Robotics visit the team website at www.G3robotics.com.

Team Members – 51
Drones For Good Teams – 60
Lego Robotics Events Hosted – 14
Female Team Members – 28%
Minority Team Members – 35%
College Graduation Rate – 99%
Community Service Hours – 6,263
Habitat for Humanity Builds – 4
Elementary Science Nights – 20

Past Mary Lin elementary students pictured are L to R: Diego Gonzalez, Forest Dynes, Swagatam Das, Deacon Baker, Karl Haddock, Cate Crutcher, Jack Labadia, Hannah Prausnitz-Weinbaum, Sam Castellano, Jake Willoughby, Owen Hawke

Article submitted byBoyd Baker


Inman Middle School Supply Drive

Inman Homeless/Transitional Kids School Supply Drive

There are 50+ Inman Middle School students currently living in temporary housing/shelters – not to mention many who are living below the poverty line. Their backpacks get stolen from shelters; they’re hungry, they need your help. Inman is able to provide these lower-income students with essential school supplies throughout the year thanks to the generous contributions of our community.  Right now we have some key supplies needed to support these kids as well as a special after school study program.  Anything you can do to support these kids is a huge help, freeing up the school to use funding to support SCHOOL needs.

Please drop off or ship directly to Inman, attention “SUPPLY DRIVE”

Samuel M. Inman Middle School

774 Virginia Avenue, NE

Atlanta, GA 30306


In addition, if you have books you want to donate, no need to sign up — just drop them off and know that your kindness is truly appreciated!



Safety Committee Meeting Scheduled for March 3

The VHCA Safety Committee will hold a meeting on Saturday, March 3rd at 10 am at Church of Our Saviour Pettway Hall. The agenda will include a review of our Street Captains responsibilities, upcoming Safety Committee events and a guest speaker; Lee Reid, who will speak about the new Atlanta Citizen Review Board (ACRB) mediation program.  All are welcome to attend.

Samuel L. Reid is Executive Director of the Atlanta Citizen Review Board (ACRB).  The ACRB is an independent investigative agency of the City of Atlanta. The agency is charged with receiving, investigating, mediating, and adjudicating citizen complaints against Atlanta police and corrections officers. Our aim is fairness, objectivity, and transparency.

Recently, the ACRB began operation of a mediation program that provides an opportunity for citizens and officers to meet face-to-face and discuss the citizen’s concerns regarding a recent incident that occurred between them in a supportive, safe and neutral environment.

Safety Committee Meeting

When: Saturday, March 3rd at 10 am

Where:  Church of Our Saviour Pettway Hall (church is at N. Highland and Los Angeles and the Pettway Hall entrance is on Los Angeles).


Shape Up for Spring & Improve North Highland

With warmer weather around the corner, swimsuit season can’t be far behind. This year there is no better way to prepare than by getting in shape for the Morningside Mile, Sunday, March 25 at 2:00 PM. This year’s race is bigger and better than ever, so register now to ensure your spot and t-shirt!

The exceptional one-mile race features cash prizes, drawing competitors from across the region. For 2018, we’re adding chip timing to deliver more precise results and a new ‘Just for Fun’ Half-Mile to launch the after party. If you’re not a competitive runner, there is still something for you. The race features several waves:

  • Competitive Runner—under 7-minute mile
  • Recreational Runner—more than 7-minute mile
  • Families & Walkers—more casual striders, families with strollers, kids under 15, and walkers
  • Just for Fun Half-Mile—this new category, created especially for kids and families will follow the police motorcycle after the last racers. Open to kids accompanied by an adult guardian, pets and bikes/scooters/strollers.

MLPA has joined with VHCA on the race and party that will raise funds to reinvigorate the North Highland Corridor through our historic neighborhoods. The race course has changed so that it follows North Highland from the start near the YWCA at 957 N. Highland to Morningside Village—times should be even more competitive over this gently rolling course with minimal elevation gain.

Not into fitness—no problem! The Morningside Mile has something for you too–immediately after the race we’ll gather in the Morningside Village (1424 N. Highland) parking lot near Doc Chey’s for an awesome ROCK THE BLOCK PARTY! Just follow the runners, decorated bikes, and strollers or meet us at Morningside Village for an awesome party to raise funds. There will be beer from our sponsors, Sweetwater Brewing, along with a Doc Chey’s Noodle Eating contest, live music from My Friend Ian’s Band, and activities for the entire family.

Volunteers are needed—in exchange for a two hour shift, all volunteers receive a free t-shirt so sign up now for the best slots!

MLPA and VHCA thanks the presenting sponsors, Engel & Voelkers and Homegrown Restaurants (Doc Chey’s, Dragon Bowl, & Osteria); hosts Neighbor’s Pub and Sweetwater Brewing; benefactors Fifth Group/El Taco, FIT Learning, JW Ayers Plumbing, Nightcap Food & Spirits (Fontaine’s & Highland Tap) Pierce Chiropractic Center, Replenish, Sprouts Farmers Market, and The Great Frame Up; and contributors Atkins Park Tavern, Highland Real Estate, and Warren City Club. Please thank the businesses that support our neighborhood by visiting them often.


Save the date for Summerfest

Summerfest 2018 is right around the corner!  All of your favorites – including wonderful artists, great music, the 5k race, and the Friday community dinner, movie and kids parade – will all be back for our 35th Annual Summerfest.  In addition to all of your returning favorites, we have some new and exciting things up our sleeve.  

Summerfest will be on the second weekend of June (June 9 and 10), which provides time to enjoy Memorial Day/end of school year vacations before rushing back to VaHi to experience one of the best festivals in Atlanta!  

As new information becomes available, we’ll post it to vahisummerfest.org, so be sure to check there for more details.  In the meantime, if you would like help with the Summerfest organizing committee, you can email us at:  summerfestinfo@vahi.org


Morningside Mile Returns for 2018 at 2:00 PM, Sunday, March 25

If you’re among the faithful that perennially run the Morningside Mile, there’s good news.  After attaining their fundraising goal to renovate Fire Station 19, Rich Chey who founded the race has turned over the reins to the Morningside Lenox Park Associations (MLPA) and Virginia-Highland Civic Association (VHCA).

While Rich Chey will stay involved, the two neighborhood associations are organizing the race with a new focus. Plans are to use the funds raised to make improvements to the commercial corridor along North Highland spanning both neighborhoods. To highlight the change in focus, the course will follow N. Highland from the YWCA to Morningside Village—but don’t worry, it’s still only a mile. It’s the only competitive one-mile race that has cash prizes and great SWAG, so go to morningsidemile.com to learn more and sign up.

Runners will be followed by walkers, strollers and a bicycle procession that ends up at a block party in the Morningside Village parking lot.  Get creative and plan your decoration for your bike or stroller.  There will be prizes for the best designs.

Everyone is invited to the block party featuring a live band, dancing, beer, drinks, and activities for all ages.  Food will be available from local restaurants.  So make plans now to attend the best party of the Spring with the best neighbors in Atlanta, Sunday, March 25, after the race-7:00 PM.

Volunteers are needed to help with the event!

By Marti Breen, MLPA Board Member



Update on Proposed Development at 10th and Monroe

Invest Atlanta voted on December 21, 2017 to support the sale of BeltLine land near 10th and Monroe. The $166 million proposed development from Fuqua Development LP that was submitted with the bid to purchase the land consists of:

  • 11 story hotel (150 rooms)
  • 351 residential units (with 30% affordable units)
  • 1 story grocery store (20,000 sq ft)
  • Restaurant space (15,000 sq ft)
  • 745 parking spaces

The development would encompass the land sold by the BeltLine as well as land on Monroe and Cresthill that is zoned single-family and has a land use designation of single-family.

A summary of the Invest Atlanta meeting, VHCA’s letter to Invest Atlanta, and letters from then Councilmember Elect Jennifer Ide and then Councilmember Alex Wan are included below.

VHCA is closely monitoring this project and is working with all interested stakeholders to insist that any proposed development reflect the concerns and input of Virginia-Highland and surrounding neighborhoods. These efforts are being coordinated through VHCA’s Planning Committee (email: planning@vahi.org) and will involve not only members of the VHCA Planning Committee, but input and guidance from both the professional planner and the land-use attorney who have advised VHCA over the years. We will continue to provide updates as things evolve and progress.


