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January 2013 “Creating a Vibrant Community” Volume 2 Issue 13 8 Our West End Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 13 Our West End Newsletter Stable Community, Stable School By Brent Brewer “Buckhead has the type of ‘stable cluster’ of student population to serve students from preschool through graduation without a drop-off in quality.” – APS Superintendant Errol Davis. Situated at the geographic heart of Atlanta Public Schools (APS), our neighborhood elementary school, M.A. Jones, serves as a model for a stable APS school. In the 2012-2013 academic year, APS created a school cluster model by paring down schools with low enrollment and redistributing school zones. From the remaining schools, nine clusters were formed. Each cluster is composed of dedicated elementary schools feeding dedicated middle schools and ultimately into dedicated high schools. Fortunately, M.A. Jones’ district boundary has remained unchanged. We share this distinction with high performing schools in North Atlanta and Candler Park. Unlike North Atlanta and Candler Park schools, M.A. Jones’s stability was achieved amongst heavy redistricting in Northwest and Southwest Atlanta prompted by shifting student populations, according to an APS demographic study. Like West End’s definitive boundaries (I-20, Beltline, MARTA), M.A. Jones’ district boundary appears equally well conceived. Since West End is a desired destination for households with school-aged children, the school has had healthy enrollment (>450 students) for years. With a variety of public charter school options (Kindezi and Kipp), in close proximity, the school has not been in danger of overcrowding like North Atlanta and Candler Park schools. Furthermore, the retention of M.A. Jones’ boundary has had a stabilizing effect on bordering elementary schools whose boundaries have also remained unchanged. We are happy that the 500+ students at M.A. Jones won’t have to worry that their neighborhood school will be split up or expanded. For more information on our APS school cluster, see sidebar on page 2. 2 Our West End Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 13 Our West End Newsletter 7 By Jamie Kaufman Community is not a collection of buildings, a group of dwelling places, a coming together of properties… no matter how eclectic… Community is not addresses and streets, signs and gutters, curbs and street lights… no matter how shiny and new… Community is not rules and regulations, businesses and institutions, or a collection of bricks in a wall… no matter how uniform… Community is integrity, character and joy, it is that which is unique and dwells within the heart and is lived out on the streets in their diversity… Community is energy, dynamic – ever changing it is growth and evolution, the development of souls… a collection of selves… unique and unified… Community is the people, coming together to lift each other up, selflessly, which is true power to encourage, accept and embrace the other - true love… Community is what happens when we strive, not for what we can get, attain, achieve or keep for self, but for what we can bring out in EACH OTHER for EACH OTHER… Community is not the empty and dead things, no matter how perfect their appearance, Community is the fullness of living beings, uniquely genuine and real – the fullness of life together. Embrace, Enhance, Exhibit and Encourage Community here. What is Community? Mayor Reed, “I enthusiastically support West End.” Fire Station #7 Mayor Reed announced that $1.5 million have been committed to renovate the historic structure and to reopen it as an emergency services facility serving this corridor and the adjacent interstate system. The renovated structure will have multi-purpose community rooms for use by residents and organizations. To show his commitment to renovate and reopen the building as an EMS facility as soon as possible, Mayor Reed said the contract would be let within 140 days. In 2008, in spite of being one of the top five busiest fire stations in the city, then-Mayor Shirley Franklin announced the closing of Fire Station #7 due to financial issues facing the city. While Mayor Reed proudly announced the city has $120 million in cash reserves today and is in a very different place financially compared to the $7.4 million on hand when he took office three years ago, he, like his predecessor, stated it is not financially feasible for Fire Station #7 to operate as a fully functioning Fire Station (with engine/ladder and crews) due to the annual operating cost of $3.5 - $4.0 million. “It is far more expensive and not judged needed by Fire leadership”. According to the Mayor, “providing emergency ambulatory care is realistic and sustainable.” Mayor Reed’s Accomplishments Presented with a well-deserved hint of bravado, Mayor Reed passionately contrasted the state of the city today versus when he took reign three years ago – healthy cash reserves, less than 100 people murdered per year for the last three years, 605 police officers hired, unemployment at 8.5% versus 10.2%, and a record level of women- and minority-owned companies doing business with the city and at the airport. Going Forward Two upcoming initiatives were revealed to the group. While answering questions posed by the audience, the Mayor shared plans for a women’s entrepreneurial initiative, called Women Start-Up Atlanta, which will be housed in the old Marietta Street AJC building that was donated to the city. Additionally, to fund plans for Atlanta’s first ever “above-the-ground infrastructure investment initiative,” Mayor Reed announced plans to go to the capital markets for approximately $250 million to fund infrastructure such as sidewalks and expanded greenspaces. ~ ~ ~ The West End Merchants Coalition meets monthly on the last Thursday of the month from 7:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. For information, please visit www.westendmerchantsatl.com. Love Brown Middle School! Do not forget to support