Decatur commission candidate George Dusenbury. Courtesy of George Dusenbury

Downtown advocate to run for Decatur city commission

Downtown Decatur advocate George Dusenbury is running for the District 1 city commission seat currently held by Scott Drake, who announced his retirement earlier this summer. Dusenbury is the Georgia-Alabama State Director for The Trust for Public Land, a non-profit dedicated to preserving land and building parks. A city resident for six years, he’s been working in environmental land use and park issues since 1993.

In 2014 he helped create the Downtown Decatur Neighbors, of which he’s now president.

“I feel we’ve made as much progress as we can [with the DDN], that we’ve moved our agenda as far we could without actually having someone on the commission,” Dusenbury told the AJC.

There are three commission seats up for election: Drake’s district 1, post B; district 2, post B, with incumbent Brian Smith not seeking re-election; district at large with incumbent Tony Powers running again. Qualifying runs today (August 19) through Wednesday (August 21).

Roughly 28 percent of the city’s homes, particularly townhomes and apartments, are downtown, with more on the way. The 120 West Trinity project, just north of Decatur High and close to completion, will have 330 apartments, while a mixed-use development on the Bank of America site, slated to begin construction early next year, will add 194 more.

“What we’ve seen,” Dusenbury said, “is that the city’s tackled projects one at a time. I want to develop an overall cohesive vision for what downtown will look like in 20 years, both in development and green space.

“Although,” he added, “I’m not just about downtown—I want to strengthen the tree ordinance and increase pedestrian safety, citywide green space and the tree canopy.”

Dusenbury holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Cornell University and a Juris Doctor from Emory University School of Law where he became interested in environmental law. Before his current job he was city of Atlanta parks commissioner for four years.

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