Submitted by Lola Carlisle, VHCA Planning Committee


2017 Tour of Homes – Another Great Celebration of VaHi

What a stellar celebration of VaHi  this year’s Tour of Homes was! The weather was perfect and eight wonderful homeowners offered us their heartfelt hospitality.  We hope everyone discovered a new favorite restaurant or two after sampling this year’s tasty food offerings. Over 250 volunteers pitched in to help make it the most successful Tour to date, with approximately $82,000 in gross proceeds. The Tour’s popularity has grown consistently; it has raised over $350,000 for the neighborhood over the last five years.

Of course, when you have a successful effort like this, there are a great number people who need to be thanked, starting with, the homeowners for being hosts and hostesses to us – what’s a home tour without homes?   The SPARK Choir provided great holiday music during the event. We are also very grateful to our advertising and restaurant sponsors who continue to be so generous each year. Many thanks to all those who volunteered throughout the weekend and to the House Captains who managed the volunteers in each home. We also want to specifically thank Alon’s Bakery & Market, who donated their scrumptious cookies when we had a last minute restaurant vacancy occur.  Many of you knew at the first bite who baked those cookies!

The Tour of Homes Committee works throughout the year in order to organize the Tour. I would like to thank them for all their efforts.


  • Home Selection: Kara Stringer, Jeannie Lightsey, Mary Hallenberg, Pam Bullock, and Rebekah Loveless
  • PR:  Kitsy Rose PR
  • Restaurants: JoAnn Zyla, Alison Hutton, and Peter Harrell
  • Volunteers: Eleanor Barrineau and Karen Murphree
  • Graphic Design: Lori Z Joslyn
  • Website: Centner Consulting
  • Tour Operations:  Sean Davey, Cherry Frederick, Holle Gilbert and Kevin Esch
  • Signage and Flocking: Holle Gilbert, Rebekah Loveless, Jenifer Keenan and Kevin Esch
  • Sponsorship: Jenifer Keenan


Once again, our shuttle service featured trolleys that were a throwback to the 9-Mile Trolley days of a century ago. Finally, some of you gained insight about what made each home unique through audio podcasts that were available as part of the Tour for the first time. 

Looking ahead to the 2018 Tour of Homes

If you really enjoyed the Tour this year or would like to be part of an effort that raises needed funding for our neighborhood, you may want to note that our 25th Tour will be on December 1-2, 2018. We’d love to have you join our Tour of Homes team!

Or, maybe you’d like to feature your home on next year’s tour!  Believe it or not, we start our search for next year’s participants in February.  Here’s what one of our homeowners said about participating in this year’s event.  “It was such a great experience. I’m so glad I did it. I met so many wonderful neighbors, and I finally got some stuff finished around the house that I had been wanting to do.  There was so much support from everyone involved.”

Contact next year’s Tour Chair, Chase Johnson at chasevhca@gmail.com if you have an interest.

Submitted by Robin Ragland, Tour of Homes Chair


Atlanta City Council passes Monumental Affordable Housing Policy

On November 20, the Atlanta City Council unanimously approved legislation championed by Councilmember Andre Dickens that will require developers building new residential rental units near the BeltLine to set aside a portion of those apartments for low and moderate-income renters. The policy specifically requires that either 10% of the apartments be affordable to renters earning up to 60% of Area Median Income (AMI) or that 15% of the apartments be affordable to renters earning up to 80% of that number. Developers also have the option to pay a fee in-lieu of providing affordable apartments in their development—the cost of the fee varies depending on the location along the BeltLine (and the funds collected will be used to develop affordable housing within the same area). Under federal guidelines, affordability is defined as 30% of a household’s monthly income. For example, an apartment affordable to a 2-person household earning 60% of Area Median Income would need to rent for $930 or less.  (See Income Limit table below for more detail).

Inclusionary Zoning policies can be complex and technical, but they are one of the many tools that city governments can use to create affordable housing options in high-cost areas. As all Virginia-Highland residents know, the BeltLine has been an impetus of change across the city and has invited new investments into our communities. While these changes are exciting and offer residents new amenities and opportunities for recreation, they cause an upward pressure on housing prices and rental rates, making it difficult for everyone to benefit from this public amenity. The Atlanta BeltLine is a public investment that all neighborhoods bought into, and all neighborhoods and neighbors have a right to live along it.  Councilmember Andre Dickens’ legislation is the first step towards ensuring that affordable housing options remain available in these communities.

This legislation will impact Virginia-Highland directly particularly as new development comes to the Ponce de Leon Place corridor. All residential developments in the “BeltLine Overlay District”—a corridor extending about a half-mile in each direction from the trail—that comply with the affordability requirement are entitled to a 15% density bonus, are exempt from minimum parking requirements for residential development, and receive priority review of their permit applications, among other incentives.

Atlanta is one of hundreds of cities that has implemented Inclusionary Zoning across the country, but is one of the first in the Southeast to successfully pass such an ordinance. This is a significant achievement for our changing city, but it is only the first step to ensuring a neighborhood and city that are affordable to all.

Atlanta’s Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning ordinance was recommended unanimously by all Neighborhood Planning Units (NPU) in the city, including NPU-F. For more information about this ordinance see: http://andredickens.com/atlanta-city-council-approves-landmark-mandatory-inclusionary-zoning-legislation/ or http://www.reporternewspapers.net/2017/11/21/atlanta-city-council-passes-beltline-inclusionary-

Submitted by Emma Tinsley, VHCA Board Member


Santa and Snow in North Highland Park!

When we originally made plans for the Holiday Extravaganza event on December 9 in North Highland Park, we didn’t think it would turn out to be an event that featured SNOW! It was unexpected, but it contributed to a truly special day for about 100 residents who came by to take photos with Santa and get into the holiday spirit. Thanks to Stefanie Roberts for organizing this year’s event.

Snow brings out the kid in all of us, so it’s not surprising that both the big and small kids that made the trek to the park had a blast playing in the snow. Even their fury friends got in on the fun. All were careful to avoid hitting Santa with snowballs, though. No one wanted to get on the naughty list that close to the big day!

Everyone also enjoyed making ornaments and hanging them on the Christmas tree donated by Barefoot Mountain Trees at Inman Middle School. The neighbors stayed warm by drinking hot apple cider donated by Atkins Park, warm cocoa donated by Ten Thousand Villages, and cookies from Alon’s Bakery.

We hope you’ll join us next year at what is sure to become an annual favorite!  

Submitted by: Robin Ragland


Park Pride Community Building Grant Project Update

We appreciate the remarks from of our neighbors about the significant improvements over the past two months at John Howell Memorial Park. This project was based on a matching grant that the Parks Committee successfully submitted to Park Pride that was approved by City of Atlanta Parks Design Committee. The Virginia-Highland Civic Association provided half the funding, and the results are quite visible.

Like Nu Construction (photos below) worked diligently (with guidance from original park landscape architect Peter Frawley of Frawley Associates) to execute and deliver on several key deliverables. In addition to completing the original brick paver pathway from the Barnett eastern entrance to the park to the path exit on Virginia (more than 1,230 square foot of pavers, some of them engraved by donors), Eddie Sumlin and the Like Nu team built a 300-linear foot granite seat wall along Virginia Avenue to tie in with the I-485 homestead markers that represent the homes in that area taken down by the old Georgia Highway Department. Otherwork has included repainting 5 utility electrical boxes and also re-grading multiple non-ADA compliant cement walkways near the Phoenix sculpture to make those both safer and consistent with today’s standards.

Six new trees—the park’s first pine trees in many years—are in place. Additional landscaping work and perennial plantings have also been installed by Walter Bland of Rock Springs Farm. The plant choices and the installation’s design will significantly reduce erosion onto the streets and sidewalks and simplify and reduce the area’s routine maintenance.

Submitted by David Brandenberger, President and Parks Committee Chair


Virginia-Highland Resident Provides Gift to Plant Yard Trees

Our friends at Trees Atlanta have let us know that a generous neighbor, who would like to remain anonymous, has provided a gift of trees for the neighborhood—free trees that can be planted in your yard! What a wonderful gift for all of us.

Many of us are familiar with the NeighborWoods program through tree plantings here in Virginia-Highland. Supporting Trees Atlanta’s primary mission, the program seeks to replenish and sustain the tree canopy in our neighborhoods by planting street trees in the public right-of-way between the sidewalk and the curb.

The Yard Tree Program is an extension of that initiative, which provides for planting trees in front yards across the city. These trees are made available through a partnership between the City of Atlanta and the NeighborWoods program, and are a way to plant new native trees as we lose some of our more mature hardwoods to age and weather.

Our anonymous donor’s gift extends that opportunity even further. Alex Beasley, NeighborWoods Program Manager for Trees Atlanta and an I.S.A. Certified Arborist, said, “The only difference with this gift from the standard yard tree program is that the trees are not limited to front yards. We’re of course happy to come consult with folks if they are unsure of placement, or species selection.”

