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Decatur Mayor highlights achievements, discusses the future in state of the city address

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Decatur Mayor highlights achievements, discusses the future in state of the city address

Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett. Photo obtained via http://pattigarrett.net/

Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett. Photo obtained via http://pattigarrett.net/

This story will be updated. 

By Anne Clarke, contributor 

The Decatur Business Association hosted the annual State of the City Address on Tuesday, January 23 at the Decatur Conference Center.

Kyle Williams, president of the DBA introduced Mayor Patti Garrett, who introduced School Board Chair Annie Caiola.

Caiola highlighted City Schools of Decatur’s progress starting with 96 percent graduation rate. (Shortly after this the state of the city speech, the School Board voted to elect board member Lewis Jones as its new chair, which is not a reflection on Caiola. The job rotates periodically.)

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There 5,776 students in City Schools of Decatur, Caiola said.

Decatur High and Renfroe Middle have completed their expansions and will showcase the new classrooms, cafeteria and media/entertainment rooms in the spring. The new Tally Street 3-5 Academy is scheduled to open in 2019. All of these construction projects are part of the $75 million bond voters approved in 2015.

Caiola said that Lillie Huddleston, who was hired as the Equity Director for CSD, is making strides in addressing the racial disparities in academic achievement.

Mayor Garrett highlighted the achievements of the city.

“I think we get’ur done in Decatur,” she joked.

She mentioned the first heated pool that is now open in Oakhurst, the city’s two hybrid pedestrian beacons with a third to be installed on Scott Boulevard, and the public art installations around town.

She thanked the Public Works, Police and Fire Departments for their , including police their service during Hurricane Irma and the recent snow days.

Mayor Garrett also highlighted some of Decatur’s special events: Summer in the City, Santa on the Square and Movie Nights on West Ponce.

She was proud to mention the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax passed by voters in November which will provide for existing improvements to the fire station, bicycle and pedestrian crossings, traffic calming and more. It will also be used to pay down some of the city’s debt.

The Avondale Marta redevelopment project is under construction. It will provide 92 senior affordable units and 288 market rate units. Mayor Garrett explained that there would be connections to the Stone Mountain PATH, the East Decatur Greenway and the new United Methodist Children’s Home property that the city purchased.

She described the $40 million dollar purchase of that 77 acre property as a great windfall for the city. “The United Methodist Children’s Home (UMC) property is worth that much and so much more for the city of Decatur residents.”

There will be a community master planning session, Imagine Celebration, at UMCH on Feb. 11 where the city will gather input on uses for the property. The event will be from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the UMCH campus, located at 500 South Columbia Drive.

Continuing with the construction projects, Mayor Garrett said there is a Re-Imagine West Howard community transportation planning session scheduled for Feb. 1 from  rom 6-8 p.m. at the Decatur Recreation Center, 231 Sycamore St.

She is also excited about the city’s partnership with Marta, City of Atlanta and DeKalb County on the Livable Center Plan (LCI) for the East Lake Marta Station. While the planning process has started, she hopes that the community will continue to provide input.

“Growth, affordability, transportation and mobility will continue to challenge us as commissioners,” Mayor Garrett said as she began her closing statement. “Our job is to listen, learn and lead.”

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