Dear Decaturish – Legacy Park Voice survey is misleading
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I have been following the dialog between the newly formed group, Legacy Park Voice, and the City of Decatur City Commissioners. Legacy Park Voice has come out strongly against the Legacy Park housing addendum. What has been concerning is that they have spread misinformation and have not educated themselves on the facts as it relates to affordable housing in general and also as it relates to the master plan for Legacy Park. I am aware that our mayor, Patti Garrett, along with other City of Decatur commissioners have met with members of Legacy Park Voice to answer their questions and to provide factual information. In addition, the Coalition for Diverse Decatur and Coalition for Diverse Dekalb wrote a letter to the editor of Decaturish which was published on September 23, 2020. The letter did an excellent job of providing facts about the proposed affordable housing at Legacy Park as outlined in the housing addendum to the master plan. I assumed that after our neighbors from Legacy Park Voice were made aware of the facts, that their fears and misconceptions would have been put to rest; that does not appear to be the case.
Last week, a small lime green flyer was taped to my mailbox. The headline of the flyer read, “Take the Legacy Park Survey.” It was being distributed by the Legacy Park Voice. Directly underneath, a question was posed in large letters, “Do you want Greenspace, Recreation, or 175 Housing Units at Legacy Park?” These three options are not exclusive to the other. As the Legacy Park master plan now stands, there is green space, space for recreation, and space set aside for affordable housing. The planners thoughtfully located potential housing at the corners of Legacy Park, where buildings already exist and housing would not be in direct competition with other uses.
I decided to look at the survey and was disappointed that most of the questions were slanted and were predicated on misinformation. As written, the survey questions and accompanying commentary are misleading and designed to evoke a desired set of responses. Community members should not have their views misrepresented by such a biased survey.
The City of Decatur in partnership with a consultant invested funds, energy, and time in conducting thoughtful and productive public input sessions to provide the Decatur community the opportunity to provide feedback as to what we all wanted Legacy Park to become. Hundreds of residents spent countless hours engaging in this process. In the end, I believe a plan was developed that struck a balance among multiple interests, supporting and celebrating artists, athletes, affordable housing advocates, naturalists, gardeners, youth services, non-profits, and more.
At a time when our country is so divided, it seems to me that our community should come together to support each other and to work out our differences truthfully and respectfully. I expect that of Decatur and its residents.
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