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Kirkwood residents ask city of Atlanta to crack down on Pratt-Pullman Historic District

Kirkwood and East Lake Metro ATL Trending

Kirkwood residents ask city of Atlanta to crack down on Pratt-Pullman Historic District

People attend “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” at Pullman Yards in Kirkwood on May 25, 2021. Photo by Dean Hesse.

By Sara Amis, contributor

Atlanta, GA — Kirkwood residents are asking the city of Atlanta for stricter enforcement of activities at the Pratt-Pullman Historic District.

The historic district has become a major hub of activity in the neighborhood since the state sold it to Atomic Entertainment in 2017, featuring art exhibits and sports events.

But the activity has started to wear on the nerves of people living near the historic district.

At its May 10 meeting, Kirkwood Neighbors’ Organization members announced they are sending a letter to the Atlanta mayor, Atlanta Department of Transportation, and Councilmember Liliana Bakhtiari expressing the organization’s concerns about the Pratt-Pullman Historic District. KNO is requesting the establishment of a dedicated city liaison position along with traffic impact studies, a transportation improvement plan, and corrective measures to address parking, multimodal access, and emergency access issues along Rogers Street and other nearby feeder streets.

KNO is asking that the city add extra layers of review for all special use and building permits in the Pratt-Pullman Historic District until the above requests are met.

Kirkwood resident Oshine Najarian has created an online petition to get the City of Atlanta to enforce noise ordinances, permit violations, and parking regulations at Pratt-Pullman.

KNO members had a lengthy conversation with Bakhtiari’s staff member Brooke Condrey following the meeting, specifying several complaints about noise and zoning violations at Pratt-Pullman as well as apparent disregard for permits.

“There have been a lot of concerns mostly about lack of communication with regards to the site,” said KNO President Megan Owens.

Owens also described differential treatment by the city of Atlanta, citing  “clear priority differences from zoning, from legal, and from [Atlanta Police Department].”

Specifically, sports events being held at the site are being treated as exceptions to noise ordinances, however during the zoning process sports events were specifically excluded from permitted activities at the site.

“You can’t interpret the law according to how it benefits you in the moment,” said Owens.

Following the meeting, Owens said, “I hope the city will be responsive to our concerns about Pratt Pullman Historic District.”

“I also hope the property owners, and production companies deliver on commitments they have made to the neighborhood and the city of Atlanta,” Owens said. “It’s unfortunate it’s become such an issue, but we are still hopeful that they all can come together to right the harm that has been done and facilitate a healthy and neighborly relationship moving forward.”

The Pratt-Pullman Yard – originally farmland purchased in 1904 by the Pratt Engineering Company for a sugar and fertilizer processing plant – was used for munitions manufacturing during World War I.

It was purchased in 1922 by the Pullman Passenger Rail Company and used as a rail car service and repair facility. Southern Iron and Equipment Company used it from 1955 to the 1970’s. The facility was closed after the federal court order split up the Pullman Passenger Rail Company. Georgia Power used the facility for its fleet of Trackless Trolleys, a name for electric buses. The Georgia Building Authority bought the property in 1990. It was briefly used as part of the New Georgia Railroad, a dinner train running from Underground Atlanta to Stone Mountain. The yard is also a popular filming location.

In other KNO business:

– The KNO is in the last week of preparations for its yearly Spring Fling event, to be held May 14 of this year at Bessie Branham park. This year’s event is back to a normal schedule after having been canceled in 2020 and delayed in 2021. Festivities will include a 5k run, a wing cook off, a tour of homes, and an artist market.

Spring Fling is KNO’s biggest event and primary fundraiser. KNO members seemed upbeat, even giddy.

“Be nice. We’re your neighbors. We know where you live,” KNO President Owens said after her normal housekeeping announcements about proper meeting protocol.

Spring Fling chair Andrew Feury said that the festival still needs volunteers for operations, break down, the kids area, and vendors.

Volunteers are eligible for t-shirts, a free beer, and a free gallon of popcorn.

“It’s looking like it’s going to be a really great festival,” said Feury.

– Education Committee Chair Taylor Cross offered an update on the Atlanta Public Schools Facilities Master Plan, including a collaboration on an education survey with the East Lake Neighborhood Community Association and Organized Neighbors of Edgewood.

– KNO approved a rezoning of 2011 and 2015 Memorial Drive from single family residential to multifamily residential.

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