The Rebirth of Slick…

http://genius.com/Digable-planets-rebirth-of-slick-cool-like-dat-lyrics

Needless to say, I am in a reminiscent state. I would blame it on “Throw Back Thursday”, however I’ve been falling into this state every time I sit in our office on RDA and look out the window. It’s a bit emotional. I get emotional when I think of how far we (community, colleagues and myself) have come, in a short period of time. Reviewing the work done to get us here is even more overwhelming.  However, the joggers on the Beltline, festivals in the parks and multiple offers on a single home have been the reward and just the tip of the iceberg.

Let me back up for those who are new to the Rebirth of my SW ATL..

2004

A trip home to Brooklyn NY, changed my life.  I was very aware of the on going transformation in Harlem since the 90’s.

.. I saw it…I heard of it.. however, I did not live it since I didn’t frequent Harlem. It was something happening “over there”..as if Harlem was another Country and certainly something that would not impact me.

In the 90’s, I was comfortable living in Bed-Stuy. I had a 3rd floor Brownstone apartment , paying $800(all inclusive) a month and thinking THAT was too high since it was technically ONLY 1.5 bedrooms,a livingroom, eat in kitchen, hall and bathroom with skylights,  walk thru his/her dressing area equipped with marble sinks and builtin dressers. How dare my 80yr old landlord share her old house with ONLY my 2 person family and expect us to pay all that?

Yup…Hindsight is 20/20.

During this trip home,a visit to 592 Decatur Street was priority as she was now 90, and had not seen my daughter in 3 years.  It felt wonderful to really be home. I mean, truly home- with all the same sights, sounds, smells and yes, NY dirt I love. I was home and taking full advantage of everything. I had franks from the food CART (no truck needed to cart boiling water and buns), an authentic FRESHLY MADE Beef Patti from real Jamaicans (not the box from the supermarket), Gyro from the Gyro King off 34th St, a Hero sandwich from the corner Bodega (who already knew American cheese is suppose to be YELLOW) and a Mystic drink. Nothing disappointed me- it all was just as I had remembered and longed for.

Sitting on the stoop “people watching” was a nice evening pass time. Something I missed and still miss (Atlanta does not have stoops, most drive everywhere and if we had stoops, the mosquito’s would run us off!)  However, there were many faces I did not recognizeMy ex-landlord was quick to fill in the blanks with all the gossip (after all, she lived there over 50yrs and knew everything)  “..she’s a doctor. That’s Ms. So& So daughter-she took over the house when her mom died, he’s the baby of the family-he’s grown now and has a wife home…”  I didn’t mind listening one bit, she took pride in knowing and was happy that EVERYONE KNEW HER.  I did notice some passing did not receive any recognition or introduction, despite their evening greeting. They were polished. A different race. And looked out of place, based on my memory of the street. Her only comment on this, “… Brooklyn is changing…like what they did in Harlem. My taxes have gone up…”

We were silent.

It was a sad moment for me to feel her unspoken fears.  I did not know how to reassure her.

What could I possibly reassure? She was 90, I was 27. She lived longer and saw more.

Change is inevitable.

My return back to Atlanta was refreshing. I HATE to admit this, but I was tired after NY and welcomed the slower pace, a house with central AC and the stillness nightfall brought. I had come to find peace in the predictability of stores closing, transit stopping and people being indoors by a certain time.

But, my soul longed for a balance.

………to be continued next Throw Back Thursday

NeighborWorks, when Neighbors Work

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About 3 years ago  I was able to spend a week attending a NeighborWorks community development/stabilization conference and classes.  A few weeks prior, I found out I was pregnant with my 3rd child. I KNEW it would not be easy to attend as all of my pregnancies have been “high risk”, however  “not easy “  was an understatement.  In between violently vomiting (all day “morning sickness”), sharp muscle spasms in my back,  and having a condition which produced excessive  saliva, I was able to network with others dedicated to community development and rebuilding blighted urban areas.  It was one of the most draining and yet- exciting times in my life, especially being that it was held in New Orleans….a city not fully recovered from the Katrina devastation. 

I can not believe that was nearly 3 years ago. Ironically,  like in childbirth the pains and hardship one endures in that time (before and during labor) become a memory, once that which you anticipate has arrived.  Now, it’s just the growing pains.

We have  hundreds of  Non-Profits in the West End of Atlanta and many new businesses come to our NPU seeking support with this status and mission to help rebuild. Most claim to do  community development, or provide homebuyer resources.  Honestly, I have seen very little impact from any agency within my neighborhoods.  Yes, we do have UCDC (University Community Development Corporation) who have successfully participated in the NSP program-  rehabed and resold homes to a few owner occupants. However, the success ratio of these non-profits make it very difficult for me to support them.

 Why are those who have made it their business to redevelop communities limited in their accomplishments? Some will say they are lacking financial resources (grants are limited) and others may be lacking support.  I personally believe the “business” of  community development can not be a 9-5 Mon- Friday business alone.   There were many things I learned during the week in New Orleans,  one thing that resonates throughout my community is that a stabilized safe  neighborhood can not be built without resident involvement.  In our communities, what I do see are  neighbors with no affiliation to anything, nor  “C3’s”   bringing in new residents, orchestrating clean ups, and public safety meetings.

