Rep. Nikema Williams, Decatur mayor announce recreation center solar panel projectU.S. Rep. Nikema Williams (second from left) presented a check to Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett (far left), Mayor Pro Tem Tony Powers (second from right) and Energy and Sustainability Manager David Nifong (far right) to install solar panels at the Decatur Recreation Center. Photo by Zoe Seiler.
Decatur, GA — U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams (GA-5) visited the Decatur Recreation Center on Tuesday, April 19, to announce the city of Decatur’s increased utilization of green energy. The city submitted a community project funding request through Williams’ office, which was approved, to install solar panels on the recreation center.
The city will receive $750,000 in funding for the clean energy project at the recreation center.
“I am grateful today on behalf of the United States Congress and Georgia’s fifth congressional district to be here to present $750,000 for the solar panels at the Decatur Rec Center,” Williams said. “In the 117th Congress, we brought back community project funding requests and those are specific requested grants that can be dedicated to your congressional district, that each member of Congress has an opportunity to apply for and get for projects in their district.”
Mayor Patti Garrett said this was the first community project that Williams has visited in her district.
“It is very much in line with her vision, as well as our vision and our community’s vision for the city of Decatur,” Garrett said. “We have a strategic plan that incorporates sustainability and resilience planning and this will add to the city’s ability to be able to have projects that are examples, but also benefit the city by having these solar panels on our rec center and contributing to the life and wellbeing and the example that we’re showing with respect to sustainability.”
She told Decaturish that the funding will help the city move toward the goal of energy independence. Any solar panels that are installed are part of the city’s resilience plan and sustainability plan.
“We’re also an example,” Garrett said. “I really feel that it is important for small cities to know that we can do our part and contribute to the overall sustainability and encourage other small cities, counties, other municipalities, nonprofits, other organizations that want to be able to submit for funding for similar projects and to say this kind of project can be uplifted and funded as part of the community project process.”
Williams’ office was able to get funding for 10 projects, including the solar panel project at the recreation center. She explained that she and her staff looked at projects that would benefit the whole community long term.
“This was the perfect example of how the community benefits from this,” Williams said. “It’s at the rec center that is open for residents to come and enjoy. This is something that we want to see other communities doing, especially moving towards that are energy efficient and looking towards the future.”
Mayor Pro Tem Tony Powers added that the recreation center is the heartbeat of the center of Decatur.
“Everything that ever happened in this city that brought people together happened right here,” Powers said. “Trust me, I grew up right here. For it to happen here, it is [probably] the most appropriate for this to happen [at].”
As for the city’s sustainability projects, Decatur will continue to install solar panels and batteries, and upgrading city facilities, as well as working on electric vehicle charging.
The community project requests in Williams’ district are:
– $2,200,000 for the Hosea Helps, Inc. Care Facility and Program Expansion Project
– $1,600,000 for City of East Point Water Treatment Plant renovations
– $1,160,000 for Central Atlanta Progress to complete Phase 1 of The Stitch: a Downtown Connector highway capping project
– $900,000 for the Morehouse College Black Male STEM Education Research Initiative
– $750,000 for the City of Decatur Recreation Center Clean Energy Project
– $325,000 for the Spelman College SpelREADS student literacy initiative
– $200,000 for Prince Hall Masonic Lodge preservation
– $200,000 for the Georgia State University School of Social Work Child Welfare Training Collaborative
– $191,000 Covenant House Georgia, Inc., GA, for mental health services for families
– $150,000 for the Urban League of Greater Atlanta Small Business Accelerator Program in the Atlanta Area
U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-4) visited the Decatur last week as well to highlight and tour the community projects he requested funding for. Johnson secured about $5 million in funding for community projects in District 4, according to a press release.
These projects include:
– The Affordable Housing Creative Village in the City of Decatur. The Creative Village Project received $209,000 for the adaptive reuse of four former group homes to provide affordable housing and studio space for local artists.
– DeKalb County’s Flat Shoals Library location to highlight $800,000 for sidewalk improvements along Flat Shoals Parkway, and Columbia Drive to Flakes Mill Road in South DeKalb.
– MedCura’s Candler Road location in Decatur, where Johnson was pleased to announce $300,000 to enhance the mental health services the local health facility is providing to the community.
– The Derrydown Way Complete Streets project, which will receive $600,000 to install additional sidewalks to extend a nature path in that portion of the county.
“I was incredibly pleased to vote for and bring back to DeKalb $1,909,000 in community projects which directly benefit my constituents,” Johnson said. “These investments support underserved areas and foster economic development, making a real difference in the lives of so many in our community. I am proud to have fought for funding that will make our community healthier, safer, stronger, and even more resilient.”