02-02-18 Buckhead Reporter

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FEBRUARY 2 - 15, 2018 • VOL. 12 — NO. 3


Buckhead Reporter



► Cities asked to join regional affordable housing policy PAGE 4 ► Chair of park over Ga. 400 nonprofit announced PAGE 15

‘Battle of Atlanta’ comes back to life A sneak peek at History Center’s cyclorama

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION | P16-20 BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net In a gigantic room holding the 359-foot-long “Battle of Atlanta” cyclorama, workers perched along the 50-foot-high painting on lifts with paintbrushes and iPads. Using old photographs and state-ofthe-art technology, they are bringing the 130-year-old painting back to life. See BATTLE on page 23


A painting conservator works on the “Battle of Atlanta” cyclorama painting at Buckhead’s Atlanta History Center on Jan. 25. The museum plans to open the cyclorama exhibit this winter, but must first complete a major restoration of the painting.

Amazon made clear what corporate relocations of NCR, State Farm and others have tipped off to state leaders: The recruitment and retention of high wage corporate employers will follow the tracks of transit. Those counties and municipalities without transit need not apply. CHARLIE HARPER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF POLICYBEST

See COMMENTARY, page 10

OUT & ABOUT ‘Dead Man Walking’ author to speak at death penalty panel Page 8

Mayor Bottoms pledges to unite Atlanta in Buckhead speech BY EVELYN ANDREWS

Shooting his way to award-winning heights



New Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms promised to unite the city and not neglect Buckhead, at the Buckhead Coalition’s annual meeting on Jan. 31. “I am committed to making sure that we continue to work together to make sure that our entire city is as strong as it can possibly be,” she said. “It’s so incredibly important that we remember we really are one Atlanta,” she said at the event, which had See MAYOR on page 22

2 | Community

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The Buckhead Community Improvement District is moving forward with a plan to construct a boardwalk along Lenox Road in front of the Lenox Square mall. The CID will soon send out a request for proposals for the boardwalk design, Darion Dunn, the director of capital improvements BUCKHEAD CID and planning, said at CID’s Jan. 24 board A rendering shows the concept design meeting. for a boardwalk that runs along Lenox The boardwalk is one piece of the Lenox Road in front of the Lenox Square mall. Road “Complete Streets” plan that was recommended in the “Buckhead REdeFINED” master plan. The CID will use some of the $2.4 million of federal funding it has received for the Lenox Road plan, which would bring new multiuse trails to Lenox Road from Piedmont to East Paces Ferry Road. “This is one the pieces we pulled out to do first,” Dunn said. “We think that will have a halo effect of getting the rest of Lenox Road livened up and improved.”


Mountain Way Common, a developing park in the North Buckhead neighborhood near PATH400 and Little Nancy Creek, is moving forward with a plan to install bike lanes and pedestrian walkways on Mountain Way amidst a recent park expansion. SPECIAL Marvin Pastel, the head of the Friends A rendering shows a possible design for a multiuse path along Mountain of Mountain Way Common group, said the Way. Another design calls for round group is “fine tuning” the design and hopes bollards instead of planters. to begin installing the walkways this summer. The pathway will either be separated from the road with round bollards or planters. The group will use a $100,000 grant from Park Pride and funding raised by the Friends group to match the grant to fund the project, Pastel said. The small park also recently expanded by over half an acre thanks to a donation from the Mid Broadwell Partnership, the estate of Jack Bradford and Gordon Mosley, which donated a 0.56-acre parcel at the corner of N. Ivy Road and Mountain Drive. Pastel said the group will gather community input before deciding what features will be added to the new parcel, but he thinks the features may include a “splash area” for children or a pavilion.



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Buckhead’s local YMCA, the Carl. E. Sanders Family YMCA, honored its top volunteers at the YMCA of Metro Atlanta’s annual volunteer celebration dinner Jan. 18. Richard Spencer received the Volunteer of the Year Award. Wilson Barron was named Teen Leader of the Year. Spencer has been a member of the Sanders location since 2001 and a volunteer since 2009. He took the lead on raising funds for an afterschool bus and has volunteered as a tutor with the after school program for several years. Spencer recently became chair of the Community Outreach Committee and for the past two years, he has personally funded and raised funds to send 12 homeSPECIAL Left, Richard Spencer received less children to the YMCA summer camp, accordthe Volunteer of the Year Award ing to a press release. from the Carl. E. Sanders YMCA. “I want to ensure that the Y sense of commuRight, Wilson Barron received the nity is available to the next person looking for a award for Teen Leader of the Year from the Carl E. Sanders YMCA. place to grow and belong,” Spencer said in the release. Barron began participating in the Adaptive Swim Program, which pairs children with special needs with a volunteer instructor to receive one-on-one swim instruction, 10 years ago. For the past two years, he has assisted summer camp counselors and volunteers at branch events and programming, including the Halloween Spooktacular through the Teen Leaders Program, according to the release. “When I first started, I was shy. Now, I feel like I belong here,” Barron said in the release. BH

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Buckhead CID backs affordable housing study BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

The Buckhead Community Improvement District and Livable Buckhead plan to study affordable housing in the hope of reducing traffic congestion from commuters who work in Buckhead, but can’t afford to live in the area. The CID approved at its Jan. 24 board meeting $24,000 in funding to match a possible grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission that the organization hopes to receive, which would be for around $100,000. The study will only move forward if the ARC awards the grant, a decision that will be released in mid-February. The need to study housing was first suggested in the “Buckhead REdeFINED” master plan that was released last year. “The master plan called out housing as one of the issues the community should take a look at, specifically housing that’s affordable for the workforce here in Buckhead,” said Jim Durrett, the executive director of the CID. The study found that most traffic congestion results from Buckhead employees not being able to afford housing in the area. In 2016, 98 percent of Buckhead area employees commuted to Buckhead from outside the area, the master plan found. “Buckhead REdeFINED put it pretty squarely out there for the first time that the traffic problem is largely resulting from our housing stock,” Denise Starling, the executive director of Livable Buckhead, which spearheaded the master plan, said at the meeting. Buckhead jobs have grown quicker that the amount of housing, and the housing that has been built is not affordable for a large sector of employ-

ees, the master plan found. The master plan also found that nearly 40 percent of the Buckhead commercial core’s estimated 68,500 employees have average incomes of less $50,000. However, few apartments are affordable for those employees, according to the master plan. Lynn Rainey, the board attorney, said the study’s transportation focus would allow the CID to tackle such an issue, since the CID’s official mission is to make transportation improvements and it should not go beyond that mission. “We just need to make sure that we don’t have mission creep, or get pushed or sucked into mission creep,” Rainey said. Studying the issue of affordable housing from a transportation viewpoint is also less controversial and doesn’t delve into other factors, including race, Starling said. “This is an interesting way for us to have a conversation around housing in way that’s not so controversial,” she said. “It’s specifically not trying to tackle all of the social ills related to all of the city’s housing issues. It’s not trying to get into a racial conversation or socioeconomic conversations.” The study would collect data on where employees commute from and to which employers, Starling said. “What it is going to allow us to do is get very surgical about tackling our traffic issues and also look at housing at the same time,” she said. Starling expects the study to recommend a variety of possible solutions, including employer assisted housing, zoning changes or working with local banks to create funding mechanisms for affordable housing. “There’s not going to be a single answer. It’s not going to be that we have to put inclusionary zoning across everywhere. It’s going to be a range of things,” she said.

