Our Neighborhood Middle and High School Students

I just recently have had some e-mails and phone conversations with some folks concerned about activities in the Cunard playground area of John Howell Park and under the bridge at Orme Park. A couple of other neighborhood folks and myself will be having a brain-storming session with Dr. Bockman at Inman School soon – so if you have stories or suggested solutions – let me know at safety@vahi.org Graffiti is only part of the problem here.


Graffiti in Cunard Playground in John Howell Park

In case you have not seen the disgusting graffiti in the Cunard playground are of John Howell Park – it has been reported to parks department for removal. I also took pix and sent them to APD’s gang unit to see if they have any gang relationship. I also heard that Grady High School had a lot of graffiti this past weekend – but it has been removed. It has been suggested that we have a standing committee of graffiti removers to counteract future and current displays. Let me know if you are interested in keeping this type of vandalism out of VaHi – before it becomes a real big problem here. Let me know if you would like to serve as the need arises – if we had a half-dozen or so folks available I think we could keep abreast of infestations. I can get supplies from Keep Atlanta Beautiful.


Voice – Winter 2004

Download as PDF (4.2 MB)

– Find out how the Joneses live and support your community (Tour of Homes)
– Civic Association award more than $40,000 to local organizations
– Letter from the President, by Kevin Cronin (opposing Piedmont Park parking deck)
– Orme Park drainage problems to be addressed
– MARTA oughta to be smarta, by Chip Gallagher
– Tour of Homes 2004 (description and picture of each picture)
This could be you: sad shamed and sued, by Chip Gallagher
– Five taxi stands should reduce traffic problems
– Civic association offers funds for off-duty police patrols, by Jean Ellen Jones
– The Good Neighbor (portrait of Cynthia Gentry, who led efforts to build Cunard playground at John Howell Park), by Nonie Daniel
– The Highland Hoer: Time for outdoor cleanup, by John Wolfinger
– Community survey form


Grand opening of the Cunard Memorial Playground

Sunday, March 28th at 2pm: Opening Ceremonies (rain or shine), 2-5 pm

Join us for the Grand Opening Ceremonies of the Cunard Memorial Playground. We’ll have a few words from Mayor Shirley Franklin, Councilwoman Ann Fauver, Commissioner of Parks Dianne Harnell Cohen, a special presentation to Brad Cunard, and the unveiling of the Cunard Memorial. Then there will be music, food, balloons, fun, surprises, and ice cream!

Background: On July 10, 2003, the Virginia-Highland community was shocked by the sudden loss of three neighbors – Lisa Cunard and her two sons, Max, 3, and Owen, 5-months-old – when a tree fell on their car during a storm. Brad Cunard was driving the car and he survived, but was left with the devastating loss of his wife and sons. Neighbors, friends and loved ones have rallied around Brad offering love and support, and are now paying tribute to the loss by opening the memorial playground in John Howell Park, for which they helped raised more than $150,000 to build.

(photo missing)

Brad is in photo with Cynthia Gentry, who headed the playground committee, at the November 15, 2003 installation day.

Saturday, March 27th:
Park clean-up day:
10am-12noon: Kids’ Clean up
1-4pm: Adults Clean up

Help clean up the park to get it ready for the big day. The committee is encouraging neighbors who would like to help to sign up in advance at playground@vahi.org, especially if you’re bringing a group, but it is not mandatory. Feel free to bring along rakes and brooms. We’ll have some, but could always use more.

The children will be there from 10am until noon, with ice cream served at noon. They will be picking up sticks, washing the playground equipment, sweeping, raking, pouring new sand in the sand box, unpacking sandbox toys, etc. We will welcome all ages. All children must have an adult that is responsible for them; i.e. no drop-offs. The adults will work that afternoon from 1 until around 4. (They get ice cream, too.)

For more information, please contact Cynthia Gentry by email at cynthiagentry@mindspring.com, 404.853.4878 or leave a message at 404.222.8244. Contributions to the playground are still encouraged and can be made payable to “Park Pride,” and please write “for Cunard Memorial Playground” on the memo line. Mail checks to the Virginia-Highland Civic Association, P.O. Box 8401, Station F, Atlanta, Ga., 31106.


