Mayor Andre Dickens’ administration has set a steep goal of making affordable, fresh food available within one-half mile of at least 85% of Atlanta residents by 2025.
Atlanta City Council last week aided the initiative by passing legislation that authorizes Invest Atlanta — the agency focused on urban development — to create a $1.5 million grant program to spur development and job creation in areas of the city that struggle with food insecurity.
The fight against food disparity across the city began with Former Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms. Under her administration, the city released a fresh food report that showed in 2020 about 75% of Atlanta residents had access to fresh food — Black Atlantans in low income areas are disproportionately impacted by a lack of access.
Council member Marci Collier Overstreet said last week that she hopes this is just another step in making food access a top priority for the city.
“The only criticism is that it’s not enough,” she said.
The former site of Wellstar’s Atlanta Medical Center is still sitting vacant after shuttering last year. Dickens has made it clear that he’ll continue to extend the City Council-approved moratorium on the former Atlanta Medical Center property that halts any redevelopment of the site.
The fate of the empty building in downtown Atlanta that used to hold 430 hospital beds and employ more than 700 physicians is still unknown. One council member is floating the idea of the city purchasing the property itself to a new diversion and crisis center.
Council member Keisha Sean Waites introduced a resolution urging Dickens’ administration to consider buying the 250-acre site and developing what she would name the ‘John Robert Lewis Health and Wellness Center’ that would offer mental health, drug and alcohol treatment as well as transitional housing for Atlantans experiencing homelessness.
Howell Mill Road is among the city’s roadways that gives Atlanta driver’s a headache. Despite being in the heart of one of Atlanta’s fastest-growing corridors, improvements to the street have been scarce.
That will change drastically after City Council passed legislation approving nearly $21.5 million for the Department of Transportation to start and finish the long-awaited project. The Howell Mill Complete Street project will include resurfacing, additional crossings, three new intersections and raised bicycle lanes from Marietta St. to Collier Rd.
The legislation also includes an incentive pilot program top speed up competition to 12 to 18 months after breaking ground. The department’s website lists the original expected competition date to be 2026.
Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@
Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@
City Council passed legislation last week to rehire Atlanta Fire Chief Roderick Smith a month after he submitted his retirement paperwork in August. Smith, who has nearly three decades of fire service experience in the city, will receive a salary of nearly $230,000.
Atlanta’s job training grant fund is receiving an additional $840,732 after City Council OK’d plans to accept that award from the Technical College System of Georgia’s Office of Workforce Development.
The state agency gave Atlanta a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Youth Program Grant. According to the city’s ordinance, WorkSource Atlanta will use those funds to provide employment and training opportunities to city residents ages 14 through 24.
City Council also OK’d plans for the city’s transportation department to enter into a $910,000 contract with the Path Foundation nonprofit in order to complete the Westside Trail project.
According to the contract, PATH’s Westside trail project extends 1.1 miles from Northside Drive to the existing trail along Lena Street NW. A portion of the trail is already completed as the cycle track along MLK Jr. Drive NW, from Northside Drive to James P. Brawley Street. The trail will is meant to offer Westside communities a safe and convenient way to travel from Northside Drive NW to the Ashby MARTA Station and, by way of the already completed section of trail along Lena Street, to the Westside Atlanta BeltLine.
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