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4 | Community

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Atlanta councilmember asks cities to join regional affordable housing policy BY JOHN RUCH

were positive, though with the cautions that the city’s own policy is still in the works, partly through Mayor Rusty Paul’s forthcoming affordable housing task force. In Dunwoody, Community Development Director Richard McLeod intended to meet with Dickens recently for a preliminary chat, according to city spokesperson Bob Mullen. That meeting was delayed by the winter weather.


Fresh from a victory in requiring affordable housing along the BeltLine, Atlanta City Councilmember Andre Dickens is trying to form a multi-city coalition to create a regional — even statewide — housing affordability strategy. Dickens — who holds one of the council’s citywide at-large Dickens said he has reached out to leaders of several seats — emphasized that his policy vision is not just low-income metro Atlanta cities — including Dunwoody and Sandy housing. Springs — who he had heard are also working on “hous“It’s not just affordable housing, because some of those coming affordability and housing diversity.” And he’s looking munities are going to say, ‘We don’t want no stinking affordable even farther afield: “We reached out as far as Augusta, too,” housing,’” Dickens said. “This is about making sure you have diFILE he said. Atlanta City Councilmember verse housing options for your diverse workforce.” “I’m interested in working with other cities in the metAndre Dickens. He noted that corporate executives and attorneys generally ropolitan area to share best practices in legislation and admake more than teachers and firefighters, “and all those people ministration of policies that aid in this effort,” Dickens are great people.” He described his policy focus as “not the stigma” of people “who wrote in a Dec. 7 email to some of those cities. “My hope is that this will assist in don’t get up and go to work each day,” but rather addressing “workforce” housing building a coalition that allows us to lobby the state of Georgia to support legislaand the broader economic development implications. tion that makes this a priority at the state level as well.” “If you don’t have a city that has an adequate plan for your workforce to live in, “The short answer is, nothing really has happened yet,” Dickens said in an interyou’re going to have a lot of [commuter] traffic … You’re going to have a lot of chalview. But, he said, he has received some early positive responses from several cities lenges attracting people to work because of the commute to your city,” Dickens said. and from the Atlanta Regional Commission, which he hopes will help coordinate “And you’re going to have displacement.” the multi-city effort. Dickens and many other collaborators spent three years working on an afford“ARC will be supporting Andre’s efforts,” confirmed ARC spokesperson Paul Donable housing strategy around the BeltLine trail, park and transit system that is besky, adding that will “include some staff time and likely some data analysis.” ing built in a ring around Atlanta. Several city housing affordability policies and inThe idea is to share information and develop what Dickens’ email calls “unity centives spun out of that effort. The work culminated last fall with the Atlanta City and some uniformity” in regional housing affordability policy. Council’s passage of a mandatory inclusionary zoning policy for multifamily housIn Sandy Springs, initial reactions from top planning official Jim Tolbert and ing built within a half-mile of the BeltLine. The policy requires a certain amount of other staffers in internal emails obtained through an Open Records Act request units be priced at rates affordable to middle- or moderate-income households.

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Under the policy, developers can price 15 percent of units as affordable to households making 80 percent of the area median income; or price 10 percent of the units at 60 percent of AMI; or pay a variable fee into a city fund instead of creating any affordable units. Atlanta is reportedly the first city in Georgia to adopt an inclusionary zoning policy for private developments, and Dickens calls it a “landmark piece of legislation.” It’s also the starting point of his regional effort. The subject line of his Dec. 7 outreach email was, “Inclusionary Zoning Coalition Building.” That’s a familiar term in Sandy Springs, where the city briefly included what would have been a landmark inclusionary zoning policy in a draft of its new zoning code early last year before discarding it. But it may not be in other cities, and definitions could vary widely. Dickens said his regional collaboration idea has two main purposes. “Number one, just a mechanism for sharing,” he said, noting that the BeltLine effort produced three years’ worth of research, both local and nationwide. He wants to share that data with other cities, “so no one in our region has to start from scratch.” The other purpose is to develop “some consistency in policies.” “We are one region,” even if cities are “in friendly competition,” Dickens said. “You don’t want to do something in one town that hurts another town.” That could also lessen developers’ ability to play cities off each other, he said: “So if the policies resemble each other, we can eliminate some of this, ‘Well, if you tell me how to do [a development], I’ll just do it up the street.’” Dickens said he has asked the ARC — a metro Atlanta regional planning coordination organization — to provide “a policy person who may be interested in being the glue that keeps people together” and who could serve as a policy “evaluator.” Dickens could not immediately provide a complete list of the cities he has contacted, but the partial list also includes Decatur, Doraville, Marietta and Norcross. One local government Dickens said he believes he did not contact is Brookhaven, because he believed the five-year-old city is so new. He said he was unaware that Brookhaven recently formed and received recommendations from its own affordable housing task force. Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst recently convened a similar multi-city, regional planning gathering about mass transit along the top-end Perimeter. That meeting spun out of the recently formed Peachtree Gateway Partnership, a four-city planning group, advised by the ARC, which includes Brookhaven, Dunwoody, Chamblee and Doraville.

