On Thursday, December 10th, 2015, the City of Atlanta, in partnership with Invest Atlanta, hosted the highly anticipated Turner Field Stadium Neighborhoods Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) community Kickoff Meeting at Fanplex. Approximately 200 community residents and stakeholders were in attendance to learn about the eight-month planning process, previous planning efforts and how to stay informed and involved.
The meeting opened with a welcome from Mayor Kasim Reed, followed by remarks from Commissioner Tim Keane with the Department of Planning and Community Development and Ernestine Garey, Executive Vice President and COO of Invest Atlanta. A brief video was presented, featuring plan sponsors and stakeholders discussing the importance of the LCI program, this planning process and celebrating the work done to date.
Next, a presentation lead by John Skach, a Senior Associate with Perkins+Will, described how in the upcoming months the consulting team will explore the land use, transportation and economic development potential for the LCI study area and develop recommendations based on market conditions. The intended focus of the study will include the stadium area Tax Allocation District and the surrounding stadium neighborhoods (Peoplestown, Summerhill, Mechanicsville, Pittsburgh and portions of Grant Park) utilizing an extensive public engagement process. Click here to download a PDF of the Kickoff Meeting Presentation (6MB).
Following the presentation, there was a brief Q&A session where Commissioner Keane, John Skach, and community engagement consultant Contente Terry fielded questions written and submitted from the audience. These questions brought up issues of zoning, the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority’s (AFCRA) Turner Field RFP process, and opportunities for community input. All of the questions submitted will be answered and posted on the project website.
Finally, meeting attendees were invited to join the consultants and City of Atlanta staff at interactive work stations to provide input serving as a first step in the project data collection phase. The stations included the following themes:
ASK: Participants were encouraged to write questions on a chalk board and get real-time answers from Commissioner Tim Keane; Jessica Lavandier, project manager and assistant director, Office of Planning; Flor Velarde, tax allocation district planning specialist, Invest Atlanta; and John Skach, project manager with Perkins+Will.
LEARN: The purpose of this station was to learn local knowledge from the community as well as to provide information regarding the LCI process, the consultant’s initial findings of the study area and previous plans. By pinning comments to a large scale map of the study area, participants identified challenges and opportunities in the areas of transportation and connectivity, development and land use, services and amenities and recreation and open space.
WISH: A wish list of the community’s aspirations was created at this station. The station also included a portion of the Healthy Living Exhibition by the Museum of Design Atlanta in which participants sketched their desires for the future of the Turner Field Stadium and the surrounding parking lots.
SHARE: The “Share” station was a video booth where participants were asked to record their answer to the question: What is your favorite thing about your neighborhood? The goal is to document residents’ voices in a way that reveals the essence of this place. This station also included the Beyond the Braves exhibition, which consisted of fifteen large scale photographs by Peoplestown resident Rick Laupus, that were part of a PhotoVoice project of the 303 Community Coalition, Inc.
ENGAGE: Community residents and stakeholders interested in learning more about the extensive public engagement process, volunteer opportunities and how to sign up to participate in stakeholder interviews and focus groups visited the Engage booth.