By Amy Wenk

With little voting business on hand, Neighborhood Planning Unit C (NPU-C) hosted a night of presentations at their May 6 meeting.

Around 35 people attended the meeting held at Trinity Presbyterian Church to hear city officials and NPU-C representatives speak. One presentation was about the BeltLine/PATH Foundation trail which will run north of Collier Road through Cathedral Woods and Bobby Jones Golf Course.

NPU-C Chair Eric Ranney began the discussion, noting that BeltLine officials have given the NPU little input in the process.

“It has been a problematic process in my opinion,” said Ranney, who has been attending study group meetings on the topic. “I wanted to get this on the NPU’s radar. [Beltline officials] don’t seem to really want to engage with the community.”

Next, Steven Hart, a resident of the NPU, gave his take on the BeltLine trail. Hart has been active in the process, serving as the Northside study group coordinator, and had several criticisms about the way the BeltLine officials are handling this portion of the trail.

Even though master plans are supposed to be developed for each segment of the BeltLine and then approved by the appropriate NPU, BeltLine/PATH officials want to speed up the process, said Hart. This, therefore, limits the input from citizens.

“Everything they are proposing is an alternative to the original plan,” said Hart, adding Beltline officials are considering clear cutting Cathedral Woods in order to make way for the trail. “The original plan was fine.”

Both Ranney and Hart vowed to keep the NPU abreast of the developments regarding this portion of the BeltLine/PATH Foundation trail.

“If the people’s voices aren’t being heard…there is at least some role the NPU can play to be an advocate for the community,” said Ranney. “I will bring something to the NPU. They will hear from us as a group.”

The next Northside study group meeting regarding the trail will be held on June 2.

Another significant discussion was about the Moores Mill Bridge in Ridgewood Heights. Robert Warlick, who serves on both the Land Use and Executive committees for the NPU, spoke about the condition of the bridge, which was built in 1924.

Warlick said although the bridge has been recently refurbished, which included sandblasting, priming and painting the steel of the structure, there are still concerns about the safe loading conditions of the bridge.

“I am taking it on myself to work with the city to get this information,” said Warlick. “We may need a resolution to get the safe limit posted.”

Warlick said he will return to the NPU in June with more information.

Other presentations at the May 6 NPU-C meeting included talks from city of Atlanta departments, including fire, watershed and parks and recreation. All noted potential staff cuts due to the city’s budget deficit.

Lt. Terry Joyner of Atlanta Police Department Zone 2 also spoke about the increase in car break-ins. He said there have been more than 800 this year, a significant increase from last year. Joyner, however, said Zone 2 officers have made 13 arrests over the last week and a half in connection with these crimes. He also warned citizens to be careful when parking at Lenox Mall and Wal-Mart off Howell Mill Road, the two most likely spots in the area for car break-ins.