Ten neighborhood groups call on next planning commissioner to support historic preservation – SaportaReport

By John Ruch

Ten Atlanta neighborhood groups have signed a letter calling for historic preservation to be a priority in the selection of the next planning commissioner.

“HISTORIC PRESERVATION WORKS FOR ATLANTA!” states the July 18 letter, which was sent to Mayor Andre Dickens and all members of City Council. “We understand that our city is undergoing major changes on many levels – and that more development is to come. Historic preservation should be recognized as a key tool in directing growth and development in ways that result in quality of sustainable living for city residents of all income levels, showcasing the exceptional places that have given Atlanta its identity.

The letter is aimed at influencing Dickens’ choice of a replacement for Tim Keane, who left his post as commissioner of the Planning Department exactly five months ago. The City did not respond to questions about timing and priorities for appointing a replacement. Janide Sidifall is Acting Commissioner.

Signatories include:

  • Adair Park today
  • Atkins Park Neighborhood Association
  • Collier Heights Neighborhood Association
  • Druid Hills Civic Association
  • Grant Park Neighborhood Association
  • Inman Park Neighborhood Association
  • City of Oakland Community Organization
  • Poncey-Highland Neighborhood Association
  • West End neighborhood development
  • Whittier Mill Village Association

The letter was sent on the letterhead of the Atlanta Preservation Center (APC), a nonprofit organization named as an “ally” in the request and a point of contact for organizations.

“We are using this letter – with the support of our neighborhoods – [and] community leadership to ask our city to be what we know it is,” said APC Executive Director David Yoakley Mitchell.

The letter was crafted by Jeanne Mills, Co-Chair of Adair Park Today’s Historic Preservation Committee. She wrote a first draft that circulated among neighborhood associations, gaining enthusiasm and momentum.

“Preservation is no longer a speck on the radar,” Mills said in a phone interview. “It’s a very important part of Atlanta and it needs to be part of the planning process in a more substantial way.”

She noted that the city charter job requirements for the commissioner specify various city planning references, but not historic preservation.

The final version of the letter notes that Atlanta has 20 historic or iconic neighborhoods that are home to more than a quarter of its residents, and more than 130 designated historic sites and buildings.

“Atlanta needs to have a commissioner who understands the value of historic preservation as a planning and community building tool,” the letter said.

The letter also alludes to the city’s status as the host of some of the matches of the 2026 World Cup football tournament, a major TV show and a tourist attraction. “This city has chosen to ask the world to come here in 2026 and find out what we are – who we are – and see what this amazing city is all about,” the letter reads. “Our hope is that they will see a city of the past, present and future – a city that remembers thoughtfully and includes wisely. They will see that we were not afraid of our challenges, but faced them. readings.

The full text of the letter follows. Click here for a copy of the original.

Dear Mayors and Members of Council,

We are sending this letter to document our concern and establish the importance of historic preservation in the current search for a new Planning Commissioner. We ask that knowledge and experience of preservation support be a necessary criterion for each candidate. Atlanta needs to have a commissioner who understands the value of historic preservation as a planning and community building tool.

There are currently 20 recognized historic or iconic neighborhoods in the city, collectively home to over 25% of residents. Several other districts are expected to be formalized in the near future. Atlanta has more than 130 designated historic sites and buildings. Residents of the Historic District tend to be among Atlanta’s most active and dedicated citizens; historic housing and commercial buildings are some of the city’s most desirable spaces.

HISTORICAL PRESERVATION WORKS FOR ATLANTA!

We understand that our city is undergoing major changes on many levels – and that more developments are to come. Historic preservation should be recognized as a key tool for directing growth and development in a way that results in a sustainable quality of life for city residents of all income levels, showcasing the exceptional places that have given in Atlanta his identity. We implore each of you to be aware of contemporary urban planning and the demands that will be placed on this new commissioner and that is why they will need to be a constant voice for the inclusion of historic preservation as we continue to growing up.

These neighborhood groups, named below, represent residents of Atlanta’s Historic District, and they support the call for historic preservation to be a priority in our planning department. This city has chosen to ask the world to come here in 2026 and find out what we are – who we are – and see what this amazing city is. Our hope is that they will see a city of the past, present and future – a city that remembers thoughtfully and includes wisely. They will see that we were not afraid of our challenges, but accepted them. Historic preservation is not the desire for a particular state of mind; it’s the courage of many who wish to speak visually including what we have achieved with what we continue to achieve. We love this city – help us ensure the new commissioner shares that same sentiment. We appreciate your attention to this concern and welcome all questions and interactions.

Our collective group is best accessed through our allies at the Atlanta Preservation Center. Director, David Mitchell, can be reached at (404) 688-3353, ext. 13, or [email protected]

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