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Biz bits: New homes in Tucker gated community start at $800,000

Business DeKalb County Metro ATL Tucker

Biz bits: New homes in Tucker gated community start at $800,000

The Enclave on LaVista is a new gated community in Tucker with 62 homes. The pricing starts in the $800,000s. Photo courtesy of The JW Collection.

Atlanta, GA — Here’s a look at business and local government news in our community.

– The JW Collection is working to build The Enclave on LaVista, a 62-home gated neighborhood in Tucker located at 4738 Lavista Road.

Currently, 19 homes have been sold, and 12 homes are available in various stages of construction. Pricing starts in the $800,000s. The community is expected to be finished in 2025. Enclave on LaVista is one of nine neighborhoods in The JW Collection, which is owned by John Wieland, according to an announcement.

Community amenities include walking paths, a dog park, an open-air pavilion, a family park, a fire pit, and a playground. There are also wood trails nearby with access to 32 miles of trails, paths, and neighborhood greenways.

“The executive homes feature open floor plans, luxurious primary suites, thoughtful kitchen design, large gathering rooms, cozy porches, and spacious gardens,” the announcement states. “The homes range in size from 3,350 to 3,885 square feet with four bedrooms and 4.5 baths, with many of the home sites offering third-floor sky terraces.”

– Atlanta Public Schools is partnering with The Lion Electric Company to transition its school bus fleet from diesel to zero-emissions vehicles. 

Atlanta Public Schools bus. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Here is the full press release:

ATLANTA – Atlanta Public Schools (APS) recently announced a partnership with The Lion Electric Company (NYSE: LEV) (TSX: LEV) to transition its fleet of diesel-powered school buses to clean, zero-emission ones that cost significantly less to operate.

APS has issued a purchase order for 25 LionC buses with funding they were awarded from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Clean School Bus Program (CSBP).

The school district selected Lion as the preferred manufacturer for its reliable and modern LionC, an all-electric, zero-emission school bus that delivers many benefits to schools, students, and communities. They collaborated with Lion to identify available funding to purchase electric school buses and worked to address APS’ goals to modernize its fleet.

APS and Lion worked together to ensure the school district received complete support to identify their transportation needs, determine budget and funding availability and outline charging infrastructure requirements. The school district was able to acquire funding through federal and state incentives, specifically from the EPA’s CSBP, which awarded $9.875 million to APS to replace their costly and older diesel-powered school buses with clean energy, zero-emission buses.

“We look forward to embarking on this partnership with Atlanta Public Schools and delivering our LionC buses, which have revolutionized the transportation industry and are making significant, positive impacts on student and worker health, district budgets, and well-being in communities throughout the United States,” said Nate A. Baguio, Senior Vice President of Commercial Development at Lion Electric.

– Atlanta Public Schools, the city of Atlanta, and nonprofit partners have announced an initiative to transform schoolyards to support the healthy development and academic success of every student.

Here is the full press release:

ATLANTA – Atlanta Public Schools (APS), the City of Atlanta, and nonprofit partners KABOOM!, the Children & Nature Network (C&NN), and Trust for Public Land (TPL) announce a bold vision to ensure every APS school has a Community School Park that supports the healthy development, success, and well-being of Atlanta’s kids and communities. Through the Atlanta Community School Parks Initiative, partners will work with kids and communities to transform schoolyards into quality playspaces and outdoor learning environments that support kids’ mental and physical health and academic achievement.

Research confirms that children who have regular opportunities to play and learn outdoors have better academic outcomes, experience less stress and anxiety, can cope better with adversity, and have stronger self-esteem, social skills, focus, self-regulation, and cognitive functioning.  However, far too many kids lack sufficient access to healthy, outdoor places to play and learn, if they exist at all. This is especially true in communities of color where access to nature’s benefits could help address the impact of trauma and systemic barriers that lead to inequities in academic and community health outcomes. Data collected over the last decade has demonstrated a persistent disparity in investment in civic infrastructure that supports kids’ mental, physical, and emotional development.