Follow this link to learn more about the program and to request your trees. Trees Atlanta staff will identify requests from Virginia-Highland and know that more flexibility in placement is permitted due to the generous gift.

Submitted by Kay Stephenson, VHCA Board Member




General Board Meeting

Monday, January 8, 2018; 7:00 PM

Grace Lutheran Church

1155 N. Highland Avenue


VHCA Directors:  David Brandenberger, Chase Johnson, Jenifer Keenan, Simon Lee, Barry Loudis, Steve Messner, Troy Murray, Stefanie Roberts, Kay Stephenson, George Zirkel, Emma Tinsley (alternate)

Call to order: 7:00 p.m. – David Brandenberger

Adoption of agenda

Approval of minutes from November Board Meeting as distributed

Atlanta Police Department – Recognized Upon Arrival

Elected Public Officials & Municipal Representatives

Other Guests:

Old Business

Planning Committee

  • Variances – None
  • 10th and Monroe– Jenifer & Barry

Sidewalk and Transportation Committee  – Troy

Budget Committee/Treasurer’s Report  – George

  • $20,000 donation to the VHCL to be used as a Principal Paydown on the loan for NHP

Parks Committee – David

Fundraising Committee

  • Tour of Homes- volunteer recap jan 29
  • Summerfest – Jenifer & George
  • Morningside Mile – George, Steve, Kay, Stefanie
  • Lantern Parade – George, Steve, Kay
  • Other Events – Stefanie

Safety Committee– Kay

Communications Committee – Emma

Old Business

  • David to draft proposed changes to the bylaws or a new policy statement to address contractual, financial or legal obligation approval requirements for items both in and out of the approved and adopted budget of the VHCA.
  • District 6 funds
    • $15,000 for NHP
    • $2,500 for Master Plan
    • $55,000 for Other Projects [when are we going to talk about how we vote on what gets funded]

New Business

Announcements/Calendar: (All meetings are public)

  • NPU-F Monthly Meeting at Hillside: January 15, 2018
  • VHCA Planning Committee at Ponce de Leon Branch Library:  February 7, 2018 7 pm
  • VHCA General and Board Meeting at Grace Lutheran: February 12, 2018  7 pm




UPDATE: VHCA Official Response to Proposed Development at 10th and Monroe

Invest Atlanta voted today (December 21, 2017) to support the sale of BeltLine land near 10th and Monroe.  The $166 million proposed development from Fuqua that was submitted with the bid to purchase the land consists of:
11 story hotel (150 rooms)
351 residential units (with 30% affordable units)
1 story grocery store (20,000 sq ft)
Restaurant space (15,000 sq ft)
745 parking spaces
The development would encompass the land sold by the BeltLine as well as land on Monroe and Cresthill that is zoned single-family and has a land use designation of single-family.
Invest Atlanta did not allow public comment before their vote.  All but two Invest Atlanta board members – Julian Bene and Bill Bozarth – supported the matter. Bene noted that he and previous IA Board member Kirk Rich had campaigned to have IA approve development goals for the parcel before the RFP went out to bid, and to make compliance with those goals part of the approval criteria.  That did not happen, though some IA board members subsequently agreed in open discussion that the idea had merit. 
IA made public comments the very last agenda item, after the vote.  Mayor Reed left the meeting before the public comments.  When comments were allowed, Councilwoman-Elect Jennifer Ide, members of the VHCA Planning Committee and VHCA Board, and residents from Virginia-Highland and Midtown emphasized disappointment with the lack of community input before the vote and the need for robust community engagement moving forward.  Councilmember-Elect Jennifer Ide and Councilmember Wan also submitted a letter to Invest Atlanta requesting that the vote be delayed until there was an opportunity for community input.  Councilmember-Elect Matt Westmoreland also attended the meeting.   
Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong, who is on the Invest Atlanta board, noted that this is the start of what is envisioned as a nine-month process and that proposed rezoning and land use changes will ultimately be voted upon by City Council. She and other members of Council expect a “robust community engagement process.” She was joined by several other members of the IA Board in emphasizing that the specifics of this development were “not set in stone” and could change dramatically. BeltLine CEO Brian McGowan agreed; the developer, Jeff Fuqua, and Jim Kegley, the owner of the single family homes on Cresthill and Monroe that are contemplated as part of the development,  said they were willing to consider many options and uses.
The drawings the developer submitted, which were noted to be “renderings only,” may be seen at IA’s website.  (https://www.boarddocs.com/ga/investatlanta/Board.nsf/files/AU9MR75C6628/$file/1016%20Monroe%20Award%20Fact%20Sheet%20v8%2012.20.17.pdf)  Given the assurances offered following the vote by Invest Atlanta, we accept the ‘rendering only’ concept’ at face value and will therefore not comment now about the absence of single-family residential and along Cresthill or the failure to take into account the single family home on Cresthill that is  not owned by Kegley. 
The letter that VHCA submitted to Invest Atlanta is included below.  VHCA will continue to partner with NPU-F and surrounding neighborhoods to insist on a meaningful public input process and will keep the community updated on the dates of community input meetings and the status of this project. 
______________________________ ___
Dear Dr. Klementich and Invest Atlanta Board Members,
With zero public notice and zero public input on content, the Invest Atlanta board is about to become a partner in a contract conditioned on replacing single-family land use designations and single-family zoning classifications with high density commercial and multi-family development in the Virginia-Highland National Register Historic District. These proposed changes are inconsistent with the city’s adopted CDP, the neighborhood’s City Council-adopted Master Plan, and the City Council-adopted BeltLine Subarea 6 Master Plan for this area. All of these public policy documents have supported the preservation of the historic single-family fabric of the Virginia-Highland neighborhood, which this contract proposal clearly disregards.
The consequences of this proposed development have not been examined and are not yet known.   In this circumstance, IA’s most minimal obligations are to educate itself about what existing City policies are in place in this neighborhood and what challenges its own proposal will cause.  IA should hear the recommendations and concerns of the city’s Planning Department, the Atlanta Public School System, and municipal agencies like Renew Atlanta who have active plans in this corridor.  It should also inform and consult with the impacted neighborhoods.
I.   Inconsistencies with the BeltLine Subarea 6 Plan and Redevelopment Plan
There has not been any analysis on whether this proposed development is consistent with the policies and goals articulated in the BeltLine Redevelopment Plan and BeltLine Subarea 6 Master Plan.
The BeltLine Subarea 6 Master Plan has the following statements about this area:
“Due to the wide variety of opinions regarding use and density in this area, and the fact that any redevelopment proposals seeking a change in the current zoning must engage the community via the standard public process, this master plan solely focuses on safety, transit, and open space considerations and reflects current in-place zoning.”  (p. 9)
“Design in Subarea 6 should reflect the goal of blending with existing neighborhoods, each of which has a distinctive character.  To achieve context sensitivity, design should follow a series of guiding principles that reflect the diverse character of study area surroundings.  Design efforts in historic settings should also be carefully coordinated with the City’s BeltLine planners and Atlanta Urban Design Commission to uphold standards of appropriateness.”  (p. 17).
The Atlanta BeltLine Redevelopment Plan also contains important statements about this area: “…  a majority of participants favoring the retention of this site as greenspace linking the 10th Street transit stop and plaza with Piedmont Park” and “low-density residential use supported by neighborhood retail.”  (p. 64).
The neighborhoods and NPU-F participated in good faith in the BeltLine Subarea 6 Master Plan.  The neighborhoods’ input during the process resulted in no suggested changes to the land use at 10th and Monroe.  The significant development and land use changes contemplated in IA’s contract are contrary to the representations that were made to the neighborhoods and City Council when they voted to adopt the Subarea 6 Plan.  Development that has not been discussed with any of the surrounding neighborhoods flies in the face of the neighborhoods’ participation and support for the Subarea 6 plan.
II.     Affordable Housing and Planned Growth
We are advocates of affordable housing and we welcome planned growth. We formally inventoried the neighborhood’s multi-family housing in 2012 and protected it in the 2014 Master Plan.  Parts of Virginia-Highland are already zoned for more density, and we embrace such planned outcomes.
At this exact site, we worked very cooperatively for three months in 2014 with the property owner and his then-development partner Carter.  The final concepts of that effort – which was abandoned because the very land under consideration was not awarded to the Carter team – preserved the single-family status of Cresthill on the northern boundary and would today produce far more affordable units than the non-residential uses now being put forth.
III.   Preservation of existing single-family zoning
The preservation of existing single-family zoning boundaries is a major topic here and in many Atlanta neighborhoods.
The proposed land use and zoning changes have the obvious capacity to further erode the single-family regulations that are in place for the remaining areas of the neighborhood next to and around this site. Any agreement that allows replacing existing single-family homes with multi-family housing should provide stringent new zoning regulations to prevent such a pattern from repeating itself on the next block.
Endangering nearby single-family housing may not be the intention here, but it certainly could be the outcome. This question needs to be answered for every neighborhood in Atlanta, not just historic ones.  The IA Board should not be indifferent to or turn a blind eye to this topic.
IV.   Formal City Planning
For a decade VHCA has been guided in such matters by Aaron Fortner of Canvas Planning and attorney Bob Zoeckler.  They have three combined decades of experience at the City’s Planning Department and are leading the City’s rewrite of its own zoning code.  A central maxim that we have learned from them is embodied in the slogan, “Plan first, build second.” In this instance, IA is proposing the exact opposite  –  launching this project first and leaving it to others to try to sort out on the fly.   

