By Howard Shook, Atlanta City Council

Reporter Newspapers asked me to comment on the recently launched “Livable Buckhead” initiative dedicated to the enhancement of the community’s long-term environmental sustainability.

As reported, this 501(c) 3 organization was developed by leaders of the Buckhead Area Transportation Management Association (BATMA) with the vision of leveraging partnerships with businesses, the neighborhoods, and Atlanta City Hall to tackle popular needs such as recycling, waste and energy reduction, water usage, and new or expanded parks and greens paces.

BATMA, Buckhead’s first business organization to include a neighborhood seat on its board of directors, understands the positive powers that can be marshaled when the community’s powerful individual elements work in harness toward common goals.

Livable Buckhead also profits from and builds upon the successful government/neighborhood/business dialogue begun over a decade ago by the far-sighted community leaders who formed the Buckhead Action Committee.

This group deserves much credit for transforming yesteryear’s business/neighborhood friction into today’s more productive dialogue. That dialogue has recently produced, as one example, the sweeping updates of design standards that will guide future development in the old Buckhead Village area, an approach that has been nominated for an award by the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Although brand new, Livable Buckhead has already generated much buzz — and, soon, results — from the Buckhead Greenspace Action Plan currently under construction. This effort, designed to improve on our underwhelming inventory of parks, playgrounds, and preserves, has also benefited powerfully from its stakeholder committee featuring a broad spectrum of residential and business interests.

Another coming Livable Buckhead initiative is the two-day event slated for late March that will provide Buckhead residents and businesses with an opportunity to safely dispose of household hazardous waste items such as pesticides, pool chemicals, old computers and unused medications.

Although I’ve been involved in community issues for 20 years now, I am continually startled by how much can be accomplished when Buckhead’s storied stakeholders come together to solve a problem or create a better community.

Livable Buckhead is uniquely positioned to help create a bottom-up pool of energy, enthusiasm, direction, leadership and resources that will ensure our continued pre-eminence as a place to live, work and play!

Howard Shook represents District 7 on Atlanta City Council.