“Atlanta’s schoolyards and parks are packed with the potential to address physical, mental, and educational needs as Whole Child Interventions, as well as provide for the recreational needs for the community use of school facilities outside of school hours,” said Dr. Lisa Herring, Superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools. “School grounds are specifically designed for children and when we invest in and create these spaces, it not only benefits the school community, it also benefits the surrounding neighborhood and the environment.”

The Community School Parks Initiative will provide equitable access to kid-designed playspaces, outdoor learning environments, and healthy, green oases that spark joy and a sense of belonging for kids and communities both during and after school. The partners will work closely with communities to seek their input to determine specific needs and desires, such as locally grown fresh food, art, and cultural opportunities. Leveraging local data and assessment tools, partners will ensure that investments are prioritized in communities with the greatest need.

This commitment is announced on the heels of APS’ 150th anniversary and in support of Mayor Andre Dickens’ declaration of 2023 as the Year of the Youth to highlight the urgency of our commitment to kids as leaders, equipping them for success. Together, partners will work to achieve transformative impact for kids through the Community School Parks Initiative.

“Coming together with Atlanta Public Schools and our nonprofit partners for this innovative project shows a collective commitment to investing in youth in new ways that will support their academic success and set them on a path filled with opportunities,” said Mayor Andre Dickens.

Starting in 2022, partners in the Community School Parks Initiative brought together their collective vision and expertise in engaging communities to create co-defined solutions and outcomes for the health and well-being of kids. The Community School Parks Initiative builds on the success of the Atlanta Community Schoolyards pilot program, a collaboration of APS, Trust for Public Land, Park Pride, and Urban Land Institute-Atlanta, which will create 10 new schoolyards by the end of 2023. The Atlanta Community Schoolyards pilot is part of TPL’s broader Community Schoolyards™ initiative that aims to open community schoolyards in 20 underserved school districts over the next five years.

“Transforming schoolyards is a cost-effective, multi-benefit solution for improving health, learning, and resiliency for students and underserved communities,” said George Dusenbury, Georgia State Director for Trust for Public Land. “Too many communities, particularly communities of color, lack access to high quality outdoor space, and too many school children lack an engaging space for outdoor learning. We are excited to work with so many committed partners to address this inequality. Parks are essential for the mental and physical well-being of Georgians, and the creation of community schoolyards are a key part of our work to close the equity gap.”

The Community School Parks Initiative also builds on KABOOM!’s partnership with APS, building more than 16 playgrounds across Atlanta Public Schools over the past 25 years. KABOOM! joined the cohort to support scaling the Community Schoolyards pilot program through their 25 in 5 Initiative to End Playspace Inequity. Through 25 in 5, KABOOM! is partnering across sectors to accelerate their mission, ending playspace inequity at the scale it exists in 25 places in the next five years. This is just the beginning of addressing a solvable problem, creating a roadmap to achieve playspace equity across the country.

“KABOOM! has been working in Atlanta for decades, yet we recognize that in order to address the urgent challenges that kids are facing, we need to show up differently, aligning our work under the 25 in 5 Initiative to collaborate across sectors for greater progress to support our kids,” said Lysa Ratliff, CEO of KABOOM!. “This is mission critical work and innovative partnerships are necessary to move this work forward. We are committed to the Community School Parks Initiative to create spaces for Atlanta’s young people to reach their greatest potential and empower them to use their voices and equip them as the future leaders we will count on as changemakers.”

To kick off this work, Children & Nature Network has secured $1 million which will be matched by public capital funds to be raised for refurbishing six school parks. Once this phase is completed, more than 5,000 students and surrounding neighborhood children will have greater access to natural spaces and high-quality playgrounds, which will support the desired initiative goals of improving mental and physical health outcomes and academic performance and providing a higher quality of life for residents in the surrounding neighborhood.