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6 | Education

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Holy Spirit Preparatory School, senior Editor’s note: Through our “Standout Student” series, Reporter Newspapers showcases some of the outstanding students at our local schools. To recommend a “Standout Student” for our series, please email editor@ReporterNewspapers.net with information about the student and why you think he or she should be featured.

and his winning piece features qualities of isolation and brokenness. As Luke has grown and developed his photography skills, his interest in these environments has been constant, for they were what drew him into this hobby originally. “It’s like the world stops, and I’m in Two years ago, Luke and his friends the zone,” Luke Cocks said. were exploring an abandoned train Luke, a senior at Holy Spirit Preparatoyard, and with one artistic picture on his ry, recently was named a state winner in phone, he was hooked, he said. the All-State Art Symposium for his phoHis family vacations and thirst for adtography. The competition is noted for its venture also nourished his passion for selectiveness and is considered the bigphotography as he explored countries gest interscholastic art competition in the such as Ireland, Mexico and South Africa. state, according to a press release from the His portfolio is made up of a variety school. Luke is only the second student at of animals, citizens of the countries and the school to win at the state level, accordlandscapes of the outdoors. Luke values ing to Holy Spirit. photography above all other forms of art Luke’s photography focuses on abanbecause it allows him to capture the beaudoned, urban-decaying environment, ty around him and take advantage of his adventures, he said. He focuses on isolated destinations and figures for his conceptual work, and he concentrates on South Africa for documentary work. SPECIAL His eye for Luke takes a picture of a mountain range in South Africa. the beauty


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FEBRUARY 2 - 15, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Luke Cock’s award-winning photograph from his ‘Lone Figures’ series.

in decaying environments and loneliness caught the attention of the judges in the All-State Symposium. His winning piece in the competition came from his “Lone Figures” series. The shot was taken here in Atlanta, and “it explores the concept of isolation and a sense of loneliness,” Luke said. His fascination with these environments is coated with bits of philosophy as he views “urban decay as the epitome of a plan gone wrong,” similar to how life is an unpredictable adventure. “As teenagers, we are still exploring who we are to become in this big, unknown and sometimes lost world. We, as teenagers, are just starting to figure out that life is about how you deal with the unexpected,” he said. SPECIAL Luke Cocks. He’s supported by his family, who also have chosen artistic careers. Luke’s father is the creative director of his own production and design company, and his mother heads a jewelry design company. Other figures in his life, such as his art teacher, Rockie Rondeau, are supportive of Luke’s talents with photography. Rondeau is continuously inspired by his work, she said. “His ‘Lone Figures’ series really encapsulates what it is like to be ‘coming of age,’ to be both on the cusp of finding out who you are, but also very lost and scared,” Rondeau said. “When I look at this series, it brings me back to my late teens and early 20s when I too was just starting to figure

out who I was in the world. That’s a universal experience and I think Luke’s series really explores that concept in a unique way.” Luke has also been published in the Photographer’s Forum Magazine and in Holy Spirit’s Art and Literary Magazine.

What’s Next?

Luke plans to go to college and fo-


cus on photography. His top choice is Savannah College of Art and Design. He has also applied to Columbia College Chicago and to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. This article was written and reporter by Kaitlyn Garrett, a sophomore at The Lovett School.

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8 | Arts & Entertainment

Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News the February program of the Dunwoody Fine Art Association, which this month features local oil painter Nancy Francke. Meeting begins with refreshments and social time. Free. Spruill Arts Center, Room 4, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. dunwoodyfineart.org.



PERFORMANCES “THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR” Friday, Feb. 9 through Sunday, Feb. 18

Act3 Productions presents “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” a comedy set in the 1950s that channels such iconic sitcoms as “I Love Lucy.” Two women have been receiving love letters and their husbands are determined to find out what’s going on. 6285-R Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. $15-$23. Tickets: act3productions.org or 770-241-1905.

ATLANTA WOMEN’S CHORUS Saturday, Feb. 10, 7 p.m.

Hear selections from the upcoming milestone concert of the Atlanta Women’s Chorus in a preview event at Covenant Presbyterian Church. The full concert, “Rewind: The First Five Years,” follows in two performances on Feb. 17 at




Druid Hills Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. Preview concert is free; offering will be taken to support ongoing efforts and the choir’s upcoming tour across Georgia with the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus. Covenant Presbyterian Church, 2461 Peachtree Road N.E., Buckhead. Info and tickets for Feb. 17 concerts: voicesofnote.org.

“YOU’RE FUNNY, BUT YOU DON’T LOOK JEWISH” Saturday, Feb. 10, 7 and 9 p.m.

Italian-American, African-American, Vietnamese-American and Indian-American Jewish stand-up comedians Mike Capozzola, Gina Gold, Joe Nguyen and Samson Koletkar share the stage and their own experiences about being ‘undercover’ members of the tribe at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. $18 members, $24 community. MJCCA-Zaban Park, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Tickets: atlantajcc.org/boxoffice.


Poetry Out Loud, a program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance of the written word, holds its regional competition. The metro Atlanta winner will compete in the State Finals Competition at the Atlanta History Center on March 11. Free. Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead. Info: atlantahistorycenter.com.

VISUAL ARTS “THE FINNISH ILLUSION” The Spruill Gallery hosts an opening reception for “The Finnish Illusion,” a mixed-media exhibition of NordicAmerican hybrid art that explores feminine imagery and questions human nature. Exhibit runs through April 28. Free. 4681 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: spruillarts.org.


Saturday, Feb. 10, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Enjoy free admission and special programs on the second Sunday of each month.

The Brookhaven Parks & Recreation Department hosts a dance for fathers and daughters ages 5 to 15, including dinner, giveaways and keepsakes. A DJ will play the latest songs and take special requests. Registration requested by Feb. 5. $25 per family. Lynwood Community Center, 3360 Osborne Road, Brookhaven. Info: 404-637-0542.


FEB. 11 • mAR. 11 Designed for little kids, big kids, and the whole family, Second Sundays are for everyone. Visit us each month and experience new interactive, innovative family activities inspired by our collections and ever-changing exhibitions. Second Sundays are sponsored by the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation.

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Atlanta criminal defense trial attorney Jason B. Sheffield discusses his novel, “Son of a Bitch,” in Heritage Sandy Springs’ Titles @ Twilight, a monthly program that promotes local authors. Inspired by true events, the novel explores the perils of a parent/child relationship amidst the world of criminal defense. Titles @ Twilight is held on first Wednesdays in the Heritage Sandy Springs Community Room. Free. 6110 Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs. Info: heritagesandysprings.org.

Thursday, Feb. 15, 6 to 9 p.m.



Handcrafted jewelry made of precious metals, glass, beads, gemstones and more will be sold at a wide range of prices in a fundraiser for the Spruill Center for the Arts and the Spruill Metals Jewelry Program. Metal sculpture and handforged items will also be for sale. Free. 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: spruillarts.org.


All interested artists are invited to attend

RAISING TOMATOES Saturday, Feb. 10, 11 a.m.

Master Gardener Richard Oosterholtz discusses choosing tomato plants and planting and disease prevention techniques in the monthly education session of Dunwoody Community Garden & Orchard. DCGO education sessions are held monthly on second Saturdays. Free. DCGO greenhouse, opposite the skate park in Brook Run Park, 4770 Georgia Way South, Dunwoody. Info: dcgo.org.


Wednesday, Feb. 14, 9:30 a.m.

