VaHi’s Newest Urgent Care Clinic Pitches In to Fight Graffiti

The chair of the VHCA graffiti task force is recognizing new VaHi business WellStreet Urgent Care for contributing to the effort to fight graffiti in the neighborhood.

“This is a huge shout-out to WellStreet located at the corner of Ponce and Barnett (in the old Blockbuster building) for getting rid of the graffiti tags on the retaining wall abutting their property,” says task force chair Laura Voisinet.

“Like Blockbuster before them,” Voisinet says, “WellStreet continues the tradition of pitching in and cleaning up to rid our neighborhood of graffiti and litter. They are a prime example of a business embracing and enhancing our beloved neighborhood.”

Scroll down to see before and after pictures of the retaining wall.

Welcome to the neighborhood, WellStreet Urgent Care!



Keep VaHi Beautiful Volunteers Have Successful Clean-Up Day

By: Kay Stephenson

As the sky slowly lightened on a recent crisp fall morning in Virginia-Highland, volunteers assembled in the parking lots at the south end of the neighborhood. Tools were unloaded, bags and gloves donated by Keep Atlanta Beautiful were distributed, and, to the sounds of a leaf blower doing its thing outside Neighbor’s Pub, we were off.

From the MARTA stop on the north side of Ponce De Leon Avenue to the triangle at N. Highland and Virginia avenues, volunteers picked up bag after bag of bottles, food wrappers, cigarette butts and the assorted detritus that accumulates every day in our neighborhood. We whacked, raked, and sprayed weeds, and scraped off stickers while saying a big thank you to Intown Ace Hardware for donating scrapers.

Graffiti Task Force volunteers worked for hours to remove tags on three sides of the Hilan Theater building, and to repaint metal doors and dumpsters.  Kudos once more to Intown Ace for providing supplies and to Atkins Park and Surin for the use of their water.

Both the streetscape and the parking lots received much attention, including a few spots that haven’t seen any love for a very long time. Wellspring Treasures coordinated the participation of a youth group from Peachtree Presbyterian Church, and the kids were a bundle of energy making short work of the alley that runs between St. Charles and Greenwood. The pictures tell the clean-up tale better than any words can (see below).

When we were finished (for this day, as this is an on-going effort), Surin of Thailand had a delicious hot lunch waiting for us, and we all tucked in upstairs at the Indie-pendent. The best part is the knowledge that many business owners have made the commitment to keep their part of the neighborhood looking great. Some that could not join us for Saturday’s event still made an extra effort to get their own property ship shape for our clean-up day.

The Graffiti Task Force and the Keep Virginia Highland Beautiful team want to thank our volunteers and contributors for such a fun and productive event. We look forward to continued improvements to both commercial and residential areas of Virginia-Highland, and hope that the next time we plan an event the whole neighborhood can join in!

Here are pictures of the walls of the Hilan Theatre prior to graffiti removal:

And here are pictures of the same walls, after graffiti removal:

Graffiti Task Force chair Laura Voisinet works on a dumpster in the area behind the Hilan Theatre.

Volunteer David Berl scrubs down a wall of the Hilan Theatre building.

Volunteer Jimmy Lee needs a ladder to reach an especially bad section of graffiti on one of the Hilan Theatre walls.

Graffiti fighters John Wolfinger and Jimmy Lee take a break for some fun with the sprayer.

Here are some pictures of the trash-strewn areas around the St. Charles commercial node prior to clean-up:

And here are the same areas post clean-up:

Weed abatement specialist Bob Coomes – decked out in his best Louisville Cardinal red and with a jug of Roundup in hand – did his best to eradicate invasives along N. Highland from Ponce to the triangle at Virginia Avenue. Here are shots of Bob in action:

Volunteer Roger Harris cleans-up under a bench at the triangle while Bob Coomes chases down more pesky weeds.

No piece of trash escapes volunteer Roger Harris' discerning eye.


Volunteers Needed for Keep VaHi Beautiful Clean-Up Event

The recently-formed Keep Virginia-Highland Beautiful group is planning a Business Resident Clean Up Day for this Saturday October 20 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The group is seeking volunteers to assist with the clean-up effort.