Voice – Spring 2004

Download PDF (1.8 MB)

President’s Address, by Kevin Cronin
– City council honors Aaron Gross for his leadership
– City council passed sewage and water bill
– Sidewalk reimbursement program
– Grand opening of Cunard Memorial Playground March 28, 2004

Parking and transportation are major issues for the business community, by Tinka Green, VHBA president
– permit parking may be introduced in Atkins Park

What’s happening at Inman Middle School (renovation), by Liz Coyle
– Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes planned
– Remember to recycle, by Nan Hunter

Why cities don’t matter and why Virginia-Highland does, by Chip Gallagher
– Cities are losing out to suburbs in political power
– VaHi and intown neighborhoods will weather the fiscal storm due to social organization

Atkins Park Garden Club celebrated 75th anniversary, by Tinka Green
– The Southeastern Flower Show provides great landscaping ideas, by John Wolfinger
– Anatomy of a property tax assessment challenge
Cunard Memorial Playground park cleanup and grand opening
– How can I remove graffiti?


We did it! — Cunard Playground

We did it! Thanks for everyone’s sweat and tears on Saturday! We had over 400 volunteers help us install the playground equipment, plant the Cunard Memorial Garden, and beautify John Howell Park. Volunteers came from as far away as Seattle, Washington and from Canton, Marietta and Flowery Branch, too! We were especially touched to have Brad’s family come from Monticello and Lisa’s brother from North Carolina.

Each volunteer put his or her whole heart and soul into the assigned tasks and truly made a difference. We know that Brad sends his thanks and appreciation for everyone’s contribution to the project.

We especially would like to thank all of the business that either donated materials, food or goods for our build day. (We’re still compiling the list of generous contributors!)

Virginia-Highland is a great neighborhood and we thank each of you for making it even better!

We look forward to seeing you at the Opening Ceremonies in March 2004 (date to be determined) and at Summerfest on June 5th and 6th !

Kevin Cronin
VHCA President

Cynthia Gentry
Cunard Memorial Playground Chair


Voice – Winter 2003

Download PDF (2.5 MB)

– Build a playground at John Howell Park
– Meet your new board of directors (bios)
– Dramatic transformation of Piedmont Park continues with the help of VHCA challenge grant
– Public menorah lighting, by Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman
– President’s address, by Kevin Cronin (Summerfest funds raised; $46K in grants to neighborhood)
– Highland Hoer: Gardening in Virginia-Highland has come a long way since the ’70s, by John Wolfinger


Heartfelt dinner benefiting Cunard Playground a success!

Many thanks to the hundreds of friends, residents and restaurants who joined the Virginia-Highland neighborhood in the Heartfelt Benefit Dinner on Tuesday, October 21 to honor the Cunard family. A portion of the proceeds from the following restaurants will go toward building the Cunard Memorial Playground in John Howell Park.

American Roadhouse
Atkins Park
Caramba Café
Cold Stone Creamery
Dark Horse Tavern
Doc Chey’s Emory
Doc Chey’s Morningside
Everybody’s Pizza
Gecko Lounge
Highland Tap
La Tavola
Limerick Junction
Moe’s and Joe’s
Neighbor’s Pub
Osteria 832
Taco Mac
Tiburon Grill

Also, mark your calendars for other upcoming events to support the Cunard Memorial Playground:

Sunday, Oct. 26

Cut-a-Thon — Van Michael Salon on North Highland

  • 12 noon until 5 p.m.
  • Get a great haircut for $25 at Van Michael’s and 100% of the day’s proceeds will be donated to the playground.

Wednesday, Nov. 12

Whole Foods Day on Ponce de Leon

  • Shop all day and 5 percent of sales will be donated to the playground.

Saturday, Nov. 15

Build the Playground Day

  • 7 a.m. until dark
  • Come to John Howell Park as we build the playground ourselves.
  • Good food and T-shirts provided!

For more information on the playground project and to sign up to volunteer:
or email us at playground@vahi.org.
Details on volunteering shifts and duties available here 10/27/03.

Help us continue to raise the $135,000 needed!

Send donations and checks payable to Park Pride-Cunard Memorial Playground
c/o Virginia-Highland Civic Association
P.O. Box 8401, Station F
Atlanta, GA 31106

Contributions are tax deductible as allowed by law.


Minutes – October 1, 2003

Virginia-Highland Civic Association

Monthly General Meeting, Ponce de Leon Library

Wednesday, October 1, 2003, 7:30 PM


Meeting was called to order by President Kevin Cronin at 7:30 p.m.