Speaker Linda May, of the state Department of Natural Resources, discusses how Georgia amphibians affect our future at this month’s meeting of the Dunwoody Garden Club. The garden club meets monthly on second Wednesdays from September through May. Room 4 of the North DeKalb Cultural Center, located in the same building as the Dunwoody Library. Free. 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Info: dunwoodygardenclub.com.


National youth mental health advocate Ross Szabo will share his own experience with mental illness in order to educate others about mental health in a presentation at Marist School. Szabo was director of outreach for the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign from 20022012 and is the author of “Behind Happy Faces: Taking Charge of Your Mental Health.” Free; donations accepted to the Heads Up for Harry Foundation. Centennial Center, Marist School, 3790 AshfordDunwoody Road N.E., Brookhaven. Registration requested: marist.com/RossSzabo.

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DEATH PENALTY DISCUSSION AND BOOK SIGNING Thursday, Feb. 15, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Community and faith leaders and special guest Sister Helen Prejean will participate in a panel discussion on the death penalty in America at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church. Prejean is the author of “Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty.” The forum will be followed by a reception and signing of “A Case for Life: Justice, Mercy and the Death Penalty,” written by five contributing authors including the Right Reverend Robert Wright, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. Free. Registration requested. 805 Mount Vernon Highway, Sandy Springs. Info: connecting.episcopalatlanta.org.


Inspired by John Burrison’s latest book, “Global Clay,” this author talk at the Atlanta History Center explores the tradition of making jugs featuring human faces through generations and around the world. Burrison is Regents Professor of English and director of the Folklore Curriculum at Georgia State University. $10; $5 members. 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead. Reservations required: 404-814-4150 or atlantahistorycenter.com/lectures.

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10 | Commentary

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Guest Column / Making our own luck on transit policy Five years ago, it wasn’t easy to engage folks at Georgia’s Capitol in a serious conversation about transportation. The sting of loss from 2012’s transportation referendums in most regions of the state – especially congested Atlanta – was still relatively fresh. Money in the state budget was still tight. Teachers were still being furloughed in the aftermath of the great recession. There were many other issues that political leaders could fix. Easier, cheaper issues.

Between the 2014 study committee and the 2015 session, Gooch was elected Senate majority whip, ceding the transportation chairmanship to Tommie Williams. Sen. Brandon Beach of Alpharetta, a study committee member, carried the bill in the Senate. Senators from opposite ends of Ga. 400 split the load, helping translate the needs of urban and rural Georgia to each other. The work of the study committee turned an issue that most preferred to avoid into a bill that received a biparti-

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C O NTA C T US Founder & Publisher Steve Levene stevelevene@reporternewspapers.net Editorial Managing Editor John Ruch johnruch@reporternewspapers.net INtown Editor: Collin Kelley Editor-at-Large Joe Earle Staff Writers Dyana Bagby, Evelyn Andrews Copy Editor: Donna Williams Lewis Creative and Production Creative Director Rico Figliolini rico@reporternewspapers.net Graphic Designer: Soojin Yang Advertising Director of Sales Development Amy Arno amyarno@reporternewspapers.net Sales Executives Julie Davis, Jeff Kremer, Janet Porter, Jim Speakman Office Manager Deborah Davis deborahdavis@reporternewspapers.net Contributors Robin Conte, Phil Mosier

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Gridlocked traffic on Perimeter Center’s Hammond Drive during “Snowmageddon” on Jan. 28, 2014, the same day PolicyBEST held a press conference about transportation solutions.

After months of planning, PolicyBEST was launched on Jan. 28, 2014 with a press conference to get the public focused on the real problems of Georgia’s transportation system again. We brought together leaders of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Tea Party and the Sierra Club to note agreement there was a problem, and several areas where there was also consensus on a path to solutions. During the press conference, it began to snow, with the storm achieving the nickname “Snowmageddon.” Atlantans attempted to exit the city en masse. Gridlock ensued. Within 24 hours, Atlanta’s traffic was international news. As for getting people to focus on a problem, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. The chairmen of the Transportation Committees, Jay Roberts in the House and Steve Gooch in the Senate, took up the issue in a high-level study committee over the next year. Roberts was from Ocilla in deep south Georgia. Gooch is from Dahlonega in the north Georgia mountains. They managed to turn the need into action, culminating in a bill that reformulated Georgia’s gas tax structure for the first time since the Nixon administration, moved money from existing sources to the GDOT’s budget, and added user fees to vehicles not paying gas taxes to maintain Georgia’s roads.

san supermajority of votes in both the House and Senate. Almost 1 billion additional dollars were added to transportation spending annually. It was a good victory, but it didn’t end the discussion. 2015’s Transportation Funding Act provided money to resume deferred maintenance on Georgia’s aging bridges and for resurfacing roads, with some left over for major interchange improvements throughout the state and upgrades to Georgia’s freight corridors. There was not enough money to fully address congestion in metro Atlanta, but the bill did lay down a marker with an eye toward the future. It made available direct money from the state to be used for Georgia’s transit agencies in the form of grants. It was a signal that there remained work to be done, both in the legislature and with public acceptance of transit beyond Atlanta’s urban core. Now, Beach is the Senate Transportation Commitee chairman and Rep. Kevin Tanner chairs the House committee. Tanner is from Dawsonville, also at the northern rural extremity of Ga. 400. Sen. Gooch remains actively involved, having helped secure funding in 2017’s session for an effort to have consultants quantify the need and possible solutions for transit in Georgia.

This planning started the effort to present a transit solution when it wasn’t clear there would be a receptive audience. There remain easier, cheaper problems for legislators to fix. This time the catalyst for renewed interest wasn’t a snowstorm, though we’ve had more than our seasonal share. Instead, Amazon’s surprise announcement that it would be searchCharlie Harper ing for a coris the publisher of porate campus GeorgiaPol.com and of up to 50,000 the executive director of PolicyBEST, which employees has focuses on policy brought visibility issues of business and resolve to the climate, education, science and medicine, issue. and transportation. Amazon made clear what corporate relocations of NCR, State Farm and others have tipped off to state leaders: The recruitment and retention of high wage corporate employers will follow the tracks of transit. Those counties and municipalities without transit need not apply. As such, Georgians now have a House speaker from Blue Ridge, a lieutenant governor from Hall County, a governor who resides in Habersham, and a House Transportation Committee chairman from Dawsonville looking to figure

out the governance structure that will get suburbanites comfortable while acknowledging the decades of investment from Fulton and DeKalb residents. Sen. Beach remains a champion of expansion and economic development from Alpharetta, while Sen. Gooch of Dahlonega remains an interested party — one who will ultimately be counting Senate votes. If the governance puzzle can be unlocked, funding is expected to follow. Amazon has helped focus the transit discussion, but the preparations were started before they were in the picture. As such, bills are expected soon to help expand transit — and the economic development opportunities that come with it — to a wider footprint. It’s always better to be lucky than good. The state’s leaders who recognized the problem, many of whom hail from outside the metro Atlanta area, know it’s even better to make your own luck. BH

