Avondale Estates’ The Art Lot is located on five city-owned acres slated for future development. Just this week the city and its Downtown Development Authority issued a Request for Qualification to potential developers of commercial projects for this site. Bill Banks file photo for the AJC

Avondale Estates considering at least one fulltime staffer for DDA

Sam Collier, who served Avondale Estates’ Downtown Development Authority for three years, including one year as chair, recently announced he’s stepping down to become its interim executive director and consultant for the next six months. This comes after the January resignation of David Burt, who’d worked for the city and the DDA nearly two years as a part-time economy development consultant.

Burt left to work for the Fort McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority.

“We’ve got to determine our strategy,” Collier said. “David was part-time, so we’ve got to ask ourselves is it time to hire a fulltime person for that position, or even two full-timers. Then we have to ask, does the city fund those hires, or the DDA?

“With all we have going on,” he added, “it’s not fair asking [the seven DDA board members] to do all of it on a volunteer basis.”

In fall 2016, the DDA began getting funded by the city through an intergovernmental agreement. For the first time the board was invested with power, among others, to buy property, take out a bond, develop property and market the city’s downtown.

Current DDA projects include buying an 80-space parking lot downtown and helping deliver a Request for Qualification this week to potential developers of commercial property on U.S. 278. Other DDA projects for 2019 include examining where and how to “re-establish” the downtown street grid (a number of streets dead end or take sudden 90-degree turns) and continued planning for a U.S. 278 road diet.

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