all our traditional public schools: M.A. Jones Elementary Washington High School 6 Our West End Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 13 Our West End Newsletter 3 Just a Glance Away ... Miss your weekend jaunts to the farmer’s market for organic food? Our friends at The Boxcar Grocer have got you covered. Alison and Alphonzo Cross, The Boxcar Grocer co-founders, are making eating local and eating well easy by hosting intown Atlanta’s first indoor farmer’s market. The Boxcar Grocer believes farmer’s markets create a healthy community. Farmers and local producers have a place to sell their produce during winter months when the outdoor markets fall off. Especially during flu season, people are able to stave off illness by having access to the freshest, most nutrient-dense foods that have traveled less than two miles to get here. That’s sustainability. Come to the market and connect with some of your favorite vendors (including West End’s Patchwork Farms and Tassili’s Raw Reality) in the warm, cozy atmosphere of Boxcar. Does winter have you nestled into some home repair projects? Don’t call your local dumpster diver for cheap material and architectural finds. Lifecycle Building Center (LBC) has what you need. The LBC retail store at 1116 Murphy Avenue SW saves you money on building materials needed to improve our housing stock. LBC is a new Atlanta-based nonprofit organization which diverts reusable building materials from landfills through salvage and deconstruction efforts, with deeply discounted materials available to the general public and free materials provided to schools and other nonprofits. In their first year, LBC accomplished: 135,000 pounds of material diverted from landfills $580,000 in material cost savings to the community Castleberry Hill Farmer’s Market Intown’s Only Indoor Market Thursdays 4pm to 8pm Sundays 11am to 4pm Boxcar Grocer 249 Peters St SW, Atlanta, GA 30313 www.boxcargrocer.com Lifecycle Building Center Boxcar Grocer 1116 Murphy Avenue SW Atlanta, GA 30313 The Lifecycle Building Center (LBC) Retail Store Tuesdays 10am to 6pm Fridays 10am to 6pm See inventory (www.lifecyclebuildingcenter.org/shop) The newsletter is published monthly. 1000 copies were printed in Jan. 2013. Copies are hand-delivered, free-of -charge, to all residents in the Historic West End neighborhood. Copies are also available at West End Library and West End Print Shop. Our volunteers: Denise Blake, Brent Brewer, Jamie Kaufman, Beth McBee, Paulette Richards and Kay Wallace, and our many neighborhood distributors. To advertise, submit stories or distribute, contact Brent Brewer at 404.447.0282 or firstname.lastname@example.org. About The Newsletter 4 Our West End Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 13 Our West End Newsletter 5 Mayor Reed Proclaims, “It is West End’s time!” strategically located between Downtown Atlanta and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, short train ride from the 488-acre Fort McPherson Redevelopment, and a neighbor to the world- renowned Atlanta University Center, home to four Historically Black Colleges and Universities – proven economic engines. These assets, coupled with the Mayor’s commitment for support, perfectly position the West End community for “an undeniable, forward trajectory.” Mayor Reed said, “I encourage businesses who are here to stay here!” West End Community Improvement District (WE-CID) Mayor Reed applauded the vision and hard work of the West End Merchants Coalition to champion the formation of a Community Improvement District. Once formed, he promised to work with WE-CID to support the transformation of the community, signaling access to the city’s cash reserves and resources to leverage the CID’s funds. The WE-CID will be the first CID in Southwest Atlanta. Other communities with successful CIDs are Midtown, Buckhead and Perimeter. WEMC’s goal is to have legislation introduced by Council member Cleta Winslow in May 2013. (continued page 7) By Kay Wallace On November 27th, over 100 people attended the West End Merchants Coalition’s (WEMC) monthly meeting to hear Mayor Kasim Reed’s views on the future of West End, the anticipated West End Community Improvement District (WE-CID), and the future of the currently closed Fire Station #7. Mayor Reed shared his personal ties to West End. He reminded everyone that he lives about nine minutes from where he was standing, that his mayoral campaign headquarters was located here, and that his personal bank account has always been at Capitol City Bank and Trust Company on Lee Street. With a rhythmic cadence, the Mayor impressively outlined the assets of West End – historic community, existing transportation infrastructure, Fire Station No. 7 Rendering by J.W. Robinson & Associates shest, most nutrient-dense foods that have traveled less than two miles to get here. That’s sustainability. Come to the market and connect with some of your favorite vendors (including West End’s Patchwork Farms and Tassili’s Raw Reality) in the warm, cozy atmosphere of Boxcar. Does winter have you nestled into some home repair projects? Don’t call your local dumpster diver for cheap material and architectural finds. Lifecycle Building Center (LBC) has what you need. The LBC retail store at 1116 Murphy Avenue SW saves you money on building materials needed to improve our housing stock. LBC is a new Atlanta-based nonprofit organization which diverts reusable building materials from landfills through salvage and deconstruction efforts, with deeply discounted materials available to the general public and free materials provided to schools and other nonprofits. In their first year, LBC accomplished: 135,000 pounds of material diverted from landfills $580,000 in material cost savings to the community Castleberry Hill Farmer’s Market Intown’s Only Indoor Market Thursdays 4pm to 8pm Sundays 11am to 4pm Boxcar Grocer 249 Peters St SW, Atlanta, GA 30313 www.boxcargrocer.com Lifecycle Building Center Boxcar Grocer 1116 Murphy Avenue SW Atlanta, GA 303