Community call for enhanced safety measures after accident kills teenager

For Immediate Release
September 11, 2019
Contact: Rolanda Powell
Center Hill Neighborhood Association, President
centerhillna@gmail.com

Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway safety

Once again, the Center Hill Community is mourning the loss of a young life. Fourteen-year-old Jermaine M. Wallace Jr. was en route to Douglas High School on Thursday morning, September 5, 2019, when he was struck by a car on Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway (DLHPKWY)/State Highway 78. “J.J” succumbed to his injuries the following day. No charges have been brought against the driver.

Center Hill Neighborhood Association (CHNA), the recognized neighborhood association for the Center Hill community is calling for the Georgia Department of Transportation to conduct a swift, yet comprehensive revision to the current safety mechanisms in place for both pedestrian and motoring traffic. This busy thoroughfare is home to a senior housing community, Center Hill Park, zone 1 precinct for the Atlanta Police Department, as well as multiple businesses, churches and MARTA bus stops.

While our community has waged this battle for over ten years, witnessing numerous pedestrian fatalities over this span, we have garnered the support of our elected officials.

City of Atlanta Council Representative Dustin Hillis expressed his concerns regarding the lack of a crosswalk along the entire stretch of DLHPKWY from State Highway 280 (Hamilton E. Holmes Drive) for approximately a mile east. “I have begged and pleaded to Georgia Department of Transportation to install (or at least allow City of Atlanta Department of Public Works to install) more crosswalks along this stretch to no avail. Felicia A. Moore did the same for many years.” Dustin Hillis.

Mr. Hillis also noted that the previous council representative, Ms. Felecia Moore made a plea to the Georgia Department of Transportation to install at least one crosswalk along the route. The appeal was ultimately declined, and a cautionary sign advising drivers to reduce their speed in front of the park was installed in lieu of the enhanced measures requested. A formal request for assistance has been made to State House Representative, Ms. Sheila Jones (House District 53) and will be made to State Senator, Horecena Tate, District 38.

The Center Hill community was patient, compliant and peaceful, while GDOT completed the required traffic study, yet continuously refused requests for enhanced safety measures. What appears to be an obvious disregard for human life and safety for motoring residents along this corridor is no longer acceptable. Our community is rapidly growing and changing; we must keep up. We welcome productive dialogue and subsequent action on behalf of our residents.

Respectfully,

Rolanda Powell

CHNA President

CHNA Meeting Minutes 9-5-19

  1. Meeting Called to Order by President, Ms. Rolanda Powell at 6:33 PM. 
  2. Purpose and mission statement read by President Powell
  3. Reading of August meeting minutes by President Powell
  4. Minutes approved as read by President. (Motion: Ms. Gwen Lee  Second: Mr. Chris Bartlett)
  5. President’s Report was given by Ms. Powell 
    1. Public Safety: Discussion was had regarding a desire to identify vacant/unkept lots near Johnnie B. Moore Tower
    2. President Powell shared info about 311, planned code enforcement ride-along, how to report illegal dumping and loitering concerns near the pawn shop located within CHNA boundaries.
    3. Brief discussion surrounding the desire to create a unified Center Hill brand
    4. President Powell asked Treasurer Erin Nickson to provide a financial overview of the CHNA bank account. An online savings account has been established at Ally Bank. The total available balance (prior to the meeting) was $136. A total of $20 was collected by the conclusion of the meeting, bringing the total to $156.
  6. Report of the Committees:
    As no committees have been formalized at this time, no official reports have been submitted for the record. Miscellaneous items were addressed in the President’s report in the interim.
    1. Zoning Committee
    2. Communications Committee
    3. Education Committee
    4. Environmental Committee
    5. Public Safety Committee
      1. Residents expressed concerns about the requests for traffic calming measures and seemingly “getting the run-around.” Rhoda Brawner planning a silent protest at corner in question on Monday, September 9th. President Powell reminded residents that the association is still working behind the scenes to garner support from public officials and asked to be kept in the loop with any planned activities.
    6. Finance Committee
    7. Entertainment/Events Committee
    8. Beautification Committee
    9. New Business: 
      1. Consultant, Chris Bartlett shared details surrounding the importance of a Neighborhood Development Plan. It is imperative that CHNA be proactive and included in discussions surrounding how the neighborhood gets developed.
  7. Announcements: 
    1. Carter Coleman of APD Urban Planning & Management, LLC attended the meeting. Despite not being on the schedule to present, President Powell allowed Mr. Coleman the chance to address the members. Latest developments in planning have the firm requesting a variance from NPU-J due to the City of Atlanta’s request for increased density. Although the entirety of the project now lies within Grove Park, APD and others are still committed to open communication with CHNA. APD is still planning to incorporate an urban garden with a designated unit for the garden overseer as well as space for a small grocer. The plan is to break ground Feb/March of 2020. The building will be four stories along Donald Lee Hollowell and increase to five as you move away from the street.