“This public-private partnership is an example of the power of collaboration across sectors to improve outcomes for kids and communities, making it possible for all children in Atlanta to learn, play and grow in quality nature-filled Community School Parks,” said Sarah Milligan-Toffler, President and CEO of the Children & Nature Network.

Our ultimate goal is to ensure equitable outcomes for all kids in Atlanta, providing Community School Parks as an innovative solution that connects classroom learning to the numerous benefits of nature. In the next phase of work, more than 20 additional schoolyard sites have been identified as in need of immediate investment that will address barriers to easy access to parks and greenspaces. Overall, the initiative will impact generations of kids by providing healthy, outdoor green spaces proven to support academic success and healthy physical and mental development.

– United States Rep. Nikema Williams (D-GA 5), and Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock secured $25 million through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to accelerate the construction of the Atlanta BeltLine.

The Atlanta BeltLine is expanding in northeast Atlanta, between the Armour/Ottley and Lindbergh areas and will connect with the Lindbergh MARTA Station. Photo courtesy of Rep. Nikema Williams’ office. 


These resources will expand segment three and connector trails one through three of the Atlanta BeltLine Northeast Trail, according to a press release. The funds will be used to build a 2.2-mile network of multi-use trails in northeast Atlanta, between the Armour/Ottley and Lindbergh areas. The work will connect the BeltLine to the MARTA station at Lindbergh Center, fulfilling its vision to connect with the region’s larger transportation network. 

Construction will also include safety upgrades to the development, including new and improved bridge structures, ADA-accessible ramps, crosswalks and signals, lights and security cameras, stormwater infrastructure, and landscaping. 

“Over and over again, we see how much the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests in people,” Williams said. “This $25 million for continued BeltLine expansion will connect people to essential transportation and the best our region has to offer–safely and with a focus on accessibility. The BeltLine is a catalyst for equity, growth, and opportunity for Atlantans and is a shining example of what it looks like to think boldly about infrastructure.”  

Ossoff added that the lawmakers are investing to accelerate the completion of the BeltLine trail.

“Imagine families walking and biking, restaurants, retail, and small businesses, green spaces and trail connectivity across Metro Atlanta. This is a huge step forward toward that vision,” he said.

According to Warnock, the BeltLine “is an artery connecting Atlantans to each other and their neighborhoods in the heart of our state.”

“That is why I am proud to have worked alongside Senator Ossoff to secure these funds for the city to expand trail construction, bolster accessibility, strengthen economic development and more. Atlanta is on the front lines of our green economy, and by investing in this world-class transportation corridor, we are continuing to pave a path towards a better tomorrow,” Warnock said. 

Clyde Higgs, president, and chief executive officer of Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., said the company is working to create a city that allows people to move within it and create new access points. 

 “The BeltLine is creating a vibrant public space and a more equitable city for Atlantans by ensuring mobility and access for all who live and work near the corridor,” Higgs said. “The construction of the Northeast Trail network is a crucial part of this vision.” 

In recent years, Congresswoman Williams and Senators Ossoff and Warnock have secured more than $21 million in Federal funding to accelerate the construction of the BeltLine and expand affordable transportation access for Georgians in and around Atlanta. 

– DeKalb County Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson has been named Georgia Elected Official of the Year. 

FILE PHOTO: DeKalb Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson watches line dancers perform during the DeKalb County Senior Olympic Games opening ceremony at the Exchange Park Intergenerational Center on Columbia Drive in Greater Decatur on Monday, May 1, 2023. Photo by Dean Hesse.

She will accept the award at the American Public Works Association Conference in Savannah on Aug. 9.

Here is the full press release:

DeKalb County, GA – Super District 7 Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson has been selected as the 2023 Georgia Elected Official of the Year by the American Public Works Association (APWA). The highly distinguished award represents the first time a DeKalb County elected official has been selected for this honor.

