DeKalb CEO proposing Downtown DeKalb

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt January 22, 2015
DeKalb County CEO Lee May delivers his State of the County address on Jan. 22, 2015. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

DeKalb County CEO Lee May delivers his State of the County address on Jan. 22, 2015. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Decaturish has obtained an advance copy of DeKalb County CEO Lee May’s “State of the County” speech, and it provides a broad outline of his plans for moving administrative offices from downtown Decatur.

The relevant portion of the speech …

Just as we will focus on economic development around Emory University and the CDC, the Memorial Drive Corridor will received that same focus. The redevelopment of Memorial Drive is essential to the future of DeKalb County. It is my vision to turn it into our “Downtown DeKalb,” through tourism, office, commercial and residential development. We will take advantage of the corridor’s proximity to both Stone Mountain Park and the State Capitol.

This vision is about giving attention to a part of the county that has been neglected for decades. I believe, once complete, this vision will create and bring hundreds of thousands of new visitors to DeKalb. Multitudes of young families will buy homes in the area and a new generation of active retirees will find that Memorial Drive has everything they’re looking for in a vibrant community. To this end, we will be seeking buy-in from the private sector as we seek opportunities through public-private partnerships.

The catalyst for this wholesale transformation will be the creation of a new Government Center at the heart of Memorial Drive. And a renewed focus on transit-oriented development at the Kensington MARTA station. This new Government Center will be the anchor of “Downtown DeKalb.”

With access to the interstate, MARTA rail station, and the hundreds of acres of publicly-owned land, this area is ripe for development.

We are at the State of the County speech and will be following up with May and city of Decatur leaders for more details.

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Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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