Commentary | 11

FEBRUARY 2 - 15, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Celebrating the Super Bowl with a ‘Snackadium’ Robin’s Nest

This is not about the game. Robin Conte is a writer I don’t have a and mother of four who favorite, and I’m lives in Dunwoody. She not going to talk can be contacted at about it at all. robinjm@earthlink.net. This is only about the accompaniments to the game — that is, the props, the décor, and specifically, the food that complete the experience and make the recreational viewing of the game so enjoyable. This is about an architectural feat so grand that I must make mention of it in this column, even though I did not have a hand in its creation. This is about Snackadiums. And this is about my friend and neighbor, Cathy. Cathy was hosting the Super Bowl party last year and asked me if I would like to help her cook for it. Since Cathy has five children at home, and since my nest is practically empty, and since Cathy is also excellent company, and since, as we all

know, it’s more fun to cook at your neighbor’s house than your own, I agreed. Then the week before the game I received a text from Cathy informing me that she was thinking about arranging the game-food into the shape of a football field — a current trend of which I was unaware — and so I did a quick Google search and discovered the world of Snackadiums and quickly texted back that I was in. I spent the rest of that week proudly announcing to my kids that I was going to build a Snackadium. Now here’s the thing. Cathy can do anything she puts her mind to. She could make an Eiffel tower out of cream puffs and pretzel sticks. She could make the Taj Mahal from Cheez Doodles and Ding Dongs. She could recreate the Matterhorn using a Toblerone bar and a few jars of marshmallow fluff. Basically, Cathy is extraordinarily capable, whereas I am not. I, in fact, need help opening a bottle of wine. So my kids may not have believed me, but the extent of my incompetence is precisely why I was so stoked about having a hand in the creation. I arrived at her house on the Saturday before the game and found, to my amazement, a fully constructed Snackadium. She was correct, of course, in not waiting until the day before the game to build

the thing. Why, I have since learned that grown men spend months planning and building their own food-filled-fields. She soothed my ego by stating that she needed help decorating it and filling it. OK! I’m still in! We focused on the field. We nixed the guacamole green AstroTurf, opting instead for a very tasty dead Bermuda, in the form of Velveeta dip and my Vidalia onion dip (derived from a recipe which I’m sure you’ve tried, but which I have tweaked to perfection). But her teenage daughter made the compelling argument that Cathy’s outstanding structure would not be complete without a green football field, and this we could not deny. So Cathy whipped out her X-Acto knife and cut a foam board to the exact dimensions needed, then whipped up some guacamole schmear and topped the field with mayo lines and olive and onion helmets. At pregame, she covered the dead-Bermuda dips with the avocado football-field for the photos, and at game-time we removed the field and dug into the underlying dips. The whole thing was a sensation. The point is, I can’t take credit for any of it; I can only take credit for having a very clever friend. I did, FYI, gluestick some decorative logos onto the side


Robin, left, and friend Cathy enjoy the “Snackadium” for last year’s Super Bowl.

of the stadium, and I also provided some carrots and the onion dip, so I guess you could say that I was an accomplice. And because I’m very fond of you, dear reader, and because I know you’re wondering, I will now share my recipe for Sweet Onion Dip: ■ 2 cups roughly chopped Vidalia or sweet onion ■ 1 cup shredded Swiss and Gruyere cheese, combined ■ 1 cup grated Parmesan and pecorino Romano cheese, combined ■ ½ cup mayo ■ 1 tablespoon hot sauce Mix together. Pour into baking dish and bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes, until bubbly and beginning to brown on top And so, as Cathy dusts off her Snackadium and prepares to fill it for another game, I hope I have inspired you to create one of your own. If not, you can still make onion dip.

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12 | Community

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Bobby Jones Golf Course tree removal concerns residents


A document shows the site plan for the renovated Bobby Jones Golf Course, including some trees that will remain on the course.

BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

The removal of at least 100 trees for the Bobby Jones Golf Course renovation has nearby residents lamenting their loss and saying officials have not heeded their concerns. Officials with the foundation overseeing the renovation say they will plant some new trees and are addressing other environmental problems that will improve the area. But fewer trees will be replanted than the amount removed, and some healthy trees have been cut down only because they were in the way. “It’s disheartening to see the big, beautiful trees cleared out,” said Tony Casadonte, who lives on nearby Golfview Road. The golf course, which is located at Atlanta Memorial Park near Northside Drive, is currently barren with upturned dirt and piles of felled trees scattered

around the course. “We’re sensitive to the importance of trees to the environment,” said Marty Elgison, president of the Bobby Jones Golf Course Foundation. “Overall, this project will significantly improve the environment.” The renovation plan calls for replacing the existing course with a reversible nine-hole course, adding a driving range and constructing a new building for the clubhouse, several golf associations and the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame. An arborist review completed before the renovation began found that, of the 1,182 trees on the property, only about 143 are in good condition. The remaining trees are in fair or poor condition or are dead, Elgison said. Some healthy trees were removed because they were in the way of the renovation. The rest of the at least 100 trees cut

down were dead or unhealthy. The renovation plan calls for planting 100 new trees to replace a portion of those that were removed. Elgison did not know how many total trees have been removed and declined to estimate. But, he said, the foundation likely will plant more new trees than the amount of healthy trees that were removed. But that doesn’t comfort another nearby resident who is concerned the young, small trees won’t adequately replace the old oaks that were lost. “There’s no guarantee about their life,” said the resident, who asked to remain anonymous. “It will take 25 to 40 years for the trees to look anywhere like what the architects recommended.” Plans have also been altered to save some trees, including by shifting the placement of holes, Elgison said. During construction of the golf course, several improvements will be made to the surrounding area, Elgison said. They include decreasing water runoff by removing some impervious surfaces, stabilizing the Tanyard Creek stream banks, and building an irrigation pond so they no longer will have to tap into the city water supply to irrigate the course. “I think people need to look beyond the trees,” he said. The residents said some of the concerns stem from not only the trees, but the feeling project officials have not heard their concerns, especially since the state took ownership of the golf course in

a land swap with the city. “Our concerns might have been heard, but they were disregarded,” the resident said. Casadonte said he feels that the project was pushed through, regardless of neighbors’ approval or opinions of the proposal. “I think some of the angst is that it feels like it’s being delivered upon us,” Casadonte said. Elgison said he believes the foundation does listen to the concerns and has provided enough ways to give input. He still regularly attends neighborhood association meetings and answers every email from residents, he said. “I think there’s been more than enough opportunities to provide feedback,” Elgison said. The Georgia Building Authority, which oversees state properties, directed requests about the golf course to the Bobby Jones Golf Course Foundation. Elgison encourages residents to remember that when construction is finished, the golf course will look much different than it does now. “One thing people should remember is the trees are not being replaced with condos or homes, and what you see out there now is a construction site,” he said. Casadonte said he is optimistic the end result will be a nice golf course, but is still dismayed so many trees were lost in the process. “Tree loss, I think, truly makes people sad,” he said.

