July 26, 2018
APD-U’s Five-Year Return to Atlanta – Counting our Successes in the Westside
2018 marks APD-U’s five-year return of our firm in Atlanta with the preparation of the Westside TAD Strategic Implementation project. Since then the APD-U staff have had the opportunity to work in the westside communities with several of our clients and community stakeholders, building trust and a good reputation with each of them. This 5-year journey has been filled with a plethora of emotions for many of us as we try to implement positive change in the westside communities. During this time frame we have played a significant role in the success of our clients’ work including:
- Visioning Documents for four Westside Neighborhoods – English Avenue, Ashview Heights, Atlanta University Center, and Castleberry Hill – which helped guide recommendations for the Land Use Framework Plan and the Council District 3 Plan.
- Acquisition for the Mattie Freeland Community House and parks space with the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and the Trust for Public Land.
- Recommendations in the Westside TAD Plan for the development of a One- Stop Shop materialized through Westside Works.
- Technical assistance to the city of Atlanta and the Atlanta Housing Authority in their Choice Implementation Applications and Promise Zone Applications, both awarded.
- Property acquisition for Invest Atlanta’s Solicitation for Single Family Developers for 24 Westside Properties And 8 Multifamily Properties to create affordable housing for existing residents.
- Early Implementation of Homeowner Rehabilitation Program with the Arthur M. Blank Foundation, transferred to Invest Atlanta, now with a $2.4 million
- Creation of the first Community Retention Strategy in the city of Atlanta.
- Development and project implementation of the Anti-Displacement Tax Relief Fund Program.
- Hundreds of public and stakeholder meetings, amounting to thousands of hours for our team, building relationships with the Westside community.
As many of you know, our fearless leader seldom basks in the glory of our successes. We as planners know, we don’t do our work for the glory, but to improve the lives of people and the communities in which they live. The past five years have provided our staff with the opportunity to experience how planning and implementation really works paired with the intricacies of politics, relationships, and real-world dynamics. Our hope is to continue to have the opportunity to work in the Westside and to be part of exponential positive change for the residents and stakeholders that we work with.
“Our success begins and ends with the residents,” – John Ahmann, executive director of the Westside Future Fund. “