News Briefs: Fundraising for HUB404 park; Richard Jewell book; Downtown building demolition

Fundraising is officially underway for HUB404, the proposed park that would cap Ga. 400 in central Buckhead. According to a report from Reporter Newspapers, the nonprofit group organizing the effort is first raising $250,000 to hire staff and start the main capital campaign. Building the park could cost $175 million to $200 million, backers have previously estimated. Originally conceived by the Buckhead Community Improvement District and now promoted by an independent nonprofit, the park concept is a roughly 9.5 green space and plaza built above Ga. 400 between Peachtree and Lenox roads, and incorporating a redesigned Buckhead MARTA Station. The name refers to the center of metro Atlanta’s 404 phone area code. BCID Executive Director Jim Durrett also serves as HUB404’s treasurer. He said the BCID is seeking a $1 million grant from the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank to go towards a $4 million in preliminary engineering work on the park design. The rest of the money would have to be raised from other sources. Durrett said HUB404 is also reaching out to communities around the city to make sure the future park’s programming would be diverse and that its current support is broad. “We want this park, because of its connection to MARTA, to be viewed by people in Atlanta to be their park, and not Buckhead’s park,” he said. For more information, see hub404.org and watch the new video about the project above.

The authors of a new book about a a man falsely suspected of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics bombing will speak in Buckhead on Nov. 12. Kent Alexander and Kevin Salwen’s “The Suspect” tells the story of Richard Jewell, a heroic security guard who warned people away from the bomb, only to become a target of the investigation and media accusations before authorities realized the real perpetrator was a right-wing terrorist. Jewell is also the subject of a Clint Eastwood film scheduled for release in December. The authors will appear at 7:30 p.m. at the Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead.  Admission is $10 for non-members, $5 for members. For more information, visit  atlantahistorycenter.com.

Demolition will continue on two Downtown historic buildings after a local preservationist decided against pursuing legal action against the city. A Fulton Superior Court judge had issued a stop work order on the demolition at 152 Nassau and 141 Walton Street, which will become a Margaritaville-branded hotel. “Despite my best efforts and hopes, I cannot repair through litigation the problems for our city caused by an apathetic Mayor, City Council, and City Attorney,” Kessler said in a statement to the media.  It became evident upon further diligence surrounding the facts of the 152 Nassau Street and 141 Walton Street properties that the judicial system was not a way for myself or any other citizen to force our public officials to care about our city and their obligations to its citizens, including the right of the people to the protection of our city’s history. A court cannot force elected officials to care, only we can do that by our votes.” The building on Nassau Street across from The Tabernacle, which has already been partially demolished, was once a recording studio where the first country song hit was recorded. The Walton Street building was a film exchange, where local cinema owners could rent films for showing in their theaters.

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