The American Public Works Associations’ Georgia Chapter Awards Program was established to recognize outstanding public works employees, individuals, groups, and projects, representing the best achievements in the public works profession in Georgia. Competition for the award is highly competitive and submissions are received statewide.

Cochran-Johnson has served as the Chair of Public Works and Infrastructure (PWI) since 2020 where she has overseen the allocation of funds totaling $1,077,074,904 in water, sewer, and infrastructure. The appropriations represent one of the largest dollar amounts adjudicated by a Committee Chair in DeKalb County history.

Cochran-Johnson served as chair during critical infrastructure work under the Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) Consent Decree that requires DeKalb to expand, replace, and enlarge its infrastructure while creating an ongoing Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). She has been present during Phase II of the Snapfinger Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion to improve wastewater treatment and increase capacity to 54 million gallons a day to support DeKalb’s increasing sewer needs.

As Chair of PWI, Cochran-Johnson has required mandatory audit review of contracts of over $3 million, which has resulted in $57,215,092 in savings to DeKalb County taxpayers.

Other key actions taken under her tenure include supporting the restructuring of infrastructure debt and supporting applications by the administration to receive Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) and Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans associated with water and infrastructure resulting in $90 million in combined debt savings.

“I am proud to have been present during critical decision-making for the people of DeKalb. As Chair of PWI, said Commissioner Cochran-Johnson. “I have taken every action possible to place DeKalb in the best possible position, but I do not receive this award as an individual”

She added, “I am humbled by the fact that individuals from various Departments in DeKalb County came together to nominate me for this honor. My eternal gratitude to Director Peggy Allen of Roads and Drainage, I would also like to acknowledge the Public Works and Infrastructure Department and the newly Nationally APWA Accredited DeKalb County Public Works Department, and the Georgia Chapter of the American Public Works Association for the nomination. Your acknowledgment of my work has touched me deeply. I support each of you emphatically and I look forward to our future. I receive this award on your behalf, not mine because you do the work that has made this award possible.”

– The Alliance Theatre announced the production directors for the 2023-2024 production season.

The Coca-Cola Stage at the Alliance Theatre. Photo by Leonid Furmansky.

“The Alliance Theatre is thrilled to announce the stage directors for its 55th season,” a press release states. “The new season will feature award-winning plays, exciting world premieres, a blockbuster musical, and groundbreaking works developed for youth and families. This diverse and distinguished group of creators and storytellers highlight the Alliance’s commitment to delivering ‘powerful programming that challenges audiences to think critically and care deeply.'”

Here are the production directors:

On the Coca-Cola Stage:

– The Shining will be directed by Brian Staufenbiel, creative director for Opera Parallèle where he has directed and created the conceptual designs of the company’s productions since it was founded in 2010.

– A Tale of Two Cities will be directed by Leora Morris, an award-winning Director who started working with the Alliance as the Yale Directing Fellow.

– The Preacher’s Wife will be directed by Tony Award nominee & NAACP Award winner Michael Arden and award-winning director and actor, Tinashe Kajese-Bolden.  Kajese-Bolden is also the Alliance’s BOLD Associate Artistic Director and co-interim Artistic Director.

On the Hertz Stage:

– English will be directed by Theatre/Film director, choreographer, and writer Shadi Ghaheri.  Ghaheri is originally from Iran and is now based in New York.

– Furlough’s Paradise will be directed by award-winning director and actor, Tinashe Kajese-Bolden.

– Fat Ham will be directed by Tony Nominated, Obie award-winning director, playwright, and cultural worker Stevie Walker-Webb

Youth and Family Series:

– The Incredible Book Eating Boy is directed by director, producer, playwright, and dramaturg Jamil Jude, who also serves as Artistic Director for Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre.  Sam Provenzano will serve as this production’s Associate Director.

– Into the Burrow: A Peter Rabbit Tale will be written and directed by award-winning director Mark Valdez, who also serves as Artistic Director of Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis.

– A Christmas Carol will be directed by Actor & Director, Caitlin Hargraves.

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