Construction trucks work to move dirt and clear the land for the Bobby Jones Golf Course renovation.

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A screenshot of a March 2017 Google Maps view of the golf course shows the amount of trees that were on the course before renovation began.


Community | 13

FEBRUARY 2 - 15, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Garden Hills Democrat seeks to challenge Beskin for House seat BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

A Garden Hills Democrat has announced her campaign to challenge state Rep. Beth Beskin, a Republican, in this year’s election. Betsy Holland, a longtime Turner Broadcasting Inc. employee, said the main issues her SPECIAL SPECIAL Betsy Holland. Rep. Beth Beskin. campaign will focus on are access to healthcare and public education and improving the region's infrastructure and traffic congestion. Holland also sits on the Board of Governors of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, an experience she says has made her knowledgeable on the state’s economy and business interests. Beskin, who has represented the district since 2013, said she intends to run for re-election and she is looking forward to campaigning. “I’m prepared to have a vigorous election season and I look forward to the campaign,” she said. “I’ve really enjoyed representing all of the district, not just those who voted for me.” Holland said she is wary of exempting seniors from school taxes, and would have to first find another funding source to ensure the schools would stay adequately funded. The tax exemption has been called for after Fulton County residents’ property assessments sharply increased in 2017. “I’m not in favor of gutting funds that go to our public schools,” Holland said. Holland is the latest candidate to announce a run for a seat that has been held by a Republican. Progressive groups, such as PaveItBlue, which formed last year in Cobb County and Roswell, encourage residents to challenge Republican seats and circulate a chart that keeps track of districts that are being challenged or still need a challenger. Holland said that, “like many other people,” she got more interested in politics since Donald Trump won the presidential election. Realizing that his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, won District 54 by 4 percent, Holland said she thought the seat could be won by a Democrat. “It looked vulnerable and like if a compelling candidate ran, it could be flipped,” she said. “I was not interested in running for the sake of running. My district voted for Clinton in the 2016 election at 54 percent. This indicates that the district is winnable for a Democrat. It played a significant role in my decision to run.” District 54 includes the middle of Buckhead and the area between Roswell Road and the Brookhaven border, including the commercial district along Ga. 400. Beskin said she stands by every vote she has made since being elected, and is prepared to defend those votes during the campaign. “I’ve voted each vote deliberately and after much thought. I made sure I voted for the best interest of all of my constituents,” Beskin said. Candidates will be able to qualify for the election between March 5 and 9. Holland could have to face other Democratic candidates in the May 22 primary and not have the chance to challenge Beskin in the November elections. No other candidates have announced a run for this district so far. Holland said experience overseeing Turner’s community outreach, corporate philanthropy, government affairs and environmental sustainability programs have given her an understanding of the community’s needs and problems. “I’ve got a sense of what issues affect our community,” she said. If elected, Holland said she will work to make health insurance more accessible to temper the closures of hospitals in many rural counties. “The state of healthcare in rural Georgia is concerning,” she said. And when those hospitals close, metro Atlanta is affected, Holland said. People leave those counties and business doesn’t grow there, she said. “When all of a county’s hospitals close, that’s going to trickle back to the metro area,” she said. Holland also said she would prioritize expanding transit instead of roads. “I’d like for us to invest in solutions that aren’t widening roads or building new roads,” she said. “I think we have to be open to options that aren’t driving alone.” She said she would also encourage innovative solutions to decreasing congestion, including allowing self-driving car manufacturers to test the cars in Atlanta. In her position at the Chamber, Holland chairs the Creative Economy Committee, which focuses on growing business in Georgia in such fields as production, film and television. The tax credits offered to those businesses to film in Georgia have been a “boon” for the industry, Holland said. If elected, she would work to expand those credits. “This is a 21st century industry. This is the wave of the future,” she said of the film and television industry. BH



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From left, Sonny Hires and Jessica Tilse accept the Buckhead Business of the Year Award alongside BBA President Chris Godfrey at the Buckhead Business Association Annual Luncheon Jan. 25.

BBA names Business of the Year at awards luncheon BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Construction Resources at Cambria Gallery was awarded the Buckhead Business of the Year Award by the Buckhead Business Association at its Annual Luncheon Jan. 25 at the Intercontinental Buckhead Atlanta hotel. Jessica Tilse and Sonny Hires accepted the award, which recognizes newer businesses that are growing and known for charitable contributions to the neighborhood. The Cambria Gallery is located at 3096 Roswell Road. Other nominees included Postnet Buckhead; True Food Kitchen; Roam Innovative Workplace; and Southern Baked Pie Company. The BBA added two new sustainability awards, which were presented by the executive director of Livable Buckhead, Denise Starling. The Triple Bottom Line Award was awarded to Transwestern and its property management team for its building 3630 Peachtree Road in recognition of decreasing electricity use and increasing recycling. The Buckhead Mobility Champion Award was presented to Rubicon, a waste and recycling company, for its program that sponsors transit passes for employees. The Entrepreneur of the Year Award was awarded to Bonneau Ansley of Ansley Atlanta Real Estate. The Buckhead Beautification Award was given to Three Alliance Center, an office building near the Buckhead MARTA station. The Sam Massell Bullish on Buckhead Award was given to Juanita Baranco, the owner Baranco Automotive Group, which owns Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead. Baranco also serves as the chair of the Buckhead Coalition. Klaus Zellmer, the president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, said in Juanita Baranco, center, accepts the Sam Massell Bullish on Buckhead his keynote speech, which focused on award alongside former BBA the company’s future, that Porsche exPresident Barry Hundley, left, and pects half of all new sales to be electric new President Chris Godfrey. cars in five years. “Despite the fact that we love the noise of our cars, we’re very much engaged in electrifying all of our fleet because that is the way forward,” Zellmer said. He also expects that in five years, combustion engines will not be allowed in most of the world’s major cities. “In the next five years we’re going to see more change than we have in the last 50 years,” he said. But the company, which headquartered its North American operation in Atlanta near the airport, will continue to make gasoline-powered engines until they are outlawed, Zellmer said. “We will offer combustion engines as long as we are legally allowed to do so and as long as our customers demand,” he said. BH