Guests were introduced: Cyrus Bhedward, Cathy Woolard’s office

New Business/Old Business:

  1. Energy – Report by Cyrus Bhedward
    • Bhedward spoke on how we can conserve energy in our homes and offices
      • Woolard has been involved in a sustainability project, focusing on air, land and energy use
      • There was a lot to information to decipher
      • No one at the City has been dealing with energy use
      • First question raised was how much does the City spend?
        • $21 million on electricity in City buildings alone
        • $3.1 million on waste and water
        • The goal is to reduce these figures by 10%
    • Support is coming from federal, state and non-profit agencies, at no cost to taxpayers. In 2003, the goal is to save $500,000 in energy costs. The group looked at errors in billings by utility companies
      • Started with City Hall and City Hall East to review usage patterns
      • Solutions were simple: Employees did what they could – turning off lights, PCs, etc. at night
      • This single efforts produced a huge dent in bills
      • City is ready to establish similar cost-reducing methods at other buildings and create sustainable energy efficient and environmentally friendly buildings
    • What can citizens do?
      • Watch your THERMOSTATS!
      • Set them back – Ideally to 68° in winter; 78° in summer
      • When replacing appliances – look for “Energy Efficient” labels
    • Bedward also commented briefly on the city’s move to name the new terminal at airport, improvements in fire stations and park facilities
  2. Councilperson Anne Fauver
    • Fauver was in attendance and offered her assistance if any neighbors wanted to talk to her.
  3. Inspector Kinser
    • Introduced Officers Green and Rivers
    • Things going well in the sixth district
    • Have been several commercial burglaries on the morning watch; Major Banda is working on this issue
    • Question – have the burglarers been Caught? Not yet. Our officer in charge of burglaries passed away and other officers are following up.
    • Question – Linked to residential burglaries? Not known
    • When will the new beats be assigned? Beginning of 2004
  4. Tinka Green – Business Association: Reported 14 break-ins, one attempted break-in and one major shoplifting
    • Two officers working with the Business Association
    • Almost caught robber in American Roadhouse early Friday, Sept. 26. Police arrived in seven minutes; the robber didn’t get anything
    • Inspector Kinser: Shortened days are coming, as is the Christmas season. Be cautious and watch people in stores, take extra precautions
    • Officer Rivers: Many homeless people sit outside Publix and people making deposits to bank inside
    • Don’t carry an extreme amount of cash or handle your deposits more carefully
    • People have been seen knocking on doors, trying to figure out when people aren’t home. DO NOT HESITATE TO CALL THE POLICE WHEN YOU SEE THIS ACTIVITY!
    • Kinser said if you see people with bags as if they are stealing items or walking up on porches – call 911!
    • Anne Fauver asked what message we should give 911?
    • Kinser – “I see an attempted robbery and I have person in view.”
    • Call and stay on the line! Officers will go straight to address dispatched! Look what they are wearing, what direction the person goes, what type of car they might get into, etc.
    • The homeless are walking around the neighborhood, looking for work. Don’t hire someone off the streets.
    • People have been seen stealing bicycles off of front porches. Thieves are looking for easy pickings and large items for which they can get cash easily
    • Call about any homeless? No, only if they keep going to doors to see if residents are at home/walking around the back of a residence/looking in herby curbies. Don’t call if they are just walking down the street
    • If homeless are looking closely at a residence, the police call if casing a joint/looking for a future robbery scene. Call if it seems they are attemping to do something
    • Officer Kinser reiterated that 911 is emergency — and information. Use the number if you have some information to report
    • Question from neighborhood – what is happening with panhandlers?
      • Stewart from Atlanta Union Mission has been knocking on neighbors’ door asking for cash
    • Lot of requests to remove homeless from John Howell Park
      • Police are working on it and they have talked to Major Banda
    • Kinser introduced Phillip Pettus – chair of public safety; working on coordinated watch programs and email program
    • Cronin stated that we will buy something for the force with Summerfest funds
  5. Karen Handel
    • Cronin introduced her – Candidate for Chair, Fulton County Commission
      • Not an endorsement from the neighborhood
      • Handel encouraged residents to vote on Nov. 4
      • She offered to answer questions after the meeting
  6. Cynthia Gentry/Cunard Memorial Playground
    • City Parks Dept has really helped
    • Current playground will remain; will be pressure washed and dirt added around benches, etc.
    • New ground cover for playground area; won’t harm trees
    • Pieces made by KOMPAN; different pieces will be spread throughout the playground according to plan (photos were shown to the group)
    • Fire engine is the center piece – Max Cunard loved fire engines
    • Interactive for many ages and many or a few kids