It is highly inappropriate, and it is unfair to citizens and organizations that have acted in good faith and have consistently advocated for affordable housing and planned growth.   Major changes deserve proportional process; they should be reflective and not conducted under the pressures on nearby citizens that go with the deadlines created by filing for land use and zoning changes.  This is especially relevant for attempts to create high density development within the single-family fabric of a neighborhood.
We are willing – as we always have been – to consider the future of this site and this portion of the community in logical and collegial setting.
V. Impacts on Traffic
IA needs to evaluate whether or not the traffic produced by a grocery store and hotel will confound the already infamous traffic on Monroe and what the impacts of this development will be on the viability of the traffic mitigation strategies that Renew Atlanta has already formally presented.  But the Board hasn’t studied those issues.  

Will the increase in traffic that the hotel and grocery bring imperil the safety of existing Grady students at the dangerous Monroe/10th intersection?  This is a site where a Grady student was hit by a car and killed  just two years ago, and the usual method of evaluating only the percentage of increased traffic associated with a given project may not be sufficient.  Grady High School has a scheduled expansion on the books and will be growing steadily over the next decade. Citywide athletic events will continue to occur at the adjacent stadium.
This is anything but a routine setting and will require a very sophisticated traffic study.
The Virginia-Highland Civic Association joins in NPU-F’s request that the final decision by Invest Atlanta be postponed until the public has an opportunity to provide input on this matter.
David Brandenberger                                           Jenifer Keenan
VHCA President                                                     VHCA Director, Co-Chair VHCA Planning Committee
david_brandenberger@yahoo.com                    jkeenanvahi@yahoo.com
cc:        Councilmember-Elect Jennifer Ide
            Councilmember Andre Dickens
            Councilmember Michael Julian Bond
            Councilmember-Elect Matt Westmoreland

Looking for an Article Seen in the VOICE?

Check the Archive!

Publishing of articles from the VOICE on the website news feed has been temporarily suspended. However, you can find the current and all back issues of the VOICE in the archive located here.

As mentioned in the last issue of the VOICE, we are looking for some help with the newsletter and website. If you are interested, please send a message to communications@vahi.org.


BeltLine Northside & Northeast Study Group Meeting

Northside + Northeast Study Group – Thursday, July 13, 2017

6:30-8:00 pm
Rock Spring Presbyterian Church
1824 Piedmont Ave NE Atlanta, GA 30324

Join BeltLine representatives to learn about the design of the Northeast Trail! Meet the team behind the design and construction of the Northeast Trail taking shape between Ansley Mall and Mayson Street NE. ABI will unveil timelines and other key details about the project, and gather insights from the community that will help shape the trail’s design.



Park Pride Hosts Annual “Pints for Parks” on May 2

David Brandenberger, VHCA Board Member and Parks Committee Chair

Longtime metro Atlanta parks advocates Park Pride will hold their annual spring social and fundraiser Tuesday, May 2nd from 6 PM to 9 PM. This year’s event brings together park (and beer!) enthusiasts at Orpheus Brewing for an evening of drinks, games and good company, all in the spirit of celebrating green space.

Your $45 ticketed donation will include a limited edition Park Pride tasting glass, seven complimentary beer tastings, food, a brewery tour, an opportunity to participate in a silent auction, and the ability to participate in several games. In addition to a enjoying a fun evening, you will be supporting an organization that works tirelessly to preserve, maintain and build parks and green spaces in the City of Atlanta, creating a more sustainable, equitable, ecologically-stable and beautiful city to live in. Park Pride specifically has made multiple generous grants to every one of Virginia-Highland’s parks over many years.

They are expecting around 350 attendees at this year’s Pints for Parks, so register early. For more information, click here.


Tips from a New VaHi Business Owner for Building Spring Fitness

By Collin Eggebrecht, owner of OnePoint Physical Therapy

Virginia-Highland continues to be one of the busiest neighborhoods in Atlanta when it comes to outdoor activities.  With endless sidewalks, foot and bike accessible restaurants and shops, numerous beltline entrances and parks, physical activity is a part of life in the neighborhood.

Spring is here, and with that comes increased opportunity for outdoor activity. We are most sedentary in the winter months while spring brings more frequent neighborhood walks, runs and sports participation. Many of us, however, forget to prepare, leading to unwanted injuries, so now is a great time to prepare to prevent them.

How to build strength and endurance

A simple way I like to teach individuals to build their strength and endurance is the 10% rule.  Add 10% of volume per week to your routine to safely progress and to minimize your risk for injury.  This is especially true this time of year as many of us have had limited physical activity over the past few months. The 10% rule is commonly used by runners to safely add miles week over week.  We are not all runners, though, so why not apply this rule to other activities?  All you need to do is pick a measurable aspect of your workout (for example. distance, time, repetitions, and weight).

Here are three examples of ways you can use this principle with your workout routine.

1. Goal: 30 minutes of walking, 3 times per week (90 total minutes)

  • Week 1: 10 minutes of walking, 3 times (30 total minutes)
  • Week 2: 11 minutes of walking, 3 times (33 total minutes)
  • Week 3: 12 minutes of walking, 3 times (36 total minutes)

2. Goal: Lift 20 lbs for 30 repetitions

  • Week 1: Lift 10 lbs for 30 repetitions
  • Week 2: Lift 11 lbs for 30 repetitions
  • Week 3: Lift 12 lbs for 30 repetitions

Reaching out to local businesses for help

Virginia-Highland also houses many fitness instructors and therapists, so if you need assistance, now is a good time to reach out for support. Look around local businesses and gyms or ask your neighbor for a recommendation. Good l
uck, stay hydrated, and keep moving.

Collin Eggebrecht is a new business owner in the Virginia Highland neighborhood. He recently opened the doors to OnePoint Physical Therapy on the corner of Barnett and Greenwood. He has years of experience in injury prevention, sports-related rehabilitation and orthopedics. For more information visit www.onepointpt.com


Volunteer Now for Summerfest 2017!

By John Becker

In 1983, MASH ended an 11-year, 251-episode TV run, Vanessa Williams became the first African-American crowned Miss America and McDonald’s introduced the Chicken McNugget.

Did you know ‘83 was also the year a group of Virginia-Highland merchants – led by late Atkins Park owner Warren Bruno – got together and threw a block party that would eventually become Summerfest?

Yes, it’s really been 34 years since the first Summerfest, and organizers are hard at work planning this year’s festival set for the weekend of June 3. Featuring a 5K Road Race and Tot Trot, one of the largest juried artist markets in the South and a variety of local, regional and national acts performing on the music Summerfest stage, our festival has become one of Atlanta’s most eagerly anticipated seasonal events.

Aside from simply attending the event, how can you get the most out of your Summerfest experience? Why, volunteering, of course! Summerfest volunteer shifts are generally 2-3 hours long and you can choose to help with:

Volunteering is a great way to meet new friends and reconnect with old ones, and also help ensure the success of VHCA’s biggest fundraising event of the year. Volunteering can be a great way for high school or middle school students to get service hours. You can even sign up for multiple shifts if you like (and many do). Encourage your friends and neighbors to volunteer. Come join in the fun and go home with the coveted volunteer t-shirt!

We’re using SignUp.Com (formerly VolunteerSpot) again this year for volunteer registration and management. The tool is great at helping us organize our various tasks and shifts and is very easy to use. (Note: SignUp.com does not share your email address with anyone.)

