More than 450 residents and stakeholders attended a family resource fair, community meeting and kick off celebration for the 2015 edition of the Year of Boulevard initiative on Wednesday at Blueprint Church in the Old Fourth Ward.
“We have come a long way since we launched the Year of Boulevard in January 2012,” said City Councilmember Kwanza Hall. “Three years later, we wanted to celebrate the hard work that residents, business owners, nonprofit agencies, and others are doing together to improve public safety, quality of life, and access to resources in the Old Fourth Ward.”
At the event, corporate and non-profit partners including Wingate Companies, MailChimp, and the Museum of Design Atlanta awarded more than $200,000 in grants and scholarships to local nonprofits serving youth, families, and seniors. Recipients included the Operation P.E.A.C.E. afterschool program and summer camp; YearUp Atlanta, a workforce training organization for young adults; Truly Living Well’s urban agriculture summer camp; the recently established Boulevard Food Co-Op; and the soon-to-open Freedom Barkway Dog Park.
During the evening, four founding Year of Boulevard partners received keys to the city, including Hyatt Regency Atlanta; Adam Harrell of Nebo Agency; Newell Rubbermaid; and Rev. Joseph Crawford, Pastor of Fort Street Memorial United Methodist Church.
Two longtime neighborhood presidents in the area, former Fourth Ward West president Tim Hollis and former Fourth Ward Alliance president Kit Sutherland, were also honored. In recognition of their combined eight years of service as presidents during a period of enormous growth and change in the Old Fourth Ward, the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) awarded eight needs-based scholarships to Boulevard corridor youth to attend MODA’s popular 2015 Summer Robotics Camp.
In addition to celebrating the community’s accomplishments in 2014, Hall announced a number of new initiatives and partnerships for 2015. These include: the creation of a South Boulevard Working Group to address public safety and quality of life issues in the Old Fourth Ward south of Freedom Parkway; a renewed commitment to the Atlanta Police Department’s Clean Car Campaign, encouraging drivers to remove items from their automobiles to reduce the number of thefts from cars; the spring opening of the Freedom Barkway Dog Park; the arrival of new afterschool soccer programming for boys and girls in partnership with Soccer in the Streets; and the launch of discussions to explore the creation of a Community Improvement District (CID) for the Old Fourth Ward.
Elected officials in attendance included Fulton County Commissioner Joan P. Garner and Georgia State Senator Nan Orrock. Also during the evening, City of Atlanta Public Works Commissioner Richard Mendoza spoke about the upcoming March 17 infrastructure bond referendum. APD Zone 6 Commander Major Timothy Peek joined Hall in announcing the public safety initiatives.
For further details about the event, including photos and a video recap of 2014 accomplishments, as well as a complete list of partnerships and initiatives for 2015, visit District2Atlanta on Facebook.
To get involved in the Year of Boulevard, contact Councilmember Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org or (404) 330-6038