    • Biggest piece – 9′ tall tower-like structure with components for younger, physically challenged and older kids
    • Playground doesn’t block out the sun – it is more open and see-through
    • Budget – Adding the recycled tires as the groundcover moves the budget from $60K to $130K
    • Recycled tires are permanent, won’t spread like mulch, is squishy and permeable
    • Volunteers raising moncy – raised $65,000 to date with matching $17K from VHCA
    • Oct. 21 – 27 restaurants from 5 p.m to close will donate 15% of all sales
    • Oct . 26 – Van Michael’s hair salon will offer $25 haircuts with 100% of money going to the playground
    • Nov. 15 – Build day (7 a.m. to dark) Equipment company will be on hand to direct the installation
    • Nov. 16 – Clean up
    • Nov. 22 – Rain date
    • On build day, volunteers will help with playground or other John Howell activities
    • Equipment has been ordered
    • City is doing all land prep work; all granite walls; all design, etc.
    • City will start work soon -last week of Oct.
  7. Summerfest
    • Applications available on line
    • Deadline is 1/30
    • Good artists want early notice
    • Grow artists down the street
    • Press releases across the Southeast promoting the event
  8. Anne Fauver
    • Self assigned task — to get bills collected that are owed to City
      • Water, sanitary fees
      • Complicated task
      • Will take some time
      • Anne will “keep going – like a bill in a china shop. “
      • Trying to get answers – City only has half the number of water meter readers
      • Next week – Anne hopes the number will be 100%
    • Noted the new parking meters in VaHi; Anne promised by next week the amount of time allowed on them will be longer than 30 minutes
    • Yard waste – hoping pick-up gets better , reorganizing department and beginning to see improvement
      • Adair, Ponce Terrace especially noted need for more frequent pick-ups
      • Some people are putting out stupid stuff – fences, bldg materials, etc.
      • One group of workers is focused on yard waste, one group focused on trash
    • Sidewalks
      • Long process; thanks for patience
      • Sandra Jennings promised cost estimates for sidewalks in VAHI by Oct. 15
      • City will evaluate what can be done
      • City cotractors are not scheduled to work until year end, but Anne is trying to get them to fit VAHI in schedule
      • Will be done in 1/04 if not now….
      • Cronin reiterated that the money from VHCA will come only when we get promise from city
      • Panhandling ordinance being redone
  9. New parks ordinance
    • Sleeping in Piedmont Park, but current ordinance doesn’t do all it should to keep people from sleeping there
    • Question from neighbors: What about sleeping in John Howell Park?
  10. Traffic
    • Third lane on N Highland is unnecessary
    • Anne suggests removing it and add more parking spots
  11. Question – airport name change?
    • No, Anne feels we should keep Hartsfield and name the new international terminal “Maynard Jackson”
    • However, Anne doesn’t think that approach will pass
    • Hartsfield’s name is in three-four place; Perhaps name the new street to the International Terminal as Jackson street; main entrance “Hartsfield-Jackson”
    • Other considerations – Cost of renaming? Possible statue of Hartsfield and Jackson at City Hall?
    • How will any of the initiatives be funded? Out of public art construction budget?
  12. Graffiti?
    • No answer
  13. Sizeable homeless population? Any master plan?
    • Mayor’s task force picked up
    • Old jail – transitional home for men
    • For drug programs, rehab programs, etc.
    • Encourage counties to provide shelters, etc.
    • Encourage churches to adopt families
    • Reunification project – get me connected with my family and get me off the street
  14. Crosswalk markers
    • VHCA would be willing to fund the city for more of them!
    • Need to set policy as to where they will go…..Schools, churches, fire station?
    • But if we put markers on very crosswalk, they will be meaningless. Don’t put on every corner!
    • Strategic positioning, but City determines where they go
    • How can VHCA get our sites marked?
    • Send recommendations to Anne and let city install them
    • Markers at Inman Middle School coming
    • The association asked if it would help to provide feedback/encouragement to get them installed?
    • Anne thinks the City has enough feedback
  15. Sidewalks
    • VHCA offers compensation, but John Craft and his wife walked North Highland to note which ones VHCA will take care of
    • If there is a bad sidewalk in front of a home, the City can cite the homeowner if it is reported.
    • Why can’t the City cite them? City doesn’t have the manpower….
    • Deputy program who can cite bldg code violations, including sidewalks
    • Example of Bay City – Homeowner’s responsibility! City cited you and if you did not repair the sidewalk, the city fixed it and billed the resident for sidewalk
    • Fauver – We don’t have city personnel to enforce that type of regulation.
    • VHCA — We can identify the problem but we can’t do anything about it.
    • Fauver — No personnel to supervise this type of project
    • VHCA — Why doesn’t the City hire contractors and just repair the sidewalks?
    • Fauver – City won’t touch it and there is no vehicle for enforcement
  16. New meeting date and time
    • First Mondays, beginning on Monday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Ponce Library