Here’s how it works in three easy steps:

  1. Click here to access the Summerfest area on VolunteerSpot.
  2. Review the different tasks and shifts listed and identify the tasks/shifts that work for you.
  3. Sign up – it’s easy and you won’t have to register or leave a password on SignUp.com.

Have questions or need more information? Contact volunteer coordinator John Becker at jnbecker@me.com. Please don’t delay – volunteer today! We look forward to seeing you in June!

John Becker is a past VHCA board member and serves as Summerfest volunteer coordinator.


How Money Raised by VHCA Helps Support Our Community

VHCA supports our community in many ways, partly through volunteering and partly through financial support.

Following is an overview of the events that bring in the money to support the community and where that money goes.

How we raise the money
Quite simply, the June Summerfest and the December Tour of Homes generate almost all of the funds that we raise.

Since 2005, we have funded over $245,000 in grants for education, partnering nonprofits and community organizations. This includes almost $115,000 in grants to our neighborhood schools, just under $40,000 to our public library, and over $35,000 to Trees Atlanta.

Our funding also supports other neighborhood projects, including the acquisition of N Highland Park, park improvements, safety, sidewalk and traffic concerns, planning and preservation efforts, and communication.

Some specific allocations
Here are just some of the funds that the civic association allocated in 2016:

VHCA Grant Awards – 2016

  • $19.500 to install three APD video cameras, in response to an offer of matching funds from Alex Wan’s council fund.
  • $4000 to Trees Atlanta
  • $3250 to Springdale Elementary PTO
  • $3100 to Inman Middle School
  • $2825 to Ponce de Leon Library
  • $2500 to Inman Middle School Technology Foundation
  • $1750 to Grady High School College and Career Center
  • $1500 Grady Athletic Boosters
  • $1500 to the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition


We are able to raise that money through the efforts of our volunteers. Without them, these initiatives would collapse. So please volunteer for our upcoming Summerfest 2017 in June, as explained in the accompanying article, and know how much you are helping all of us when you do that—not to mention the enjoyment and neighborhood camaraderie you will get out of it.

Remember, without our volunteers, Summerfest simply could not happen.

Thank you for your support, and enjoy Summerfest.


Police Reveal Cool Camera Features at VHCA Safety Meeting

And body cameras modify behavior on both sides of the lens

On Saturday, March 4th at Church of Our Saviour, a good turnout of VaHi safety captains and other interested residents gathered for the annual Safety Captains’ meeting. In attendance were police experts to explain how they are using cameras to fight crime. There was also a discussion led by the VHCA Safety Committee about what residents and businesses can do within our neighborhood to reduce crime.

Street Cameras and Tag Readers

There are now 9 street cameras installed in VaHi, including 3 purchased by VHCA with financial support from Alex Wan. These cameras are the ones that show the blue lights, and they run all the time. There is also a plan to have cameras and lighting all up and down the Beltline.

The Police Foundation’s Video Integration Center has computer monitors that pull up streaming video from street cameras. The purpose is to support first responders and investigations. When there is a 911 call, the 4 closest street cameras are instantly activated. Two can be rewound 5 minutes to help begin an investigation. The real-time ones show what is happening right now—for example, a victim on the ground.

The Atlanta Police Foundation’s Video Integration Center

There are also 200 tag readers city-wide. They ping if a suspect car passes them, so police can head over there. These have been very successful and are pretty cool: they snap pictures of tags, transform them to data, upload them to the cloud, and check to see if the owner is wanted. According to the police experts in attendance, there has been a 40% reduction in crime where cameras and tag readers are installed. Blue lights and signs serve to warn would-be criminals that they are under surveillance.

Business and resident cameras

In addition to using the police street cameras, the police Video Integration Center (VIC) can take advantage of business cameras if they are integrated into the system. (This has already happened at Lenox Mall.) Therefore:

  • VHCA plans to do a survey of all businesses in the neighborhood to see who has cameras, and what type, to see if they are compatible with the VIC. If not compatible with the VIC, they would be eligible for our registry (see below).
  • We will also reach out to residents to see if they are willing to identify theirs—those would not be integrated because of privacy and because home cameras have lower quality than police cameras. But they could be a useful resource, and in some cases already have been.
  • Accordingly, VHCA has started a registry (both residential and business) of who already has cameras in the neighborhood. This is a voluntary program: You are not obligated to turn video to police. But they may contact you using the registry if there is an incident near your location.

Anyone interested in helping with this project, or who has a camera, can get in touch with Safety Committee Members Kay Stephenson and Eleanor Barrineau by emailing safety@vahi.org.

Body Cameras

Officer Joseph Mercado of the APD gave a demo of police body cameras

Officer Joseph Mercado of the APD led a discussion and demo of police body cameras, which have now been rolled out in Zone 6. Body cams not only provide transparency, but they serve as a behavior modifier for both ends. Police are able to see how they interact with the public and learn how they could have interacted differently. Also when a person realizes they’re being recorded, it tends to improve the tone of that person when talking to the police.

Zone 6 has had their cameras since the beginning of January. By summer, all officers who answer 911 calls will have body cameras. Officers wear them their entire shift and if they are working off duty (like FBAC) they wear them then as well.

How the body cam video is used. If there is an incident, officers can later enter information into the recording about the incident, which goes into a database that can be part of a wider query later. The hope is to get better prosecution. Video can show the judge that the person has done something multiple times. The judge can see the actual video, not just a report, and this has more impact. Footage cannot be deleted by the officer. The recordings are also encrypted—they only work on supervisors’ docks. So no one can download to their computer. There is an automatic audit trail of who viewed a video and that audit trail can’t be deleted.

A body cam records exactly what the officer sees, so his perspective is what can be demonstrated. If the officer is looking into headlight glare, then that’s what the camera sees, too. There are no filters, by design. It’s a critical part of fairness to show exactly what the officer was seeing. Officers have guidelines on when to turn the body cam on. When an officer activates a body cam, it automatically includes the prior 30 seconds in the recording. In addition, the Police Foundation is currently working with the manufacturer to possibly create a trigger—for example, turning on the police car blue lights could automatically start the camera.

Safety Committee Tips

In the second part of the meeting, the VHCA Safety Chair Eleanor Barrineau led a discussion on Safety Committee Initiatives that we want all residents to be aware of:

1. Lighting.  We want to be sure that bikers, pedestrians and people getting in and out of cars are safe. So we are looking to improve lighting in dark areas. On your own street, keep porch lights on. We recommend dusk-to-dawn light bulbs (Home Depot has them—they look like regular light bulbs and screw into a regular light fixture, but they automatically come on at dusk and off at dawn. No timers, no special wiring!).  We also encourage you to have driveway lights.

2. Graffiti. If you see any, send to graffiti@vahi.org. Include a picture if possible. Dept of Corrections crews work on those under the supervision of an APD officer. These crews can remove debris as well, such as sometimes appears on Maiden Lane.

3. Event impact. To let neighbors know when events are coming up that affect traffic and parking, the vahi.org calendar at the bottom right of the home page has been expanded to include many different events that could affect traffic. You might even want to participate, knowing an event is going on. In addition, the VHCA safety committee is working to make sure traffic and parking guidelines are enforced during events.

4. Homeowner cameras. Email safety@vahi.org to let them know you have a camera. The Safety Committee can then include these on a registry that police can use.

5. When to call 911 and when to call 311. For any crime, call 911. 311 is very effective for things about which you don’t need immediate police action, such as potholes, leaks in street, street services. You can get a ticket number and their follow-up seems to be good.

About the Police Foundation

Our meeting was attended both by APD and Police Foundation representatives. The Atlanta Police Foundation supports police. It’s a private-public relationship, like the Piedmont Park Conservancy and City of Atlanta- owned Piedmont Park. The Police Foundation runs the Video Integration Center described above, among other initiatives like the Crime Stoppers Program. One of its initiatives is to evaluate police cameras before they are purchased, and help determine how they are used.

Thank You

Our thanks to Michael Faughnan, Sgt. Julio Reyes, and Officers Mercado and Evans of the  Atlanta Police Department, and to Marlon Trone, VP of Programs for the Atlanta Police Foundation, who helped make the meeting a success.


Planning Your Spring Break Staycation Right Here, Intown

By Kay Stephenson, VHCA Vice President

Spring break may have originated with college students flocking to Ft. Lauderdale in the 1930s, but today families with children of all ages make special plans for this time. For colleges and universities, spring break is scheduled at different times throughout the month of March, but for the Atlanta Public Schools, April 3rd through the 7th is the time for families to kick back and have some fun this year.
For those who don’t plan to travel, there are a host of options for family fun in and near Virginia-Highland.

