Suzanne Mitchell, former president of the Organized Neighbors of Summerhill, said Summerhill fell victim to “blight, crime and neglect,” over time. But she said things are improving in the community.
“Today Summerhill is no longer an FDA food desert,” Mitchell said. “We are making good on old promises and rising, like the Phoenix.”
The businesses along Summerhill’s Georgia Avenue are fairly new. MARTA plans to develop a $68 million Capitol Avenue/Summerhill bus rapid transit line for the area. Plans are to add restaurants, retailers and service providers throughout the redevelopment.
The current phase of development in Summerhill includes 105 single-family townhomes and 565 Hank, which features 306 multifamily units near Georgia State University’s future baseball park.
Brenda Reid, Publix media and community relations manager, said she’s eager to see Publix act as “good stewards” in the area because she remembers “the journey this community has gone through” as she grew up in the West End area.
Summerhill was founded in 1865 and was the first neighborhood formed in Atlanta for freed enslaved Blacks and for Jewish immigrants. Additionally, the first school for Blacks in Atlanta was the Summerhill School, and the first black principal to work for Atlanta public schools worked at the Summerhill School.