Planning and Zoning

  • V-03-260770 Ponce Terrace
    • Variance for porch 2′, 3″
    • Motion to approve
    • P&Z committee recommended approval conditioned on plans submitted
      Straw – 9 for; 0 against, 2 abstentions
    • Boards – Unanimous in approval
  • V-02-2701100 Virginia
    • Renovation and addition
    • Add second story to front
      Have two out or four letters from neighbors
    • P&Z committee recommended approval with all neighbors’ letters and site plan
    • Straw – 14/0/0
    • Board – unanimous in approval
  • V-03-278631 Park Drive
    • Second story addition
    • Coverage less than 50%
    • P&Z committee recommended approval based on site plan
      Straw – 13/0/0
    • Board-unanimous in approval
  • V-03-2871066 Maryland
    • Second story addition
    • Already over lot coverage, will work to reduce (120ft more)
      Gotten letters of approval from adjacent and other neighbors
    • Plan to renovate and resell
    • P&Z committee recommended approval based on site plan
    • Straw – 12/0/0
    • Board – unanimous in approval
  • Lot at Park Drive & ElmwoodOwner wishes to subdivide property at back of lot
    • Build second house as part of family compound; 1 house now, eventually two single-family houses
    • On its own lot so that in the future it could be sold as two lots
    • 13,900 main lot
    • Typically, take into consideration neighbor’s feelings
      Owner has planted trees, supported the antique rock wall
    • No variance on any new structure allowed for 1 year after subdivision
    • Driveway issues?
    • Will build in a year, look at those issues then
    • How many more houses/?
    • P&Z committee recommended approval of subdivision with neighbors’ OK
    • Straw – 11/0/0
    • Board – unanimous in approval


  • Hold until next mtg

Public Safety:

  • 4-yr. Lab shot by policeman by Village Market
  • Lab ran out of store
  • Didn’t use pepper spray, foot, etc, just shot the dog. No one saw the actual event
  • Didn’t use due diligence
  • Sgt. Pool investigating
  • Internal investigation
  • Fauver will look into it

Treasurer’s Report:

  • Great shape
  • Summerfest netted $150,000
  • Only outstanding is donation to Piedmont Park Conservancy — 2 for 1 match from donations VHCA residents make to Conservancy
  • Look to Park Drive entrance for improvements
  • Chip – bring plan to VHCA for funding projects
  • Tree plantings? Yes
  • $5,377 for sidewalk improvement
  • We’ll help ! Plus, it’s a city ordinance!
  • Total cost for 60-70 ft. $800-1,200 ($2.50 per sq ft)

Membership & Community Outreach:

  • Chip Gallagher announced that welcome packets were available for any new residents in the area.


  • Plantings, trees
  • Let Rob Clancy know if you have an area that needs more trees
  • Bottom of Cresthill – this Sat. 10/4 – Hands On Atlanta work day — 8:30 a.m or sign up at www.handsatlanta.org
  • Trees Atlanta annual tree sale is 10-/18 at Piedmont Park – come early at 8 a.m. to get the best choices
  • 11/1 – Clean up and planting at North Highland and Virginia island; we need to keep it fresh, it’s our showcase island
  • Parks committee is putting together a budget for JH Park
  • 830 Ponce – certification of occupancy is close, but developers must plant 50 trees in the neighborhood
  • 25 trees near Freedom Park by complex (2″ Chalk Maple)
  • 25 by Orme Park (larger beech trees, white oak, etc.)
  • Possibly give some to Park Drive for Piedmont Park entrance?
  • Anne: Shady Grove Park next to be renovated (Moreland & Oakdale on Ponce)
    • Playscape wasn’t safe
    • Olmstead Group wants no play equip there
    • Meeting to be held

Summerfest Committee:

  • 6/5 & 6/6
  • Artist apps already on the Web

Voice – Fall 2003

Sidewalk memorial to Cunard family

Download PDF (4.1 MB)

– Vote for your Board of Directors on September 3
– President’s Address by Steven Kushner (criticism of Atkins Park resident parking)
– Proposed amendment to VHCA bylaws
– Security patrol update, by Officer B. Miller, Jr.
– Virginia-Highland by the numbers, by Chip Gallagher
– Meet congressman John Lewis
– Pictures from Summerfest 2003
– Highland Hoer: Late summer gardening, by John Wolfinger
– First person: Barrel of Fun, by Robert Ramsay
– Picture of sidewalk memorial to Cunard family
– City arborist suggests ways to check on your trees’ health