Kids’ Camps
Virginia-Highland resident Kim Steen Langan of Intown Tumbling is offering a half-day camp for kids three and up. Located right on the BeltLine at 828 Ralph McGill Blvd, the program runs from 9:00 am – 12:30 pm April 3 – 7, 2017. Full details may be found here.

Have a child who is more the outdoor type? Let them be a Junior TreeKeeper with the Trees Atlanta programs. April 3 – 7, 2017, the educational staff is offering two spring break camps – one for 1st to 3rd graders, and a 2nd for 4th to 6th graders. Each day begins and ends at the TreeHouse in the Stove Works Building, 112 Krog Street, but most activities will be out on the BeltLine and throughout nearby parks and neighborhoods. More information may be found here.

Get the whole family outdoors with a walking tour of the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum along the Eastside Trail. Scheduled every Friday and Saturday morning, trained docents will lead you on a 1 ? hour walk discussing the arboretum collection, other plantings, history, architecture and the future of the Atlanta BeltLine. Register for tours here.

Inman Park company Food Tours Atlanta offers family-friendly walking tours full of history, art, and great food. Tour Inman Park or Ponce City Market. The 2 ? hour tours are offered on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Use the code EATLIKEALOCAL to receive a 10% discount for the whole family. More information may be found here.

Sales & Festivals
Saturday April 1st is Trees Atlanta’s 5th Annual Native Wildflower and Vine Sale at the Carter Center. It is a great place to pick up plants for your garden. Let the kids get in on the act and pick their favorites. Experts will help you to pick the right plant for any location and even give you advice on how to plant and care for your plants when you are home. More information may be found here.

Festival on Ponce takes place April 1st and 2nd in the historic Olmstead Linear Park, designed by Fredrick Law Olmstead, Sr. The festival includes both fine art and crafts, acoustic music from local artists, a kid’s area, and of course food & beverages. More information may be found here.

The 81st annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival once again brings us all to Piedmont Park on the last weekend of spring break (April 7-9). This is Atlanta’s longest-running festival and includes the always entertaining Atlanta Dog & Disk Club Competition. Stroll through the artist market, eat gourmet and festival foods, enjoy rides and games, and listen to live music. From inflatables in the Meadow to crafts at the Mayor’s Grove, there is plenty to entertain children. Check it out here.

Gardens and Parks

The Atlanta Botanical Garden offers seasonal family activities throughout spring break both on the great lawn and in the Children’s Garden. Enjoy all-age exhibits, including Atlanta Blooms and Orchid Daze–both continuing throughout April. Check out a special itinerary for visiting with kids here and spring break programs here.

Did you know that Piedmont Park offers guided tours? The Atlanta Audubon Society leads bird tours on the first Saturday of the month at the park. Piedmont park also offers guided history tours on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Saturday from March to December.  More information may be found here.

Best of all, you can explore the park on your own by downloading a Piedmont Park scavenger hunt or a self-guided tree tour.


Neighborhood Watch and Safety Meeting March 4th

By Eleanor Barrineau, VHCA Safety Chair

Atlanta Video Integration Center. Photo courtesy Aftermath News.

Public safety continues to be a high priority for Virginia-Highland residents. On Saturday, March 4th at 10 am at Church of Our Saviour (N. Highland at Los Angeles), come and hear from experts about how the Atlanta Police Department (APD) is using cameras to fight crime, and participate in a discussion about what we can do within our neighborhood to reduce crime.

Experts will describe how the city’s Video Integration Center (VIC) uses information from thousands of cameras to track potential crimes in progress and for subsequent investigations.  Then APD officers will demonstrate the bodycams that are now being used.

After these presentations, discussions will include:
1) Maximizing the effectiveness of our VaHi Neighborhood Watch Program, including discussion of best practices/challenges from our Street Leads/Street Captains;
2) Private security cameras and how they can assist the police with their investigations;
3) How lighting or other environmental factors that reduce crime can be improved.
All interested residents are encourage to attend!


More Relay Bike Stations Coming to Our Neighborhood

By Stephen Cohen

We’ve seen them around, those bright blue bikes with the basket on front. I saw a young couple the other day, each wheeling their blue bike from the Trader Joe’s parking lot onto the BeltLine, and each with a Trader Joe grocery bag in their front basket. They lived in Midtown and told me they had rented a relay bike on Piedmont Road and ridden over to TJ to do their grocery shopping.

We’re going to be seeing a lot more of those bikes. From the one relay station near the corner of 10th and Piedmont, we are going to be seeing as many as eight more stations in Virginia-Highland, Atkins Park, and Poncey-Highland. (The attached flyer shows the upcoming locations. These are subject to approval and zoning review).

What is Bike Share?

Page 2 of the flyer shows proposed locations for new bike relay stations

Bike Share is touted as a fun, affordable way to get around Atlanta. Hundreds of public bikes are available to rent for short rides. You can lock a Relay Bike at one of their hub stations or at any public bike rack. Cost is $8 an hour, or $15 a month with 60 minutes’ daily usage, or $20 a month with 90 minutes’ daily usage, or $25 a semester with 60 minutes’ daily usage for students. Unused minutes roll over. So if you rent for an hour and only use 40 minutes, you have 20 minutes left to use another time.

You can use them for commuting, for errands, or to enable visiting friends and family to join you in toodling through Piedmont Park, onto the BeltLine, and around our pretty streets.

For more information, visit www.relaybikeshare.com.


For Primed Performance Training, Beltline Means More Than Fitness: It’s About Community

When David Mauer opened his first gym back in 1999, he knew he wanted to contribute to the community but he had no idea where that journey might take him. After 18 years of building on the successes of the fitness businesses he’s founded such as P.E. Midtown, Urban Body Fitness, and Urban Body Studios, he’s applying his fine-tuned approach to create a special spot named Primed Performance Training.

Primed Performance Training (PPT) is a personalized fitness studio located on the Atlanta Beltine, just off Ponce de Leon Place. David Mauer and his staff of trainers provide small-group and personal training serving clients of all abilities. The PPT team is dedicated to helping each client achieve his or her individual fitness goals, whether it’s recovering from an injury, setting an example for one’s children, excelling in a particular sport, or pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Mauer’s approach is science based and focuses on sport-specific and functional fitness. The atmosphere is laid-back, friendly and refreshingly attitude-free.

Mauer laughs, “From a location perspective, the journey has not been very far. I’ve been on the Beltline or the old train tracks my entire career!”

David says he loves being part of the Virginia-Highland neighborhood. “It’s such an amazingly supportive community. Owning a business on the Beltline is really incredible and it’s been awesome to witness the tremendous impact that it has made on bringing the community together and inspiring people to exercise. At Primed, a big part of the beauty of what we do is the community we create through encouragement, commitment and mutual respect. This location makes perfect sense on so many levels.“

Primed is located in Urban Body Studios (which Mauer co-founded) at 730 Ponce de Leon Place. Primed welcomes new clients and encourages them to try a free introductory session. Currently there is a special introductory offer — 3 small group sessions for $20. Visit their website at primedpt.com, call 404-216-8601 or email david@primedpt.com for more information.

Photos courtesy Primed Performance Training


Parties Reach Settlement in Todd Memorial Litigation

By Jenifer Keenan

I am very happy to report that the parties have reached a settlement in the Todd Memorial Litigation.  A copy of the settlement agreement can be viewed here.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the defendants will pay $25,000 and VHCA’s insurers will contribute an additional $5,000.  The settlement proceeds will be used for “the re-construction of the Monument on property located off and separate from the Property [defendants’ residence], reimbursement of Plaintiffs’ legal expenses related to the Lawsuit, as well as an application for construction of a Georgia Historical Society historical marker or other sign for the Property [defendant’s residence].”

The Todd/Liddell family are taking the lead on the design of the new memorial and application for an official Georgia Historical Society marker on the property where the original monument was located.  Additional information on the location of the new memorial will be provided in the coming months.


Make Monroe Safe – Come to the 2/28 Meeting and Support the Monroe Road Diet

by Jenifer Keenan, VHCA President

The dangerous conditions on Monroe have led to two fatalities on the quarter mile section of the street in VaHi the last year. That is two deaths too many. The best way for each of us to improve the safety on Monroe is to attend the February 28th Renew Atlanta Meeting on the Monroe Complete Streets Project and demand that a road diet be implemented on Monroe from 10th to Piedmont.  (Tuesday, 2/28 6:00 – 8:00 Big Bethel AME Church, 220 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30303).

What is a Road Diet?

