Dave Wilkinson, president and CEO of the Atlanta Police Foundation, said the future development on North Avenue, expected to be completed in 10 months, is a desperately needed one. Hiring is up more than 70% for APD, with 40% coming from outside the Atlanta area.
Even with the recent increase in officer salaries, finding a place to live wasn’t always easy for the new hires, Wilkinson said.
The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, a leading proponent of the transformation of Atlanta’s historic English Avenue and Vine City neighborhoods, provided a $4 million grant to finance the new recruit housing complex. During the past two years, crime is down 40% in the area, Blank said. Security cameras have been installed, the Westside Blue Patrol was created and the At-Promise Youth Center have all contributed to the improvements, Wilkinson said.
“It’s not a matter of doing the right thing,” Blank said. “It’s a matter of getting results.”
Recruits who live at the complex will pay nominal rental fees; in exchange they will mentor youths attending the At-Promise Center. Assistant Atlanta Police Chief Todd Coyt said the program will help the new hires become active members of their communities.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who recently announced plans to seek a second term, told the crowd she grew up in West Atlanta and called the latest project a building block to strengthening the community.
“What I’ve learned in my two years as mayor is that we do things differently in this city,” she said. "There is no other place in this world, and I talk to mayors from across the world, where the combination of support from our philanthropic community and our corporate community and our government ... we get it right in this city. And it's because it's intentional."