The event is planned as part of a major cleanup of the neighborhood before the kick-off of the holiday season. A collaborative effort between residents and property and business owners, the group will work together to clear weeds, pick up litter, and remove graffiti from around commercial buildings in Virginia-Highland. About 30 teen volunteers from a youth group are already committed to help on Satruday, but the group desperately needs adult volunteers to help coordinate the activities of the young people.

Please visit the group’s Facebook page to sign up to participate. Click on Events, Business/Resident Clean Up Day, and Going. If you can help with coordinating youth volunteers by leading a group of 4-5, please contact Kay Stephenson directly at

Volunteers should meet in the Neighbor’s Pub parking lot at 8:00 a.m. this Saturday October 20. Please bring work gloves, rakes, clippers, and scrapers (for removing stickers from signs). If you own a gas powered weed whacker or leaf blower, this would be a real plus.

Keep Atlanta Beautiful is donating trash bags and latex gloves.


Volunteers Fight Graffiti on Maiden Lane

By Laura Voisinet, VaHi Graffiti Task Force –

Friday afternoon when most of us were gearing up for the Labor Day holiday, a small but mighty group of neighbors came together to clean up an eyesore along Maiden Lane.

Led by St Charles Ave. west end Street Captain Mike Boyle, and joined by Safety Chair John Wolfinger, power washer extraordinaire Jimmy Lee and highly capable volunteers David Berl, David Binkney, and Todd Matthews, the 755 Apartment Building got its much-needed makeover. With a fence soon to be erected by the owner, this property should remain clean and no longer be a magnet for taggers on the alley.

Thanks around to all, but especially to Mike for spearheading this effort on behalf of his block and our entire neighborhood. We think you’ll agree that Street Captains in Virginia-Highland are a tremendous asset in a myriad of ways!

Speaking of Maiden Lane, here’s an AJC article from 2008 by Voice contributor John Becker that provides insight as to how some involved VaHi residents and then-City Councilperson Anne Fauver were able to bring some much needed improvements to this forgotten VaHi street.




Voice – August 2012 – City Installs New Signage Along North Highland Avenue

By: John Becker

Thanks to the efforts of VHCA Graffiti Task Force chair Laura Voisinet, city workers recently installed ten shiny new traffic signs along North Highland Avenue. A new speed limit sign and new fluorescent signs warning motorists to look for pedestrians in the crosswalk replace ones that were damaged and plastered with stickers and graffiti. Several mid-crosswalk pedestrian warning signs were also replaced or repaired, and signage was added alerting motorists to the possible presence of senior pedestrians.

“The new signage is the result of a fruitful exchange between our task force, the city of Atlanta’s graffiti task force, and the city’s public works department,” says Voisinet.

“We want to especially thank Officer Brad Etterle, the Atlanta Police Department’s designated graffiti abatement officer, and Keith Fleming, chair of the city’s graffiti task force, for helping get these signs installed and for their ongoing help fighting graffiti in our neighborhood,” Voisinet adds.

Voisinet encourages all residents to help keep the new signs looking good by removing any stickers that are applied, and contacting the task force at to report any tagging that needs to be removed.

Way to go Laura and task force!

City of Atlanta workers recently replaced damaged and tagged street signs like the two above on North Highland Avenue…

…with brand new fluorescent signs like the ones in the photos below.


North Highland Avenue Trash Walk May 19th

Laura Voisinet, our VaHi graffiti task force leader, has announced a session to get our main street ready to welcome thousands of VaHi visitors to both Streets Alive! on May 20th and Summerfest on June 2nd and 3rd. Meet at the Intown Hardware parking lot at 9 a.m. on the 19th with your gloves ready to do some serious cleaning. Good opportunity for high school students needing community service hours and also a good family activity for all ages. This is all part of the “broken window” theory of crime prevention for our community.