Adjournment: 7:38 PM

Submitted by Erin Nickson
Treasurer

CHNA Meeting Minutes 7-11-19

  1. Meeting Called to Order by President, Ms. Rolanda Powell at 6:33 PM. 
  2. Reflection read by consultant, Chris Bartlett
  3. Agenda Approved
  4. Minutes approved as read by President
  5. President’s Report was given by Ms. Powell 
    1. Ms. Powell provided an update to new attendees regarding the executive board membership, her personal background and investment in Center Hill as well as current membership recruitment efforts.
    2. Overview of the first Movies in the Park, which included a video montage and highlights of the activities.
  6. Report of the Committees:
    As no committees have been formalized at this time, no official reports have been submitted for the record. Miscellaneous items were addressed in the President’s report in the interim.
    1. Zoning Committee
    2. Communications Committee
    3. Education Committee
    4. Environmental Committee
    5. Public Safety Committee
    6. Finance Committee
    7. Entertainment/Events Committee
    8. Beautification Committee
  7. New Business: 
    1. Vecino Group presentation: A presentation regarding the proposed development at 2174 Donald Lee Hollowell was given by Mr. Jesse Wiles and Paul Robinson. The focus of the project is to be the economic catalyst for reinvestment in the community. The parcel of land in question was purchased by entertainer, Clifford “T.I” Harris and is slated to be an affordable housing mixed use community with a small grocery service and on-site gardening. The 150-165 unit development is slated to break ground the first quarter of 2020. The plan calls for 25 units to be reserved for children aging out of foster care. All units will be built to meet “market rate” standards of quality. Other services being considered are partnering with Federally Qualified Health Centers to increase access to care as well as the addition of an arts/cultural/recording studio and financial banking institution. Representatives promised the residents of CHNA that there will be ongoing community engagement as the development continues. At the end of the presentation, Mr. Wiles and Robinson promised to make themselves available after the meeting for additional questions.
    2. A presentation on the proposed by-laws was given by Consultant, Chris Bartlett. Mr. Bartlett provided a high-level overview which included discussion around the following topics: Center Hill neighborhood boundary lines, membership and dues, voting policies and elected officer. The by-laws, a 30 page governance document, were voted in as read after a motion from Chris Bartlett.  
  8. Announcements: 
    1. Per Ms. Powell, discussions are underway with Salem Baptist Church secretary, Lillian Wilison, regarding future CHNA meetings being held at their place of worship. Pending confirmation, the meeting in August, and all subsequent meetings, will be held at Salem Baptist Church.
    2. Per Ms. Powell, CHNA member Lorenzo Powell has pitched the traffic light concern to three different media outlets (Veronica Waters from WSB Radio, Kiss 104 FM and Condance Presley at WSB TV community affairs) to highlight the urgent need. NPU-J Chair Keona Jones encouraged CHNA to speak with City Council President Felicia Moore and/or City Council member Dustin Hillis.
    3. Bulk trash pick-up has to be scheduled by calling 311. If you don’t call, you will be in violation as of July 1.  

Adjournment: 7:39 PM

Submitted by Erin Nickson
Treasurer