 In that spirit, this January 2013, Area West Realty will  join with  “Committed To Communities” in their event sponsored by The Beltline Team, Invest Atlanta and Wells Fargo Neighborhood Lift on a mission to support our neighbors with their efforts of community development.   During this time, we will showcase available homes,  affordability programs and some of the best features in our communities.  We are making available, the City of Atlanta, bank reps and * RRC for one on one (no-strings-attached) conversations.  We only need YOU

Mark your calendar January 12th for this event. We appreciate our neighbors and will have special “Thank You’s” for YOUR community development efforts.  ( more information to come).

Side Note:

Reynoldstown Revitalization Corporation, or RRC has successfully helped many potential home owners work on their credit, understand the home buying and ownership process.

I  also encourage those in the business, and neighbors NOT in the business,  to invest in additional training at NeighborWorks America.  The information received is priceless, the connections made will change lives.

For information on past Committed to Communities events.

Happy Thanksgiving from Area West Realty!

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!

Pottery Barn Turkey
Pottery Barn Holiday Home Decor

Thank you for allowing us to be apart of your life, and assist in one of the biggest transactions of a lifetime.

We are Thankful for the opportunity to serve within these great communities.

We are grateful to have your support as we grow, and  humbled by your willingness to give countless hours to develop our brand.

Area West Realty will continue to work hard and continue to be committed to developing communities!

Are we there yet?

Ever felt like you were on the heels of greatness? 

THIS _ close to accomplishment… you can almost taste it?

Can’t sleep- don’t blink and God forbid, you miss a community meeting!  

Maybe it’s just me, and me knowing what I know- seeing THIS scene occur in New York (Harlem… Brooklyn..)but every meeting, every discussion, every media article, every planning  report  received is confirmation to what I feel deep in my soul.

We’re almost there…..

Not only do we have great residents working hard, we have many community advocates who are passionate about our communities and working to ensure we do “gentrification” correctly.  What do I mean? I mean, not only one group benefiting from the revitalization of our neighborhoods but we ALL benefit; our seniors,children, entrepreneurs, all races, cultures  and income levels- ALL, willing to persevere and work to reap the benefits of the vision.

Let me just say, yesterday I did not feel like this AT ALL.  I felt  tired, a bit defeated and  overwhelmed thinking:

“what more can I do? I just want to stay in my little house on my little corner doing nothing but fight with my landscaping “. 

Then Ireceived a call, an invitation to the West End Merchants Coalition. It  was time for their meeting this morning at 7AM.  YES- 7AM??…same thing I said. “Too early, I can’t make it.” However, the call was very timely as I recently completed a tour of our commercial  space, taking inventory of available locations.  Dragging myself out of bed at 6AM was a much needed renewal.  Not only did Council Member Winslow provide information on all the commercial incentives available, my personal SHE-RO, Deborah Scott of Georgia Standup was the guest speaker.  If you don’t know Ms. Scott, you’re missing out! (www.GeorgiaStandup.org)

Ms. Scott discussed how our businesses (and residents) can benefit from the developments taking place in Atlanta.  Do you know how many developments are taking place in Atlanta?  The list is pretty amazing. I have no idea which I should jump into first (all late) but, after the meeting with Ms Scott-  I KNOW I can’t sit and do nothing…or mentally fight with my landscaping much longer. A wise woman said, “If  you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu!”… I really like that  lady!

Here are a few projects and links for you to research:

Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal:

http://www.dot.ga.gov/informationcenter/p3/projects/mmpt/Pages/default.aspx

http://ajc.com/business/gulch-planners-take-big-1476572.html

http://atlantamagazine.com/fivepoints/blogentry.aspx?BlogEntryID=10403206

Fort McPherson:

http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-government/state-aims-to-invest-139780.html

http://www.mcphersonredevelopment.com/

Atlanta Transit:

http://beltline.org/atlanta-beltline-programs/strenghening-the-community/

http://beltline.org/progress/planning/

http://www.atlantadowntown.com/initiatives/atlanta-streetcar/About

Atlanta Stadiums:

http://www.gwcc.com/about/Masterplans.aspx

http://www.investatlanta.com/buildDev/StadiumArea.jsp

http://www.ajc.com/news/sports/football/new-stadium-plan-retractable-roof-demolish-dome-1/nQTK4/

Business Development Opportunities:

www.investatlanta.com/entprnrSmallBus/commercialLoans.jsp

 http://www.dca.state.ga.us/economic/DevelopmentTools/programs/opportunityzones.asp

Community Improvement District:

http://westendcid.org/

Study up, and be prepared to come to the table! NPU-T holds our meeting every 2nd Wednesday of the month at 7PM. www.NPUTAtlanta.org

Please let me know if any links are broken, I’m so excited I can’t type fast enough. 🙂

1430 Sylvan Road- 3bed/2bath under $70K!!

Fully renovated Brick Bungalow in Capital View/Sylvan Hills- ready for your touch. Nothing to do but move-in, hang curtains and enjoy-right before school! Active community with a new Beltline Splash pad in the park. Sylvan middle school across the street!  This is a great deal at $69K

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