By Maggie Lee
Atlanta Public Works is painfully aware of the Buckhead roads which need repaving, says the city construction manager in charge of the north side
But city councilwoman Yolanda Adrean cautions that this year’s budget won’t cover much more than potholes.
“I’m going to personally look into this,” said Femi Fayemi, at a Neighborhood Planning Unit A meeting Sept. 1 in Buckhead. Fayemi said he arrived at the NPU-A meeting via Northside Drive southbound between Mt. Paran and West Paces Ferry.
“I didn’t realize it was in that poor condition,” he added.
“Would you go home by Valley Road?” joked NPU member Phillip Jones, about the long, bumpy neighborhood street. And more seriously, he suggested the corner of Putnam Drive and Blackland Road is in a critical state of erosion.
It was Fayemi’s first visit to the NPU. He came to ask residents what they need from his department, which covers roads, sidewalks, rights-of-way and traffic. He got a quick answer: road repaving.
Mount Paran Road should be repaved this year, but not another high priority, Northside Drive.
Said Councilwoman Adrean: “Even though the roads are prioritized, the truth is there’s no money.”
“The regular property tax that we are collecting doesn’t even begin to put a dent in what we need in our infrastructure,” she elaborated.
And Atlanta is “not in a position to go into the bond market right now,” Adrean concluded.
But on the bright side, “We bought a pothole truck this year … it was a big deal that we had money to buy some of this equipment.”
“I get a lot of emails from everyone in my district about potholes,” said State Representative Elly Dobbs (D-Buckhead). “People want to know about repair time.”
Dobbs’ constituents should see repair time drop. The new vehicle doubles Atlanta’s pothole fleet to two trucks.
Potholes can be reported on the city’s website or via hotline at 404-POTHOLE.
For something more complicated than pothole repair, smaller roads are usually in for the longest wait.
Pavement conditions, of course, matter and generally arterial roads get first priority, Fayemi explained. Then come so-called “connectors” between local streets, and finally the local or neighborhood roads used mostly by residents. Roads that feed schools – like Mount Paran — get a priority bump.
But Buckhead must also wait for the Georgia Department of Transportation to repave some thoroughfares. For example, the spot where Northside Drive joins Northside Parkway marks the end of the city’s responsibility. South of that, it’s a state road.
Dogs to get a park of their own
Dog-walkers in Chastain Park shouldn’t be surprised if a stranger asks what they would like in a dog park. The grassroorts organizers behind the idea are collecting opinions to help write an official proposal for city hall.
“We have to do a survey,” explains Russell Fox, whose nonprofit Georgia Foundation for Public Spaces is managing the campaign.
Two spots are at the top of the list: at the south end near the American Legion, and at the north end on Park Drive.
The result could be on one park or, says Fox, maybe two. He’s heard some interest in one area for big dogs and another for smaller breeds.
Private fundraisers have already amassed more than enough money for the dog amenities and a pro-park petition has nearly 1,000 signatures.
Once the plan is finished, it’s up to Atlanta City Council and the new parks commissioner to OK a final plan.
When that will be, Fox isn’t sure, admitting that the new city parks commissioner probably has a lot of work on his desk.
But in the meantime, Fox is hoping to get an army of dogs at the park for the Walk and Wag on Oct. 23. It’ll be a one-day festival including a dog parade, microchipping, contests and more. It’s a benefit for the Ahimsa House, a nonprofit that works to remove pets and people together from situations of domestic violence.
Arts Festival schedule
The annual Chastain Park Arts festival will run from Nov. 5- 7. It will start Friday night, most likely with the movie “Grease” on an outdoor screen. The weekend is reserved for a juried fine art show, artist exhibits, sales, food and music.