The 93-year-old woman at the center of controversy over Atlanta’s plans to raze homes for a flood retention pond no longer has to move, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s office has announced.
Reed and the city of Atlanta have reached a deal with Mattie Jackson to allow her to remain while the Atlanta Department of Watershed Management designs an alternative plan for managing flooding in Peoplestown.
City officials say the proposed park and retention pond are critical to addressing decades of flooding in the neighborhood. Unveiled in 2013, the retention pond is part of the Southeast Atlanta Green Infrastructure Initiative, a $66 million dollar plan that also includes stormwater storage vaults and other flood control measures.
The vast majority of property owners, about 20, already have sold their homes to the city to make way for the park, according to the Department of Watershed Management. But four or five property owners have yet to reach a deal with the city. Some of the hold-outs say Atlanta hasn’t offered enough money for their property, or convinced them that there’s no other way forward.
Earlier this week, Jackson and a handful of demonstrators — including others poised to be moved from their homes as part of the deal — descended on Reed’s office in protest. They scheduled a meeting with the mayor for today.
“I am pleased that Mrs. Jackson will be remaining in her home in Peoplestown,” Reed said in a statement Thursday. “Mrs. Jackson has been a pillar in her community, and out of respect for her contributions to our city, we have decided to support her desire to remain in the neighborhood she has called her home for decades. I look forward to completing this important project as we address an issue that has gone unresolved for many years.”
A spokeswoman for the Watershed department said the deal only applies to Jackson, and that the remaining property owners will be required to relocate.
To learn what Jackson said when hearing the news, read more at myAJC.com.