Westmoreland also pointed out that City Council members Liliana Bakhtiari and Amir Farokhi aren’t included in the proposed study group even though the AMC is located in their districts.
“I have a little hesitation around the scope, narrowing in on a center of equity all by itself as opposed to having a conversation about 20 acres in the heart of the neighborhood,” Westmoreland said. “My biggest concern is we don’t own the property...We actually have no say, at least at the moment, in what will wind up there.”
Bond apologized for not including Farokhi and Bakhtiari in the proposed study group, and said he and Norwood created the resolution “on the fly” at the end of last Monday’s council meeting, which is when the lawmakers held a contentious debate over the future use of Atlanta’s detention center.
In 2020, advocates for criminal justice reform convened with business leaders and local government officials to propose that the city’s mostly empty detention center be repurposed into a place that addresses homelessness, mental illness and poverty in the community. But several leaders, including Bond, want to use the center to house inmates from Fulton County’s overcrowded jail.
Norwood said they narrowed the scope of the Wellstar study group because they thought the hospital site’s future use could resolve Fulton’s desire to use the detention center. Ultimately, the committee voted to table the proposal for two weeks.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, meanwhile, has issued an executive order for the city to refuse applications for rezoning, building permits, land disturbances, special administrative permits, subdivisions, replatting or lot consolidations at the AMC site. He renewed the temporary ban last week, and the council is expected to extend the ban further on Monday.