To be clear, a road diet does not mean fewer cars. It’s a restriping done in such a way that traffic flow is improved, with cars moving more evenly, and it therefore makes the road safer and more efficient. In a nutshell, the “road diet” on Monroe will restripe the lanes and reduce it from 4 lanes (two in each direction) to three lanes (one in each direction with a dedicated turn lane). These diagrams from the Virginia-Highland Master Plan illustrate the concept:

How will a Road Diet improve conditions on Monroe?

It may seem counter-intuitive that reducing lanes could make a street better, but there are real-life examples from throughout the country that show that road diets not only reduce crashes by up to 47%, but also improve traffic flow.  Indeed, a study on the Ponce de Leon road diet found that after the road diet was implemented, there was a 25% decrease in overall crashes, with morning travel times decreasing by almost a minute and afternoon travel times increasing by only a bit more than a minute.

A road diet for Monroe isn’t a new concept – it has been part of the BeltLine Plan, the Connect Atlanta Plan, and the Virginia-Highland Master Plan. And although the Monroe Road Diet has been a part of these comprehensive plans, and is a proven way to improve safety and traffic flow, there are still skeptics. Some are fearful that it will lead to cut-through traffic. Cut-through traffic, however, is a problem now. Keeping Monroe as-is will not improve cut-through traffic. Improving traffic flow on Monroe and eliminating the conditions that have led to fatal crashes should actually help with cut-through traffic, not make it worse.

Others have insisted that temporary measures such as increased police enforcement, or measures that may reduce speed such as speed humps, will be sufficient. That is simply not the case, because even if speed is reduced, the weaving in and out to avoid the left-turn queue still creates dangerous conditions for both vehicles and pedestrians. The road diet is the best and only solution that will provide 24-hour-a-day improvements to safety on Monroe by slowing traffic, eliminating weaving in and out to avoid the left turn queue (and thereby improve traffic flow), eliminating the left-turn blind spot caused by the lack of a dedicated left-turn lane, allowing pedestrians to safely cross three lanes of traffic instead of four with a “safe haven” in the middle provided by the dedicated turn lane, allowing bikes to travel in dedicated bike lanes away from traffic, and making sidewalks safer by having them bordered by bike lanes instead of speeding cars. Neither increased police ticketing nor speed humps can provide 24-hour-a-day improvements to all these safety issues.

What if the Road Diet doesn’t work?

In December, the project manager for the Monroe Complete Streets Project attended the Virginia-Highland monthly meeting and announced that the traffic counts for Monroe were within the acceptable limits for a road diet. Thus, there is no reason for there not to be a road diet on Monroe. Nevertheless, if the Monroe road diet is somehow different from the hundreds of other successful road diets that have been implemented throughout the country and does not improve the dangerous conditions on the street, the “diet” can be undone by simply re-striping Monroe and converting it back to four lanes.

What Can I Do To Improve Safety on Monroe?

The best way to improve conditions on Monroe is come to the February 28th meeting and show your strong support a road diet on Monroe.  We must stand together and demand the proven and permanent safety improvements of road diet for Monroe. We as a community cannot tolerate any more fatalities on this broken street. The Road Diet is a key component of the Complete Street project.

What Is a “Complete Street”?

The full name of the Monroe project is actually the Monroe/Boulevard Complete Streets Project.  The project is being funded by the Renew Atlanta Infrastructure Bond that was approved by city voters in 2015.  “Complete Streets” are designed to enable safe access for all users – pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit users. Complete Street projects implement comprehensive design changes including light synchronization, intersection realignments, and landscaping, lighting, and crosswalk improvements. They often also include traffic calming measures and design changes to make streets safer.

The Virginia-Highland Master Plan

The Master Plan contains more details, and pages 81 on are especially pertinent for the Road Diet. Note: This is a large file and may take a little while to load.


Summerfest 2017 – June 3 & 4 – Save the Date!

By Pamela Papner, Summerfest Co-Chair

Mark your calendars and be sure to attend Summerfest 2017 on June 3rd and 4th!  The community dinner, movie and parade will be held Friday, June 2nd in John Howell Park.  Details will be posted online as plans are finalized, at vahi.org/summerfest.

Presented by the Virginia-Highland Civic Association and organized by neighborhood volunteers, Summerfest celebrates the arts with a juried Artist Market featuring more than 250 artists from the Southeast displaying works in an variety of traditional media and representing numerous price ranges to appeal to any level of collector.

For 2017, Summerfest will offer a re-vitalized Kidsfest, sure to please families with many fun, educational and artistic activities – many free! The Local Market, a popular new feature last year, will be expanded and will feature local Georgia vendors who produce hand-made products like soaps, honey, baked goods, gourmet food and other unique items. The 2017 music line-up promises to be the best ever, and the 5K road race is back (sign up today here). The tot trot will be held Saturday at John Howell Park, with all registrations on-site this year.

Best of all, proceeds from the event go directly back into our neighborhood, enabling the VHCA to lead and support planning and zoning initiatives, support/maintenance of North Highland Park, along with other neighborhood initiatives such as recent improvements to John Howell Park, sidewalks, safety, lighting and crime prevention programs. The VHCA also provides financial support to local schools, public library, historic firehouse and other organizations serving Virginia-Highland residents.


Dude, It’s Only a Mile…

Run The Morningside Mile on Mar 26 – We’re So Close Now to Saving our Fire Station – Help Push Us Over the Finish Line!

By Robin Ragland, VHCA Board Member

Since we moved to Virginia-Highland in 2006, I’ve been hearing about the need to raise funds for critical improvements to our local Fire Station. Now, after many Breakfasts with Santa, Santathons, Morningside Miles, last year’s Firefest, selling Fire Station 19 t-shirts, and personal donations, we’re only ~$15,000 away from reaching the community’s $120,000 fundraising goal!!

For those of you who are new to Virginia-Highland, Fire Station 19 is Atlanta’s oldest continuously operating station. Located in the heart of Virginia-Highland, it has been a local landmark for more than 90 years.

The Race

Rick Chey (owner of the Osteria 832 and Doc Chey restaurants) is once again hosting this year’s 7th annual Morningside Mile on March 26–and it’s a lot of fun. In addition to being Atlanta’s only competitive one-mile run, it has cash prizes and a killer post-race party.  Runners of all levels, from competitive runners to moms with jog strollers and kids, are welcome.  Register here for this year’s race.

Here’s a sneak peak at the prizes:

  • Overall Top 3 Male & Female Winners: $200/$100/$50 cash & gift cards
  • Masters Top 3 Male & Female Winners: $100/$50/$25 cash & gift cards
  • Age Group Winners: $25 local merchant gift card to top male & female finisher in each age group: under 6, 7-9, 10-14, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60+.
  • SweetWater 420 Challenge: runner with closest time to 4:20 wins a deluxe SweetWater prize pack including 4 tickets to the brewery & tasting, SweetWater apparel & other goodies.

The first 500 registrants will receive a commemorative premium athletic T-shirt, a $60 value.  All runners can show their race number at the block party to get a free SweetWater beer at Doc Chey’s, OR a free treat at Alon’s.

Keep up-to-date during the countdown to the race on Facebook.

The Block Party: Noon – 2pm

Doc Chey’s Noodle Eating Contest!

Whether you run the race or not, plan to show up at the finish line for a neighborhood Block Party at Morningside Village (1424 N. Highland Ave). Invite your friends and family to cheer you on, meet your neighborhood firefighters, and enjoy the festivities planned for all ages!  Neighbors are encouraged to “go green” and walk or bike to the event.

There will be music, food by Doc Chey’s (don’t forget to bring cash!), and other festivities hosted by local firefighters and merchants. Sign up early to compete in the kids’ or adults’ Doc Chey’s Noodle Eating Contest that occurs at 1:30.  Fastest adult speed eater wins a $100 gift card, and the kid winner gets a $25 gift card.

Be sure to check the Morningside Mile website regularly for an updated list of festivities.

Fun Facts

“Dude–It’s only a mile!”  Some fun facts from the morningsidemile.com website.  How long is a mile?
* 1,760 yards
* 5,280 feet
* 63,360 inches
* 1,609 meters
* 1,609,344 millimeters
* 14,762,889 dollar bills stacked
* 5,280 Osteria pizzas laid side-by-side
* 7,920 Doc Chey’s noodle bowls
* 21,120 Doc Chey’s basil rolls laid end-to-end

Can’t make it to the race?  Donate here to help reach the $120,000 goal.



The Training Room – “The Swiss Army Knife of Fitness”

The Atlanta Beltline has been coined a living, breathing part of the fabric of Atlanta. If you find yourself using the Beltline that cuts through Virginia-Highland and Piedmont Park, chances are you’ve seen people running, pushing, pulling, throwing, and lifting in the parking lot that leads up to the main gym of The Training Room ATL.

