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Kirkwood Neighbors get updates about redistricting, preps for Spring Fling event

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Kirkwood Neighbors get updates about redistricting, preps for Spring Fling event

Kirkwood. Photo by Dean Hesse.
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Atlanta, GA — The Kirkwood Neighbors Organization hit the ground running in 2024, getting updates on a range of issues including how recent redistricting will play out in local elections this year.

State Sen. Elena Parent gave an update to KNO about how redistricting would affect the neighborhood.

“There will be some changes to our Kirkwood State House and State Senate seats,” Parent said. “In the State Senate, Kirkwood still remains within the district I represent, but the district will slide South a little bit. So now the district will run from Morningside to Morrow.”

Parent said that in the State House, representatives Saira Draper and Becky Evans were drawn into the same district, so one will not be able to continue in their position.

In other KNO business:

– KNO also heard updates on issues from Atlanta city Councilmember Liliana Bakhtiari.

The council member said that after working with the PATH foundation, the Amani Place trail will now connect Amani Place, formerly known as Edgewood Court, to the Trolley line trail. The woods in the area have been a public safety issue and with kids walking through the area to get to school, the area could be made safer, Bakhtiari said. The council member said the next step would be to meet with Atlanta housing and wants to make sure their work limits any impact to trees.

Additionally, Bakhtiari said the Kirkwood Urban Forest will now have an entrance after her office invested a little over $2 million into a property on Dearborn, which was a dumping ground and required remediation.

“We had to do a lot of remediation, but that house came down because it was, well, it was riddled with asbestos and a number of other things,” Bakhtiari said. “We took that down and remediated the property and for the first time, Kirkwood Forest is going to have an official entrance.”

There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony on I Love My Parks Day on Feb. 3.

There will also be a renovation of the park and playground at the Bessie Branham Recreation Center. The center has a new HVAC system and now $3 million has been dedicated to the playground renovation.

Bakhtiari also said permanent striping will take place on Jan. 19 to address watershed repairs in the area.

Lastly, there was a proposal made by a city council member that would require a special use permit for “any primary dwelling under 750 square feet,” KNO president Mathew George said.

“I think that puts in obstacles to great opportunities for density and for those of us who a lot of individuals who are trying to build those types of units in their yards to, as I call it, create a less unused occupancy and trying to create more housing opportunity,” Bakhtiari said.

– KNO voted in its next secretary, Jessica Wals.

– KNO heard a report on last year’s profit and expenses before going through a first vote for its 2024 budget. The budget was approved during this vote and a second vote will be done on the subject in February, as per the bylaws, George said.

Membership dues for the year are also being collected. They are $5 per person.

Organizers are in the process of preparing for the neighborhood’s annual Spring Fling event, which generates revenue for KNO. Last year’s Spring Fling brought in about $152,000, according to the Treasurer’s report. This was about $40,000 more than what KNO had budgeted for.

Artist Market applications are now out and the organization voted to approve the alcohol special event permit and outdoor festival permit for the event.

– KNO voted to approve a variance and to send a letter of support to Atlanta Department of Transportation Commissioner Solomon Caviness about traffic concerns in the area.

KNO conducted a survey of residents’ concerns about traffic in the area and received 45 responses. The biggest concerns were speeding and cut through traffic. The letter to Caviness detailed the survey’s findings as well as recommendations on how to remedy some of these issues.

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