Community | 15

FEBRUARY 2 - 15, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Chair of park over Ga. 400 nonprofit announced BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

The Buckhead Community Improvement District has formed the nonprofit organization, POG 400, LLC, that would manage the fundraising, operation and construction of the proposed park over Ga. 400. The proposed park, which would cap Ga. 400 between Peachtree and Lenox roads, provide green space and bring a redesigned Buckhead MARTA station, was originally spearheaded by the CID, but it is now pushing that responsibility to this new nonprofit, although the CID will still play key roles in it if it moves SPECIAL forward. Jim Bacchetta, who represents Jim Bacchetta, who represents Highwoods Properties on the CID board, Highwoods Properties on the Buckhead Community Improvement District will serve on the nonprofit. The CID will board, will serve on the nonprofit. also help fund the park if it continues to move forward. The CID also announced Barbara Kaufman, a local entrepreneur and a former MARTA board member, will chair the nonprofit. The other members of the nonprofit will be released later, Bruce Bowers, a consultant working with the CID, said. Bacchetta will represent commercial properties on the nonprofit. Other members will assist with local, public relations and fundraising, Bowers said. The name for the nonprofit is POG 400, LLC, a placeholder name that may change later, Bowers said. How to fund the park is still the main question. Rob Rogers, a consultant from Rogers Partners Architects + Urban Designers who has been leading studies on the park, said he expected to have more funding answers by this point, but transitions in Atlanta government and MARTA leadership has pushed back some decisions. Jim Durrett, the executive director of the CID, said the possibility of creating a “special services district,” or SSD, which imposes special property taxes, is still on the table because all funding possibilities are still on the table. However, an SSD would only tax apartments, not single family homes or condos, Durrett said. Coxe Curry & Associates, a fundraising consulting firm, is working with the steering committee to determine the capacity and interest of the philanthropic community in funding the park, Durrett said. The steering committee, which was launched in November 2017 and includes members from major corporations and the former CEO of MARTA, Keith Parker, is supporting the nonprofit and helping determine funding sources.

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FEBRUARY 2 - 15, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Horse Lovers Summer Camp Chastain Horse Park - convenient Buckhead location! Boys and girls ages 4-8 – Mon-Fri 8am-1pm Many weeks to choose from during Summer 2018 Camp activities for our younger riders include horsemanship instruction (grooming, safety and more), riding lessons, crafts and games! Contact us at (404) 252-4244 ext.1 or ponypals@chastainhorsepark.org. More information regarding summer schedule dates and registration form can be found at chastainhorsepark.org, select Riding Services, then select Summer Camp!

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| 19

FEBRUARY 2 - 15, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net


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Reporter Classifieds APARTMENT FOR RENT Midtown Prime Ansley Golf Course Area 2 BR/ 2 BA 1300 sq. ft. Apartment includes Storeroom & Off-Street Pkg. Ideal roommate layout. street level classic Apt in multifamily house has High vaulted/beamed ceilings, crown molding, windows galore, gas starter FPLC, huge built-In bookshelf, W/D, deck w Atl skyline view. Few steps to Ansley Mall. Walk to Shops/Attractions/ Beltline. Close to I-85/I-75. Available now. 404-874-4642 for details/ No texts pls.

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Community | 21

FEBRUARY 2 - 15, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Atlanta airport chief talks power outage, Amazon bid BY JOHN RUCH johnruch@reporternewspapers.net

The general manager of Atlanta’s airport commented on some hot issues — including a recent major power outage and the Amazon headquarters bid — during a stopover at a Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce lunch Jan. 25. Roosevelt Council Jr. is marking his first anniversary as leader of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, though new Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has a search underway for a new general manager. Council previously served the city of Atlanta in other roles, including interim chief financial officer and budget and fiscal policy chief. Council’s appearance at the chamber luncheon, held at the Westin Atlanta Pe-

rimeter North hotel, focused of the airport for 11 hours, a naon touting a $6 billion expantional embarrassment that sion and upgrade master plan cost millions of dollars in lost intended to keep the airport business. The outage involved competitive for 20 years. The a fire in an underground Georairport is major economic drivgia Power Co. facility that er for metro Atlanta and all of killed an electric system and Georgia. Council said he exits intended backup. Just hours pects the airport will mark its before Council’s speech, the AtRoosevelt Council Jr. 20th consecutive year as the lanta Journal-Constitution reworld’s busiest by passenger ported that Georgia Power still volume — more than 104 million flyers a has not determined the cause of the failure. year — once 2017 numbers are calculated. “I’ve become a whole lot more humorThe following are Council’s comments ous since I had that power outage,” Council on some topics during his speech or in a said in one of a few jokes about the failure brief interview afterward. during his speech. Asked afterward for the serious response, Council said it is up to Georgia Power outage Power to figure out the outage’s cause. But, A Dec. 17 power failure shut down much he added, “We’re also trying to ensure it

doesn’t happen again” by finding a way to keep main and backup circuits separate. He said the outage was a “1 in a million thing,” but with major consequences the airport does not want to repeat.

Amazon bid

Council also mentioned the airport’s role in the Amazon headquarters bid. The Seattle-based corporation is auctioning the right for cities or regions to host a gigantic second headquarters, and earlier this month announced that Atlanta is on a 20city short list. A site in Dunwoody’s part of Perimeter Center may be part of Atlanta’s bid, but the state-submitted documents remain secret. Council said he assumes the airport’s massive cargo-handling capabilities are among the reasons Amazon is considering Atlanta’s bid, but not the only one.

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Top, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Buckhead Coalition President Sam Massell hold a crystal statuette of a handshake meant to represent a united Atlanta at the coalition’s annual luncheon on Jan. 31 in the 103 West event space. Left, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks at the Buckhead Coalition’s annual luncheon Jan. 31.

