By John Schaffner

After attending monthly Riverside neighborhood meetings in a firehouse off Bolton Road in northwest Atlanta for years, sitting in the ballroom of the exclusive Capital City Country Club for a biannual meeting of the Historic Brookhaven Neighborhood Association (HBNA) is something very different.

Those are two distinct parts of Atlanta and two very different meeting environments but the purpose is very much the same: To improve life in the neighborhood, build more sense of community and increase the value of property investments.

Historic Brookhaven is an affluent neighborhood of 800 homes, 1,600 adults and 2,000 children, with 49 streets spanning two counties.

HBNA President Frank Clementi said his is also a magnanimous neighborhood.

As an example, Clementi introduced the Hopkins family at the association’s meeting May 12. The neighborhood contributed as sponsor of the Pound the Pavement for Pete family fun run to raise awareness and money for peroxisoma disorders, a crippling affliction their son Pete has. The family talked about the affliction and the event.

Pound the Pavement for Peter drew more than 600 runners, walkers and children in strollers and raised $55,000 that went to Johns Hopkins Medical Center for peroxisoma disorders research.

Then there was the case of Atlanta police Officer D.D. Johnson, who helped with HBNA’s security. He was killed in a head-on auto collision on his way home one night. He left a wife and children. The neighborhood raised $28,000 for the family through donations of $25 to $5,000.

After the examples of neighborhood generosity, Clementi turned to the night’s business and speakers.

One disturbing announcement was that association membership had dropped about 50 members, which Clementi attributed largely to the economy. HBNA members pay $50 dues plus a security fee of $231. The largest annual expenditures from the budget are more than $14,000 for beautification, and $6.500 for the association’s annual street party.

Lisa Martinez, who has taken on the challenge of HBNA events, including planning of the annual street party Saturday, Sept. 26 from 4 to 8 p.m. She was surprised to discover the 33-year history of the event, which traditionally begins with a charity fun run in the morning followed by the afternoon party.

Special speakers included Kelly Brantley, president of the new Brookhaven Community Connection, and Trace Carpenter, who discussed plans for a new Little Nancy Creek Park on Peachtree-Dunwoody Road, a joint project of the HBNA and the North Buckhead Civic Association.