NOVEMBER 15, 2017 ANNUAL MEETING
Election of Officers and Directors
Immediately prior to the Annual Meeting, the Alliance’s Board of Directors elected Sadler Poe to a one-year term as president of the Alliance. As one of his first official acts, Sadler thanked James Worrell, the outgoing president, for his many contributions to the Alliance and the neighborhood including the resurrection of the Alliance when its prior president had fallen ill and for working tirelessly to improve the intersections of Peachtree Battle with Peachtree Road and with Northside Drive. At both intersections he succeeded in having the City and the State DOT install left-turn, straight-ahead and right-turn lanes on Peachtree Battle, improvements that greatly facilitated the flow of traffic.
The members also elected three new directors—Kirk Rankin, Alec Michaelides and Molly Childers—and reelected seven members—Justin Amick, Parker Blanchard, Susan Hamilton, Susan Sandler, Mary Kelly Speed, John Thornton and Gerry Woodruff. As a result of the election, the board now has 24 members who represent all streets in the neighborhood and who reflect its demographics. Sadler thanked the three retiring members—Laura Spearman, Mary Calhoun and James Worrell—for their service.
Impactful Neighborhood Projects for 2018
During 2018 five significant projects will impact our neighborhood—mostly for the better—but our neighbors on Woodward Way will experience the impact more than most of us. The five projects are:
The PATH Foundation Trail
The reconstruction of the Bobby Jones golf course
The bridges over Peachtree Creek at Northside Drive
The renovation and repurposing of the Bobby Jones clubhouse
The addition of a new park on the land adjacent to the clubhouse
The PATH Foundation will commence work on the trail along Woodward Way around the first of the year. The work will result in a significant and permanent narrowing of Woodward Way from the Northside Drive intersection up to the point the trail turns to follow the creek behind the Bobby Jones clubhouse. About the same time, PATH will start construction of a new bridge over Peachtree Creek near Dellwood in order to connect the new trail with the existing trail behind Colonial Homes. PATH expects to complete the new trail by June 1, 2018, but until then, it would be a good idea to avoid driving along that part of Woodward Way.
Complicating this situation even more is the reconstruction of the golf course, which is already underway. The grading and construction will all take place on the south side of Peachtree Creek, so the heavy equipment should not affect our neighborhood. But the contractor for the golf course will have a construction trailer behind the existing clubhouse, and the parking lot for the clubhouse will be used as a staging area. The Bobby Jones Foundation, which is responsible for building the new golf course, assures us that the construction will have minimal impact on the neighborhood, but we can anticipate some additional traffic along Woodward Way and roads connecting it to Peachtree Battle. The Foundation’s goal is to have most golf course construction completed by July 1, 2018.
Later in the year a new pedestrian bridge will be constructed over Peachtree Creek at the intersection of Woodward Way, Sagamore Drive and Northside Drive. The pedestrian bridge is a prelude to the replacement of the existing vehicular bridge at that intersection because the utilities under the existing bridge will be relocated to the pedestrian bridge. Later still G-DOT will begin the replacement of the existing vehicular bridge. No definite date has been set for the commencement of the replacement project, but current plans call for Northside Drive to be closed during the estimated 5-month duration of the project. The Alliance is working to convince G-DOT and the City that closing Northside Drive is not an acceptable idea. Whether Northside Drive is closed or not, the new bridge will be high enough to allow a path under it that will connect the east and west sides of Memorial Park, thereby allowing our neighbors to access the trails and playground on the other side of Northside Drive without having to deal with the traffic.
And there is still more. A group led by our neighbor Alex Simmons is well underway with plans to convert the Bobby Jones clubhouse into a venue for chamber music performances as well as practice/teaching space for musicians. They have received commitments for the threshold amount required by the City for them to negotiate a memorandum of understanding (the equivalent of a lease) for the use of the site. The Alliance is supportive of their efforts because they will preserve the existing building and add a new cultural amenity to the neighborhood all without significant adverse impact. It is too early to determine when this group will start its construction activity, but it could possibly be the early summer of 2018, when the work on the trail and the golf course is near completion, is a reasonable guess.
Finally the Alliance is working with the chamber music group and the Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy to develop the land surrounding the clubhouse as a passive park. Plans are preliminary at this point, but in concept the site would be planted with native trees and perhaps a pollinator garden. There is also a space that seems appropriate for a neighborhood gathering area. In the coming months the Alliance will seek neighborhood input. The Alliance hopes that plans could be final and that work could begin in the fall.
There is obviously a lot going on along Woodward Way, but when the dust settles this time next year, our neighborhood will be adjacent to or include a significant new trail system that connects to the Beltline, a new passive park that will bring a beautiful natural amenity to the neighborhood, a significant new cultural amenity and a first class golf course that’s mere minutes from the farthest home in the neighborhood. No neighborhood in the City will be able to match us.
Our membership drive kicks off in January, and the Alliance will make a concerted effort to expand the percentage of neighbors who become members. We will keep you apprised of our plans as they develop, but if you have any ideas, please send an email to Sadler Poe (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Annual Meeting included several other points of interest. James Worrell thanked Yolanda Adrean, our representative on the City Council, for her exceptional service to the neighborhood, including her help with the redesign of the two Peachtree Battle intersections, the storm water and sewer improvements along Peachtree Creek and the improved parks in the neighborhood. Yolanda, who is retiring in January, introduced her successor, J.P. Matzigkeit, who promised to continue the great service and cooperation Yolanda has provided the neighborhood over the last eight years.
Jeff Baxter of the Atlanta Police Department and our neighborhood patrol, reported on the success of the new cameras and tag readers that the City has placed in the neighborhood. According to Jeff, crime in the neighborhood is down thanks to this new equipment. Although Jeff did not take any credit for his neighborhood patrol, members of the board are convinced that the patrol deserves significant credit for the relative lack of crime in the neighborhood. Following the axiom that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, Jeff also reminded the members to lock their cars, to be wary of persons soliciting at their doors and to call 911 if they see suspicious activity.
Treasurer Norman DuPre reported that the Alliance is in good financial health. He predicted that the Alliance would finish the year only slightly in the red, and that because the board had approved unanticipated expenditures in connection with parks and neighborhood parties. Even so, the Alliance would have a healthy balance in its account. He noted that the primary expenditures of the Alliance are for the neighborhood patrol and for maintaining parks.
At the end of these reports, the annual meeting was adjourned.