An emergency hearing set for July 28 over Gov. Brian Kemp’s lawsuit against Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the Atlanta City Council has been cancelled. The parties were ordered by a Fulton County Superior Court judge to go into mediation over the COVID-19 mask requirements and restrictions set by the city. Kemp said in a media statement that he was prepared “to continue productive, good faith negotiations with city officials and prepare for a future hearing on the merits of our legal position.” Kemp said his priority remains “protecting the lives and livelihoods of our citizens and Georgia businesses.” On July 27, the Georgia Senate Democratic Caucus, Georgia House Democratic Caucus, and six service and worker unions all filed briefs in support of the city’s mask mandate.
Dante Stephensen, the restaurateur behind the legendary Dante’s Down the Hatch restaurants formerly at Underground Atlanta and Buckhead, died July 25 from pancreatic cancer. He was 84. According to a report at the AJC, Stephensen opened the first iteration of his pirate-themed eatery and jazz club (fashioned after an 18th century sailing ship and complete with moat and live crocodiles) in 1970 at Underground. He moved the restaurant to Buckhead in 1981 after Underground went into its first decline, but reopened there in 1989 for a decade.
MARTA has completed $6.9 million in safety and aesthetic upgrades to the Inman Park/Reynoldstown rail station. New safety features include an accessibility ramp connecting Walthall Street to the Reynoldstown bus loop and a stair tower to Seaboard Avenue on the south side of the station. The two pedestrian bridges linking the station to parking lots to the north along DeKalb Avenue and the south along Seaboard Avenue were rehabilitated, and a speed table was built to slow vehicle traffic. Most of the project focused on rehabilitating the decades-old pedestrian bridge linking the Inman Park and Reynoldstown neighborhoods to the rail station. MARTA removed the deteriorated structural slab and walking surface on the north and south sides and retrofitted the bridge with reinforced decking to help reduce vibrations from MARTA and CSX train tracks. The walkway ceiling, railings, and decorative metal screens were replaced, and the entire structure was painted. Safety upgrades include a new fire protection system, security cameras, and LED lighting.