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Kirkwood Neighbors discuss Spring Fling, legislative session

Crime and public safety Kirkwood and East Lake Trending

Kirkwood Neighbors discuss Spring Fling, legislative session

Katrina Todd plays the violin in front of the Neighbor in Need booth during the 20th annual Kirkwood Spring Fling at Bessie Branham Park on Saturday, May 13, 2023. The organization helps low-income elderly in the East Lake, Kirkwood and Edgewood communities make emergency home repairs. Photo by Dean Hesse.

By Grace Donnelly, contributor 

Atlanta, GA — At its March meeting, the Kirkwood Neighbors Organization (KNO) shared upcoming deadlines for the annual Spring Fling and received an update on the final weeks of the General Assembly’s session. 

The Spring Fling will be held at Bessie Branham Park on May 18. For more information, click here.

The deadline for feature sponsorships (the ones that get your logo on the posters and the t-shirts) is March 15, and registrations are currently open for the 5K race at early-bird pricing. The festival and the 5K are on May 18 and the tour of homes is May 18 and 19. 

Sign-ups are live for the artist market, food vendors, and wing fling competitors. Tickets and volunteer applications are coming soon—follow the Spring Fling on Facebook and Instagram for the latest. 

Senator Elena Parent shared that the “religious liberties” bill—resurrected this year after Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed the legislation in 2016—has been passed by the Georgia senate. Democrats warn this law would allow for discrimination of LGBTQ+ in the name of religion, and Parent said she hopes it will not make it out of the state house. 

With only three weeks left in the state legislative session, there may still be an omnibus bill that could change voting policies. Representative Saira Draper shared that the legislation could include changes that make it more difficult to vote or easier to challenge the eligibility of voters, which is already an issue in DeKalb County. Draper also noted that following redistricting, she will no longer represent much of the Kirkwood neighborhood in District 90 beginning in January 2025. 

There will be a town hall at Bessie Branham Recreation Center this Wednesday, March 13, at 6 pm with both Parent and Draper, along with other elected officials, to answer questions and hear from the community. Find more information and sign up here

Other Kirkwood Updates

— Patrick Husbands from Councilmember Liliana Bakhtiari’s office shared that a five-second head start for pedestrians will be added for the crossing signals at the Eva Davis Way and Memorial Drive intersections. He also directed Kirkwood residents concerned about noise and traffic from events at Pullman Yards to contact the mayor’s office rather than Councilmember Bakhtiari. 

“The councilmember has exhausted anything she can do,” he said. “Please reach out to the administration.” 

— Bessie Branham Park renewal project is getting underway. Treasurer Josh Woiderski shared that the first payments for those project costs went out this month. KNO environmental committee chair Earl Williamson said that work will begin on the southwest corner of the park by the end of this spring. KNO is still collecting donations for the project.

— Ken Zeff from APS board of education shared that the board is currently searching for a new superintendent and hopes to have an announcement in early May. He will join the March meeting of the KNO education committee to discuss why the neighborhood has some of the lowest utilization rates in the city. Toomer Elementary, which will see a new $20 million facility open on Rogers Street in August, has the lowest utilization rate among APS elementary schools. Parents can also participate in this survey to help APS plan the school calendar for the next three years and receive updates from the District 3 newsletter

— Sgt. Lucien from Zone 6 of the Atlanta Police Department reported that crime in Kirkwood over the last 30 days has declined, with a notable drop in auto thefts. 


— The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is still providing free tax help at Coan Park Recreation Center (1530 Woodbine Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30317). Assistance is available every Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Feb 2 until April 12. See more details or make an appointment here.

— A community fundraiser to support Indigo Wellness following a fire in January is ongoing here.   

— March 16, 17, and 23 are available for scheduling tours of Clay Cemetery, the oldest historical site in the neighborhood.


— Wednesday, March 13: Town Hall at Bessie Branham Recreation Center at 6:00pm

— Tuesday, March 19: Birds of Kirkwood with Michael Ayling at the DeKalb History Center at 6:30pm 

— Thursday, March 21: KNO Education committee meeting on Zoom at 7:30pm

— Saturday, March 23: Race for FATE fundraiser 5k at the Toomer facility across from Coan Park at 8:30am 

— Tuesday, March 26: NPU-O meeting on Zoom at 6:30pm

— Tuesday, April 9: Final prospective parent Q&A at Toomer Elementary at 9am

See the Kirkwood community calendar for a full list of events.

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