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theme of “Atlanta Together.” She also said that, while she welcomes Amazon or other big businesses coming to Atlanta, it will not be at the expense of existing companies. “While we pursue outside opportunities, it’s extremely important that we not forget those who have stuck with us,” she said. The Buckhead Coalition is an influential, invitation-only group of 100 area CEOs and community leaders led by former Mayor Sam Massell. Its annual luncheon, held at the 103 West event facility on West Paces Ferry Road, is also invitation-only. Several Atlanta City Council members and other elected officials attended the event. The event’s theme was chosen as uniting Atlanta in response to the divisive mayoral election battle between Buckhead resident and former Councilmember Mary Norwood, who was not invited to the luncheon. That race unofficially began with a forum at last year’s Coalition lunch, Bottoms noted. The main gift all attendees received this year was a crystal statuette of a handshake to symbolize a united Atlanta, along with the annual “Buckhead Guidebook,” a magazine distributed by the coalition containing statistics and data about the neighborhood. Bottoms received a larger version of the statuette. Juanita Baranco, the owner of Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead and chair of the

coalition, introduced Bottoms and said the coalition will support her endeavor to unite Atlanta. “We appreciate it, we understand, we support it and we will be here to help implement it,” Baranco said. The coalition invites the new mayor to speak at its annual luncheon in a tradition dating back to when Andrew Young was elected in 1981. Bottoms also said she will continue to invest in projects that affect all of the city, “especially projects on the north side,” such as upgrades to the Atlanta Memorial and Chastain parks. She joked that District 7 Councilmember Howard Shook would be most happy to hear her say a line expressing that Buckhead won’t only serve as a way to fund projects in the rest of the city. “I thought the one line I could give as a speech that would make Howard Shook very happy is if I stood here and said, ‘Buckhead will not be an ATM for the city of Atlanta’ and then took my seat,’” she said. She promised to be “a good steward” of public money and ensure they responsibly distribute funds from the city’s TSPLOST. But, she said, the strength of each community does affect the rest of the city, which is why it is important all of the city grows together, she said. “We know that when Buckhead is strong, we know that the south side is strong. And we know that when the south side is strong, we know that the north side is strong,” Bottoms said. BH

Community | 23

FEBRUARY 2 - 15, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

The “Texas,” a legendary locomotive dating to 1856, has been installed inside the museum’s new wing built along with the cyclorama building. The locomotive was previously a main fixture of Grant Park’s cyclorama exhibit for 88 years.


Visitors will eventually walk into the cyclorama building from underneath the painting before going up escalators to a viewing platform. The pieces missing from the bottom of the painting won’t be replaced, but will be covered by the diorama that will be installed at the base of the painting.

‘Battle of Atlanta’ comes back to life A sneak peek at History Center’s cyclorama Continued from page 1 The historic cyclorama painting of the pivotal Civil War battle was moved to the Atlanta History Center from Grant Park last year and many visitors are eager to see it in its new home. Not many know that the cyclorama is already hanging on the circular wall of a massive new exhibit hall for the extensive restoration work that must be completed before public display. It’s painstaking work that has already pushed that grand opening back from this fall to sometime in this winter. But in an exclusive preview, it was easy to see why. Having recently finished removing varnish and poor repainting done in a previous restoration, the museum is gearing up to repaint the entire sky and pieces removed over the painting’s 130-year history, Gordon Jones, the museum’s senior military historian and curator, said during a Jan. 25 tour of the new cyclorama building. The museum’s main goal is to present the painting as it was originally intended, correcting several flaws in how it was presented in Grant Park since 1921, Jones said. “Nobody that is alive today will have seen the painting the way it was supposed to be seen,” Jones said. “The whole thing here is restore the original illusion, which was virtual reality of its time.” The painting was “hanging like a loose shower curtain,” in the Grant Park building, ruining the illusion, museum spokesperson Howard Pousner said during the tour.

The painting, which was first displayed in Minnesota in 1886 and toured various states before ending up in Atlanta, is now pulled tight, and in an impressive display covers the circular walls of the enormous room built to hold the cyclorama. In the center of the room is a raised viewing platform where visitors will overlook a diorama installed at the base of painting. That diorama, consisting of 128 soldiers, will be a restored version of one created for the Grant Park cyclorama display, Jones said. Technicians working on the “Battle of Atlanta” so far have removed varnish and poor repainting done during the 1979 to 1982 restoration. They will next repaint the entire sky to remove the numerous fluffy clouds that were added in 1922 to cover damage and stains, but ruin the illusion, Jones said. “We feel like that is an essential part of restoring it to how it looked in 1886,” Jones said. Several inches cut off the top of the painting each time the painting was moved will also be repainted. The chunks that were removed from the bottom of the painting in the 1930s after the diorama dirt caused the painting to mold will not be replaced, but covered by the new diorama, Jones said. The experts are also using old pictures as guides to repaint two large pieces that were removed. One piece was removed after the collapse of the roof of an Edgewood Avenue building, where the painting was installed prior to its longtime Grant Park home. The

second piece was removed when the painting would not fit in the Grant Park building, Jones said. A ring of lights that shine on the painting to simulate daylight and assist the illusion will also be used for “dramatic lighting” that will occur during a periodic show that will explain what is happening in the painting. The show will be similar to the show at Grant Park, but include fewer details and be much shorter, Jones said. Visitors will be able to go behind the painting and read information about the restoration process, Jones said. Other related exhibits will be installed in the cyclorama building, including a historic streetlamp that is part of African American history, advertisements for the cyclorama from when it first opened and exhibits detailing how Above, Danielle Collier, a local painting conservator, cleans varnish off of the painting. art and propaganda work to influence how Below, Gordon Jones, the Atlanta History Center’s historic events are resenior military historian and curator, works with German consultant Ulrich Weilhammer on Jan. 25. membered. The “Texas,” a legendary locomotive dating to 1856, has been installed inside a glass enclosure in the museum’s new wing built along with the cyclorama building. The locomotive was previ-

The museum is offering visitors behind the scenes tours of the restoration process on Saturdays for the price of $75 or $50 for Atlanta History Center members. For more information, visit atlantahistorycenter.com. BH

ously a main fixture of Grant Park’s cyclorama exhibit for 88 years. The locomotive can be seen from the outside, but the exhibit has not opened yet. Once it does open, visitors will be able to climb onto the train and into the cab. The museum, at 130 West Paces Ferry, has been at work cleaning and restoring the painting since August 2017. It initially hoped to open the exhibit in the fall of this year, but has pushed that back to the winter, Pousner said. The museum raised $35 million to move and restore the painting, and has set aside $10 million of that for future restorations, which will constantly be needed, Jones said. “There will another restoration and another restoration after that. It will never be done. But hopefully what we do is extend its life and we pass this on to the next generation,” Jones said.

24 |

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we have exciting news!

The Piedmont Bank’s newest retail branch is NOW OPEN in Chamblee!!! We would love for you to stop by and visit old friends and familiar faces! Mike Kirschner, Kelly McMillan, Tawanna Robinson, and Butch Morris have been serving in the banking community for many years.

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5070 Peachtree Blvd. Suite B-110 Chamblee, GA 30341 (770-351-6303)

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** Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is accurate as of date 1/11/2018. $500.00 minimum to open a CD and to earn the stated APY. Penalties may apply to the CD for early withdrawal prior to maturity. Checking account is not required. Offer may be withdrawn at any time.

CD Rate offer available at all locations. Visit our website at www.piedmontbankonline.com for a location near you. BH