- By Leon Stafford The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta mayoral candidate and City Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms announced Thursday she is stepping down from her day job as head of the Atlanta and Fulton County Recreation Authority.
Bottoms, an attorney and legal analyst, was named executive director of the authority, whose holdings have include Underground Atlanta, Zoo Atlanta and Philips Arena, in 2015. Her last day is April 14.
The city last week struck a controversial agreement to sell Underground to WRS Real Estate Investments, a South Carolina-based builder of mostly suburban shopping centers anchored by Walmart stores. Opponents of the sale said WRS lacks experience in tackling urban projects and worried about parts of its redevelopment plan, including the addition of 2,000 parking places at Underground.
“I am proud to have had the opportunity to serve the residents of the city of Atlanta and Fulton County during this volatile time in AFCRA’s history,” Bottoms said in a release. “We set a high bar for ourselves: to engage communities and residents in a vision for their neighborhoods — and to secure a development team capable of implementing that vision.”
Bottoms threw her hat in the race for mayor in October. She joins a crowded field of nine major candidates seeking to succeed Kasim Reed, who is in the final year of his two terms as the city’s top official.
Bottoms appointment in 2015 sparked controversy among some officials who accused her of double-dipping on both her city council and AFCRA salaries. Bottoms regularly recused herself from city council votes on issues relating to AFCRA.