Panorama of my town

Panorama of my town

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Life for an Imperial Hotel

HURRAAAAY!!!  The beautiful Imperial Hotel will  be preserved.  I just LOVE it when creative and right minded people make good things happen.  Here is an example of how to preserve part of Atlanta's history AND provide downtown/transit oriented housing for 'working class' folk who want to work and live in-town.  

When I was a child Papa used to drive downtown every Sunday morning, to an ancient cigar shop on Baker St. and the ONLY place in town you could get a New York Times in the 1970s.  Sometimes I'd tag along and as we passed the Imperial Hotel my eyes would linger on the beautiful brick building with Tutor arches in the front.  While it was built sometime in the 20th century the renovation was really quite new, just 20 or so years before, but it looked distinguished and it felt so majestic and I would daydream about the people who lived in it and how exciting and fascinating their lives must be to live right on Peachtree St.

The beautiful building of my childhood fantasies was abandoned in the early 1980's but in 1990, and loooong before 'Occupy Wall St.', there was 'Occupy the Imperial' and thanks to the attention brought to it by homeless advocates and the precious heart of Atlanta's own Bruce Gunter, it was 'resurrected' in 1996 and used for affordable housing for over 10 years. An honorable and ambitious undertaking, but alas, this good deed was undone by the economy and the old hotel has now sat vacant for several years.

Foreclosure of the Imperial Hotel

But GOOD NEWS was just announced, now there will be new life breathed into this building and a second chance to keep affordable housing and economic diversity downtown!!!

Imperial Hotel preserved for moderate income housing

This ATL Gal is very appreciative to Columbia Residential and am pleased by a public policy that now encourages preservation over demolition (so NOT the policy just a few short years ago).  Once again there will be people living fascinating Peachtree St. lives in this cool old building in the heart of my favorite city.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Atlanta Mayor talks transportation to OTPers

Dear Mayor, I admire your patience. Once again, you went OTP trying to communicate with the 'outlanders'  the message that we are all one big regional economic engine for Georgia and we MUST work together if there is any hope of putting people back to work.

You are so good at explaining how fundamental it is to the ENTIRE metropolitan Atlanta region (NOT just City of Atlanta) we address both the reality AND the perception that commuting in Atlanta is such a nightmare. I'm sure they all nodded in agreement when you told them about how hard it is to talk to prospective employers about moving their companies to Atlanta when they are holding our commute time statistics in their hands. 'But we have a really cool airport!' is just not going to cut it if the CEOs knows their employees will spend over an hour getting to work each day. Everyone got that - right?

I'm pretty sure you didn't talk too much about how hard it is for people like me who live, work and play all within the City limits to ride MARTA 'cause it just doesn't take me where I need to go. About how great it would be to get my car off the city streets.  That's OK, I understand. OTPiums don't really care about anything except getting in and out of town as fast as they can.  But wait!  They are always complaining about the amount of traffic in downtown Atlanta!  Surely they were thrilled at the idea of fewer cars on our busy streets so they could get to the Fox faster....
 - right?

So, Mr Mayor, I hear they showed you appropriate southern hospitality and clapped after your speech. That's nice. So, just curious, did they agree to vote for the T-SPLOST?  Did you get the OTPits to listen to you like President Obama does?  I hope so 'cause this ATL Gal is voting FOR the T-SPLOST, but I think you are gonna need a lot more votes.

Atlanta mayor talks transportation - Neighbor Newspapers

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lights on under the Gold Dome

So this morning under the Dome, on this warm but rather dreary morning, they switched on the lights, dusted off some chairs, dropped a few (rather stupid) bills and started counting backwards from 40. And now it starts. Not much fanfare and no sirens went off (I live rather close by, so I think I would have heard them) but still I awoke thinking and wondering; what would I say if I had 5 minutes at the well?

My mind and heart falls quickly onto my dear friend Sen. Fort as I’d wish for him a speedy recovery and many more 'give em hell' years.

Can I be slightly hopeful that immigration reform conversations are turning (maybe, just maybe) to a more civil discourse now that our farmers are stating the obvious? I could appeal to the rising cost of food and the need to support local agriculture. I might wax philosophical and appeal for human hearts to be open to the plight of those who have come here looking for ‘the promised land’ much as most of our own ancestors did before.

I’d have to hold my tongue firmly as I reminded dogmatic legislators to please remember, it’s my body, I was born with it alone, I will die with it alone. Please leave it alone and let me decide what is best for my family.

Mostly though, I’d thank those men and women who have open hearts and open minds and who fight the good fight against ridiculous odds. Legislators like Nan, Margaret, Kathy, Stacy, Simone, Vincent, Mary Margaret, Pat… you are my heros. You start the session on your feet and keep swinging for the full 40 days and I love you for it. I’d promise to be in your corners. Raise money for you. Get the vote out for you. Do my part so you can keep swinging.

And so to my friends in Georgia, I’ll be knocking on your doors soon and asking for your financial support 'cause this ATL Gal is ready to rumble!