Atlanta could appoint a ‘night mayor’ dedicated to after-hours life, economy

The exterior of Noni's on Edgewood Avenue/
Caption
The exterior of Noni's on Edgewood Avenue/

Credit: HANDOUT/ATLANTA STREETCAR

Credit: HANDOUT/ATLANTA STREETCAR

Atlanta is set to study whether it should create a new office focused on life, business and public safety in the city during overnight hours.

The City Council passed a resolution Monday that calls for a study into the feasibility of launching a new “Office of Nighttime Economy and Safety.”

Proposed by Councilman Amir Farokhi, the new office would advise leaders on issues that affect the city at nighttime like transportation and safety; serve as an advocate and liaison for businesses and residents that operate and work in the city at night; and be a “point-of-contact specifically for nocturnal life,” according to the resolution.

“It’s really meant to call attention to the fact that the nighttime economy ... is an economic boon to the city,” Farokhi said. He said this sector of the city doesn’t always get the attention it needs from City Hall, and his office has been discussing the creation of a “night mayor” since 2018, his first year in office.

Other large cities have similar offices and positions, including Pittsburgh. Orlando’s position is called “nighttime economy manager,” while in Seattle, the person is billed as “nightlife business advocate.”

Caption
Edgewood Avenue is one popular nightlife destination in Atlanta. (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Jenni Girtman

Edgewood Avenue is one popular nightlife destination in Atlanta. (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Edgewood Avenue is one popular nightlife destination in Atlanta. (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Jenni Girtman

Credit: Jenni Girtman

Atlanta’s nightlife scene is a major part of its economy, with its famed bars and clubs attracting both locals and out-of-town visitors. But as the resolution points out, the city’s overnight ecosystem is more than just its entertainment and dining scene — it also includes hotels, creative spaces and other businesses that employ night-shift workers, like hospitals, ride-sharing and delivery services.

“My hope is that ... the office will not be singularly focused on just nightlife,” Farokhi said.

Over the last year, Atlanta’s nightlife establishments have also come under scrutiny as the city cracked down on so-called “nuisance properties,” loosely defined as businesses that are the scene of violent crimes or that repeatedly violate city codes. That’s an issue that could also fall under the purview of the night mayor.

ExploreAtlanta is accelerating its crackdown of nightclubs that cause a ‘nuisance’

The size and makeup of the new office could depend on the findings of the study, which is due back to the council with recommendations no later than Nov. 15. The discussion is likely to continue into next year, so Farokhi is hopeful the next mayor and City Council support the idea.

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