Owner and head trainer Amber Goppert (pictured) says the most interesting feature of the gym’s location in Virginia-Highland is the diversity the residents lend to the gym. “We have people from every walk of life, with an endless variety of goals,” she says.

Aspirations vary as widely as competitive powerlifting, to ultra-marathons, to the weekend warrior just looking for a leg-up, or someone new to fitness beginning their wellness journey.

“I wanted to create a gym where, whether you’ve been an athlete since birth or you’ve never broken a sweat in your life, you have a place here. “

The facility, which Amber established in 2013, has two levels totaling 15,000 square feet of training space filled with every piece of practical training equipment one could ever need.  Amber has gone to great lengths to recruit some of the best and brightest minds Atlanta has to offer, while constantly innovating the training methodology.

She believes that this multi-faceted facility is unlike any other. “My philosophy from the start,” she says, “was that I wanted to field a team of competent trainers and coaches from all backgrounds. There are no two trainers alike and, as a result, I feel we can exceed the needs of any individual who walks through the door.”

That team includes former collegiate athletes, a Pilates instructor, a former NBA strength coach, and a certified Physical Therapist. Certifications range from kettlebells to Olympic lifting to postural restoration.

“My team is the Swiss Army Knife of the fitness industry, adept for all of our clienteles’ needs,” says Amber proudly.

The Training Room, located at 742 Ponce de Leon Place, offers group classes, with varying focuses and skill levels, and personal/small group training for more specific needs and goals.

Visit The Training Room’s website here: http://www.thetrainingroomatl.com


Joint VaHi-Morningside Security Forum with APD Coming Up on Feb 6

By Jenifer Keenan, VHCA Board President

APD Command staff from Zone 2 and Zone 6 and the office of the Chief of Police will give brief presentations and answer questions at a Security Forum hosted by MLPA and VHCA on February 6th from 7:00 – 8:30 pm at Haygood Memorial United Methodist Church 1015 East Rock Springs Road.

Originally organized by MLPA for residents of Morningside and Lenox Park,  upon the suggestion of Councilman Alex Wan, I contacted MLPA President Sally Bayless about VHCA joining in the forum, and she graciously agreed.  With two neighborhoods participating in the forum, Councilman Wan has been able to secure the attendance of Police Chief Shields and Deputy Chief Glazier.  This will be a wonderful opportunity to hear from APD leadership and express concerns about crime in our neighborhood.  Thanks to MLPA for organizing this event and Councilman Wan for his continued leadership and advocacy for District 6.


Monroe Complete Street Meeting – Note Location Change

The second community engagement meeting on the Monroe/Boulevard Complete Street project will be held on Tuesday February 28th from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at Big Bethel AME Church, 220 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30303 (previously announced at Ebenezer Baptist Church). The meeting is hosted by Renew Atlanta along with Council Representatives Alex Wan and Kwanza Hall. The outcome of the complete streets project will have a profound impact on the safety of all residents using the Monroe corridor. Please make time to attend and make your voice heard. More information is available in Alex Wan’s monthly newsletter.


Inman Middle School Frosty 5K Set for December 10

Are you ready for the Yeti??  

The 2016 Inman Middle School Frosty 5K is open for registration!  The Frosty 5K is set for 9:00 am, Saturday, December 10 and is always tons of fun!  Come join us for some running, strolling, jumpin’-jackin’ fun for the 2016 Inman Frosty 5K supporting the teachers and kids at your favorite intown middle school!


Same route as last year – along the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail – and we’re hoping for the same wonderful weather.

You can sign up here: http://www.active.com/…/distance-runni…/inman-frosty-5k-2016. Students run for just $10, and teachers for FREE!

This is also a super fun event to volunteer, you can sign-up here: http://signup.com/go/MTdi6N.


Take Your Leftover Halloween Candy to Worthmore Jewelers

The name Worthmore Jewelers may be familiar to you after their recent anniversary celebration a few months ago that resulted in a $1,000 donation to the Fire Station 19 restoration project. They are also a repeat sponsor this year of our annual Tour of Homes.

candy-crawl_paper_sourceEach November, Worthmore Jewelers also supports Operation Stars and Stripes with its Halloween candy drive. OSS is a not for profit organization that supplies care packages to deployed service men and women who will be away from their homes and families during the holiday season.  Please take your leftover Halloween candy to their Midtown location, where it will be sorted it out and sent to OSS. For the last five years, Worthmore’s midtown and Decatur locations have been competing to see which neighborhood can donate the most candy. MIDTOWN is the undisputed five-time heavyweight champion.

Last year, between the two stores over 1,000 pounds of candy were collected!

candy_crawl_outside_fire_stationWorthmore Jewelers’ involvement with Operation Stars and Stripes started 8 years ago when Harris and Geri’s daughter Molli needed a service project and wanted to focus on an organization that works with our deployed troops. After a search to find the perfect volunteer opportunity for their young daughter the family decided on OSS and have supported the organization ever since.

Everyone who drops off candy in either location can register to win a $50 Worthmore gift card. One winner from each store will be chosen at the close of business on Sunday, November 8.  You can drop off candy starting Sunday, November 1 (they are closed Monday and Tuesday) and Wednesday the 4th through Sunday the 8thWorthmore Jewelers is located at 500-L3 Amsterdam Walk.

If you would like to help OSS but candy isn’t your thing, you can visit them online at www.operationstarsandstripes.org where they regularly post a list of items they currently need.

By the way, Worthmore Jewelers is also a 2016 Tour of Homes sponsor and will be giving away a $25 gift card in a drawing as part of their sponsorship. Stop by the store anytime after November 1 to enter.


First-Ever Candy Crawl – “This is What a Neighborhood Should Feel Like”

By Stephen Cohen, VHCA Communications Committee Member

candy_crawl_flyerIt was a wonderful family experience. On October 26, the Virginia-Highland business district had its first-ever Candy Crawl. Families gathered at the Fire Station at 5:30 and set out to trick-or-treat, walking all the way down Virginia-Highland to St. Charles, stopping at businesses marked by orange balloons. Over 35 businesses participated.

The idea originated with Doria Roberts from Tipple and Rose, who had done something similar at her sandwich shop in East Atlanta. She was excited about its first-year success here in VaHi.

“Based on my past experience, this was a great turnout for the first year!” said Doria. “I heard several parents say something to the effect that this is what a neighborhood should feel like.”


There were a lot of unknowns coming in. How many would come? How could all the pedestrians be kept safe in rush hour?  To that end, the Virginia-Highland Business Association asked the VaHi Civic Association to organize 6 crossing guards. The guards used safety vests and stop signs kindly provided by Joel Markwell, an Inman Middle School parent who coordinates their crossing guard program.

One of our crossing guards was Kay Stephenson. “I noticed several kids who were mesmerized by our big hand-held stop signs. They appeared to be pondering how that thing that is usually on a post ended up in a person’s hand!

candy_crawl_setting_off“And there were smiles on the faces of many drivers, perhaps charmed by the children into not minding that their commute was being delayed. Several parents mentioned that this made a great dry run for Monday night to see what was working with costumes. One adorable told me, “I’m a raccoon, but I couldn’t wear the mask because it’s too itchy”!

Every participating business had two bags of candy donated by Sysco.  And kids in costume even got to eat free at Atkins Park restaurant.

Truly, not only was this an evening of family fun, but it was an opportunity for parents to visit local stores they may never previously have been aware of.

candy-crawl_paper_source“Everyone was so upbeat and the beautiful weather was definitely a plus,” said crossing guard volunteer Margaret Ross, who was stationed in Atkins Park. “Kristi, from The Warren, interacted with all the kids at her stop; they loved having their character recognized, and were quite polite. All in all, a wonderful neighborhood experience for the participants and onlookers alike. “

candy_crawl_wolfIn fact, many business owners enjoyed it and talked with the parents & kids at their stops. Commented business owner Lynn DeWitt: “EVERYONE enjoyed this event!  Kids loved the candy.  Parents had a terrific time walking with their families, browsing the shops and restaurants.  Stores were buzzing with business. Streets were crowded but safe. Atkins Park Tavern had happy and hungry customers for dinner. Let’s repeat this next Halloween.”

Concluded a very happy Doria: “Next year we hope to add costume contests (for kids, adults and pets) and maybe a pumpkin-carving contest.”

So if you missed the first-ever Virginia-Highland Candy Crawl, be on the lookout for the second one next year!