East Lake Neighborhood Community Association elects officers for 2024East Lake mural. Photo by Dean Hesse.
By Angela Walker, contributor
Atlanta, GA — The East Lake Neighborhood Community Association (ELNCA) met via Zoom on Monday, November 13, at 7 p.m. for their monthly meeting.
During the November meeting, the ELNCA elected new members. Rick Baldwin and Valencia Hudson were reelected to their board seats for a three-year term starting 2024. Additionally, Rick Baldwin was reelected President, Jeff Philliber was reelected Vice President, and Tracy Lehrer was reelected Treasurer.
In other business:
— ELNCA board members decided to use its budget surpluss by funding several organizations that meet ELNCA’s “LIFT” criteria: Local, Impactful, Focused, and Transformative. The organizations received $1,000 each, including Feet of Clay, The Giving Kitchen, Kirk Cats, Neighbor in Need, and LEAP Tutoring.
Feet of Clay supports women and children escaping domestic violence; The Giving Kitchen supports restaurant workers with emergency assistance; Kirk Cats is an animal rescue organization; Neighbor in Need does emergency home repairs for legacy elderly residents; and LEAP Tutoring.
Financial gifts to organizations of more than $1,000 will be presented to ELNCA members during the monthly meeting for a vote for organizations in the Kirkwood, East Lake, District 5, or the concentric circle around East Lake.
“This is a big step because, through our fundraising efforts over those years for events like Tour of Homes and A Grave Affair, we can raise money to give back to the community,” Baldwin said. “And we did that for the first time this year, and we are super happy about it.”
— Two high school students will receive $500 scholarships each this year: Benjamin Harper and Noah Claxton. The scholarship criteria are a student must live in East Lake, have a 3.0 GPA, write a brief essay, provide a couple of letters of recommendation, and proof that the student is going to any post-secondary education, including trade schools.
— John Hashimoto spoke about traffic concerns on Daniel Ave. SE, between Hosea Wiliams and Memorial Drive.
“It’s a very busy street, sometimes we refer to it as a cut-through street,” said Hashimoto. “Increasingly, more and more children and families are walking, exercising, and riding their bikes in the street. The street is fairly wide and doesn’t have any sidewalks.”
Hashimoto spoke with Baldwin and Patrick Husbands, a representative from Councilmember Liliana Bakhtiari’s office, about speeding traffic concerns on Daniel Ave. Hashimoto, his wife Allison, along with neighbors signed a petition to show the City of Atlanta Department of Transportation (ADOT) that there’s community support for traffic-calming solutions on Daniel Avenue.
ELNCA President Baldwin emphasized that based on Husbands’ recommendations, they will follow ADOT’s procedures and ask them to consider adding speed humps on Daniel Avenue based on securing a survey showing support for the idea. Their request is to have speed humps installed on Daniel Avenue from Memorial Drive to Hosea Williams.
Baldwin said, “Before Liliana takes it into legislation for approval, she wants to have the backing of the East Lake Community.”
— Husbands, provided several updates. He clarified that the walking trail request at East Lake Park is back in the city’s plans.
In other news, Bakhtiari now has “a standing meeting with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), and she can put forward your concerns and get updates on any ongoing projects,” said Husbands.
Bakhtiari is also visiting with GDOT to discuss ways of making it safer for children to walk across Memorial Drive to Drew Charter School. On a related note, Husbands mentioned that Memorial Drive 2.0 is coming and will include light signals that are ADA accessible, where pedestrians can safely cross Memorial Drive from Candler Road all the way West to Oakland Cemetery.
Baldwin provided more context around ENLCA’s requests to provide a walking trail at East Lake Park and ongoing maintenance.
“We’ve been talking to Liliana’s office and [City of Atlanta] parks for a few years about some updates to the park,” Baldwin said. “Most of them are on in the maintenance area, like power washing the tennis courts and the basketball courts, painting pavilions, fixing benches, bleachers, and the grandstand at the softball fields and in and around the playground area.”
These initiatives will be rolled out in 2024 based on support from Bakhtiari’s office.
— Baldwin shared that the City of Atlanta has a grant program for new construction or amenities for certain parks. After touring East Lake Park with Baldwin, Bakhtiari, and city of Atlanta Parks staff, “ENLCA is purposing to re-imagine and re-purpose the arbor that is in disrepair and turn it into a paved picnic pavilion and an open-air Harbor pavilion with a permanent grill area and a semicircular wall.
“That’s working its way through the parks Park Pride grant program. We’ve passed a few hurdles, so we’ll keep you updated in 2024 as that evolves and develops,” Baldwin added.
— A DeKalb County Board of Commissioners representative, Larry Johnson’s Office, Christiana Johnson, shared information about their annual Tree of Love and Turkey Drive. On Saturday, November 18, the Holiday Kick Off begins. There will be turkey giveaways, fresh produce, sides, and coat giveaways at the Gallery at South DeKalb Mall from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
— ELNCA is in the midst of a holiday-themed fundraiser and is partnering with Halls Florist to decorate mailboxes for Christmas. Once someone purchases a mailbox decoration, someone will come to your home in an hour unknown to you and decorate your mailbox for Christmas. ELNCA neighbors are encouraged to invite Kirkwood neighbors in zip code 30317 and friends to purchase a mailbox decoration and donate online by clicking here.
— The last event for the year is the annual Holiday Toy Drive. East Lake resident Mack Horton is leading this year’s effort. The plan is to host a pancake breakfast with a block party on December 9 between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. The event will take place in two locations: Morton’s driveway and the other location will in Hooper Quad area. All are invited to come by, have a pancake, talk with neighbors, and drop off a toy. Additionally, there will be barrels within restaurants at 2nd and Hosea Williams for people to drop off toys if they can’t come on the day of the Holiday Toy Drive.
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