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Councilmember Bakhtiari’s office urges Watershed to fix sinkhole in East Lake Park

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Councilmember Bakhtiari’s office urges Watershed to fix sinkhole in East Lake Park

East Lake mural. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Atlanta, GA — The East Lake Neighborhood Community Association (ELNCA) met via Zoom on Monday, April 10, at 7 p.m. for their monthly meeting.

Councilmember Liliana Bakhtiari joined the meeting to deliver a few updates, one of which was about 

“You may have noticed a gaping hole in East Lake Park,” Bakhtiari said. “That is a sinkhole.”

Bakhtiari said that her office met with both the Department of Watershed and the Department of Parks and Recreation because “purview over things like that in parks” tends to fall to the wayside, with Watershed saying it’s the Parks and Rec’s responsibility, and the Parks and Rec saying that they don’t have the skills to repair it.

“We brought it to the commissioner’s attention because, obviously, it’s a massively growing sinkhole,” Bakhtiari said. “Watershed is going to be dispatching emergency teams to make that repair.”

In other news from the ELNCA meeting:

— President and CEO of the East Lake Foundation Illy Askia joined the meeting to introduce herself and deliver a few updates after starting in this role right after Labor Day last year.

She said, “Big things that are happening at the foundation.” Askia is building the organization’s new five-year strategic plan, which should be ready by June.

She gave a quick overview of what’s included in the plan thus far. Some of their initiatives include affordable housing, academic recovery, mental health and well-being, and economic vitality.

Askia said the foundation broke ground on 40 affordable townhomes on March 29 and they should be finished by early 2024. The foundation is devoting time and resources to address academic achievement gaps among students served by the foundation, particularly students who learned to read on Zoom via the pandemic. She also said the foundation is looking at areas where children and families in the community are not well, working to provide education, awareness, and support.

Just last month, ELNCA voted to recommend the denial of a zoning request at 2535 Glenwood Avenue, and it was the same result again on Monday night.

Michael Palazzone, associate at Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services, presented the application again, without many changes. The proposal went from nine to eight single-family detached units.

After a five-minute presentation and a 35-minute discussion with ELNCA members, 77 percent voted to recommend the denial of the request.

ELNCA President Rick Baldwin asked Lieutenant Capell from Zone 6 if police can start patrolling East Lake Park as we approach what he called “picnic season.”

“What happens is, on Green Street in particular, by the time you get to 5 o’clock, both sides of the street have double parking going on, and it’s an emergency vehicle problem,” Baldwin said. “It becomes basically a tailgating street. It’s all by the pavilions on Green Street. We’re headed to Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day.”

Capell thanked Baldwin for mentioning it, assuring that they’re already preparing.

“I was just having a discussion today with my supervisor, and they were telling me that when it gets warmer, East Lake Park can become a problem,” Capell said. “I think police presence helps a lot, trying to be in the area as much as we can. And also, if need be, some enforcement if they’re violating any park rules, we need to be out there actively enforcing things early therefore, it doesn’t become a problem later toward the holiday season and the summer.”

Free live music in East Lake Park is back, with Wind Down Wednesday set for May 3 and May 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket, chairs, and food.

This event is weather permitting, since it is outside. You can check Facebook and the ELNCA website for updates.

For details on the Wind Down Wednesday on May 3, click here.

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