Voice – Summer 2012

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

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


Graffiti News

From Laura Voisinet, our VaHi graffiti task force leader – ” Spring brings with it an uptake in stickers and tags on traffic signs, utility boxes, benches and poles. Let’s all pitch in to clean up as they arise.
Remove Stickers: Lift off new stickers using a utility scraper. Scrub old stickers off with scrapers and kitchen scouring pads.
Remove Tags: This is the “trickiest” – chemicals that remove painted tags can also remove paint on signs. Proceed gingerly dabbing with Motsenbacker’s 4 or using Safety Wipes available from the VaHi Graffiti Taskforce. E-mail Laura for your kit, instruction included.
Report: E-mail reports of new vandalism as well as supply requests to


Voice – Fall 2011

Download PDF here (2.0 MB)

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


Voice – Spring 2011

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– Tree planting
– Neighborhood responds to recent crime wave
– Volunteers
– Orme Park construction
– Sidewalks/walkability
– FBAC doubles patrol area
– Home Tour success
– Graffiti task force update
– History Part X


Voice – Winter 2010-11

Published late November 2010
Download PDF (1.8 MB)

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


Graffiti News

Our anti-graffiti squad is really making headway at erasing this urban vandalistic painting from our streetscapes by asking commercial property owners to please remove this defacement, and just being out there on a regular basis painting over or erasing paint from public property spots such as utility poles, traffic signs, etc and they are to be commended from all of us. If you have questions as to how to join in, e-mail the team co-captains Laura Voisinet and Victoria Hathcox at or check removal tips, etc at Other graffiti info available at and scroll down to the “graffiti hurts” section

Interesting article about Inman Park graffiti at as to some after-effects stemming from the Urban Walls event last weekend.


Our Graffiti Team

I just learned that Jared Marber, who had stepped forward to lead this important neighborhood initiative has to step away. We have 30 some concerned folks ready to do attack – we just need a new lead person now. Let me know at if you would like to take charge of this enthusiastic group. In the meantime, there is no reason you can’t just go out on your own and erase some of this urban vandalism. In addition to Easy-Off oven cleaner, I have found a terrific product at Intown Hardware called Goof Off graffiti remover. Jimmy Lee and I used it to remove graffiti paint from the stone pillars in Atkins Park.


City Hall East Graffiti

In case you have not yet been on PDL Avenue lately and seen the disgusting graffiti defacement on 3 sides of the tower – the building was entered one night late last week by an unknown number of vandals, who managed to get to the top of the building and must have spent several hours up there doing their dirty work. The City though has responded quickly and is in the process of enacting the following steps – they are soliciting bids for the paint removal, the underbrush is to be removed on the PDL Avenue side of the parking garage, an additional private security person is being added on all three shifts for patrol inside and outside, the fence along the BeltLine side of the building is being repaired and enhanced (razor wire I hope), the a/c, as well as interior lighting, is to be turned off to make the interior less desirable for camping, and Zone 5 will now make hourly visual checks and will issue criminal trespass warnings or make arrests as needed. I have always worried about fire in this building and hopefully these security measures will minimize the chances of this happening now, and minimize the risk to we the taxpayers until the final sale of this building is completed. It is a shame though, that this graffiti attack had to happen to enact these security changes.

Speaking of graffiti – don’t forget the organizational meeting of our local Graffiti Team at the Warren City Club on North Highland Avenue at 7 on the 23rd. Your help is needed to battle this growing scourge on our city-scape. Direct any questions to


Our New Graffiti TaskForce

This group has an organizational meeting planned for June 23rd at 7 at the Warren City Club on North Highland Avenue atop the Dark Horse at 7 p.m. A plan will be developed and work teams assembled to fight this thoughtless urban vandalism this is becoming more prevalent here. If you are interested in helping with this effort – make plans to attend and ask questions at


Graffiti TaskForce Ready to Take Action

I am pleased to announce that we now have the core team ready to take action against this urban vandalism that is becoming more prevalent here in our neighborhood. The goal is to 1. work with city agencies to manage and reduce graffiti 2. ask merchants/building owners to promptly remove graffiti 3. ask community members to actively report, watch for and help clean graffiti. Moving forward – this group plans to have a kick-off meeting (planned for June) but with immediate communication with volunteers as of next week. This group will also issue reports with listings of graffiti locations, clean-up activities and community updates. To join up, simply e-mail with the subject line “volunteer” and you will be added to the distribution list. There already has been a lot of interest in controlling this criminal activity before it becomes worse.


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 – Spring 2004

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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?