December 15, 2017

New Urban Farm in Old Fourth Ward

Old Fourth Ward is getting a neighborhood, organic vegetable garden on 4-acres leased from Wheat Street Baptist Church! The project will also be a marketplace and serve as a training center for budding (funny, huh?) urban gardeners. The official announcement is below, but the important thing is that there is going to be a ceremony this Sunday, December 5, 2010 at 2PM on the corner of Hilliard and Old Wheat.

Don’t forget to thank these hard working people and organizations!

The official announcement….

City Councilman Kwanza Hall, The Blank Family Foundation, EPA & Wheat Street Baptist Church join forces to launch 4-acre urban farm in Old Fourth Ward

Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture to break ground in neighborhood that raised Martin Luther King Jr.

ATLANTA With the help of District 2 City Councilmember Kwanza Hall and generous investments by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation, Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward will soon be the site of a new four-acre organic urban garden.

The historic Wheat Street Baptist Church, one of the nation’s oldest African American churches, has leased four acres of inner city land to Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture (TLW) to build an organic vegetable garden, which will also serve as a market place and training center for Atlantans interested in urban agriculture.

Officials will present a check and break ground on the new farm at the corner of Hilliard and Old Wheat streets at 2 p.m. Sunday, December 5. The community is invited to attend.

“This is a smart investment in our collective vision for the Old Fourth Ward,” Councilman Hall said. “Just three years ago, in 2007, hundreds of community members came together to envision the future of the neighborhood. We said that we wanted the Old Fourth Ward to be a center of innovation for the City as a whole. This is the kind of innovation that we welcome.”

Rev. Dr. Michael Neely Harris, Pastor of Wheat Street Baptist Church, noted his church˙s longstanding support of entrepreneurialism. “Wheat Street Baptist Church has a historic tradition of being a part of feeding people,” he said, “starting with the food co-op founded by Rev. Hosea Williams and Rev. William H. Borders, Sr., who was my predecessor, which evolved into Hosea Feed The Children. This project continues that tradition and we are proud to be a part of it.”

Rashid Nuri is the founder of the Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture. He is a Harvard-educated agriculture specialist who has lived around the world working in agri-business. Five years ago he moved from the desk to the land and planted 3 organic garden sites around the City of Atlanta. The success of his work caught the eye of Councilman Hall, the EPA and the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation, which is dedicated to reducing childhood obesity and improving youth fitness.

“Food is a foundation of community life,” said Nuri. “The better the quality of our food, the stronger our community will become. We must make quality food affordable and easily accessible to people who live in our inner cities.”

The project is made possible, in part, by generous investments from the Environmental Protection Agency and The Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation, an affiliated fund of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. “Our investment in Truly Living Well will put healthier, locally grown food on more dinner tables in our community,” said Penelope McPhee, president of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. “As an innovative public-private venture, the Wheat Street Garden project represents a critical opportunity for Atlanta to set a new course as a leader in health and wellness.”

The ceremony will include displays of vegetables grown by TLW; the ceremonial planting of a vegetable bed; and interaction with graduates of Truly Living Well˙s training programs and youth programs.

For more information, contact the office of Councilman Kwanza Hall at (404) 330-6038. For information on the day of the event, call (404) 406-5296.

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Streetcar from King Center to Atlanta Centennial Olympic Park Approved!

Today, the AJC reported that U.S. DOT has approved $47 million for Atlanta’s proposed $70 million downtown streetcar program. The original story can be found at, but is included below.

Rep. Lewis: DOT will fund Atlanta streetcar project

By Ariel Hart and Bob Keefe

WASHINGTON — In a major coup for the city of Atlanta, the U.S. Department of Transportation has agreed to grant the city $47 million for its proposed $70 million downtown streetcar project, according to U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta.

Lewis’ office said he got confirmation of the award in a conversation with DOT Secretary Ray LaHood on Friday morning.  LaHood’s office would not publicly confirm the award.

“In my conversation with Secretary LaHood this morning he reiterated his belief that it was a good and necessary project and one that deserved federal funding,” Lewis said in a statement. “Not only does this project offer citizens and visitors to the downtown area another option for transportation, it will also provide green jobs and support economic development.”

The city’s deputy chief operating officer, Luz Borrero, and a spokesman for the city of Atlanta, Reese McCranie, stressed that the city had not gotten “official” word on the grant from the U.S. DOT.

More may be coming Georgia’s way.  A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Transportation, Olivia Alair, said the winner announcements would not come until next week. On Friday, LaHood is expected to address a mass transit conference in Macon.  The city of Macon and Georgians for Passenger Rail applied for about $1.9 million to help plan a commuter rail line between Atlanta and Macon, said Gordon Kenna, CEO of the passenger rail group.

Macon is in the district of U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall, a Democrat who is in a difficult re-election battle.

A $47 million award for the streetcar project is less than the $56 million Atlanta applied for in August. Making the project finance work will depend on the city council’s approval of an extra $5.6 million or so toward the project, Borrero said.  In addition, about $2 million will be shifted to streetcar-related projects.  Borrero said that the shifted money was originally budgeted for transportation-related projects within the same corridor, so no area would lose out on project money.

Borrero said the city pared down its request in recent days in talks with federal officials.  She said the city council, which approved funds for the original application, had not yet considered the request for additional money.

“We did not know what degree of success this proposed approach would have, but we knew that if we were successful as we have been that we would have an opportunity to demonstrate to the members of the the city council that leveraging a $45 million investment against a smaller increase in our local match would be definitely a worthwhile and absolutely outstanding opportunity,” Borrero said.

City officials have been pursuing the funding for the streetcar line, which will run east-west connecting the King Center with Centennial Olympic Park, for months. Lewis, along with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, met with and had conference calls with DOT Secretary LaHood as recently as a few days ago.

According to city plans, the project would cost more than $70 million, with the city and the Central Atlanta Progress’ Downtown Improvement District putting up local matching funds for it.

Reed’s office has estimated the project would create 5,200 jobs over 20 years and would not only help ease downtown traffic problems but also help the city compete for more tourism and convention business.

The grants are under a DOT program designed to upgrade transportation networks and create jobs quickly.

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Atlanta Streets Alive!

The Event

On Sunday, October 17, 2010, Atlantans have another chance to experience the streets of our beautiful city like never before. From 1-6pm, Atlanta Streets Alive! is once again taking back the streets for people to get active and get engaged. Bring out your bikes, rollerblades, and your best moves. There will be an hourly bike loop, hooping, jump rope, double dutch, frisbee, relay races, zumba, capoeira, kickboxing, tai chi, nia, …salsa, ecstatic, persian dance & poetry, circus performers, storytelling, music, art, and many more surprises. Be ready to learn to tango, stretch with some yoga, go on a bike rodeo adventure, and mingle with your friends and neighbors to the tunes of local musicians.

You spend enough time in your car already – come out and play in the street! For a map of the route, visit (more info on activities and participating businesses coming soon).

Kickoff is at 1pm at Woodruff Park!


The first ‘ciclovia’ started as a ground-breaking event in Bogotá, Colombia over 30 years ago when local activists, struggling with overwhelming traffic and unsafe spaces for pedestrians and bicyclists, worked to close a few blocks, then a few miles of city streets to cars and open them up for people.

Today, the Ciclovía is a major source of pride and recreation for millions of Bogotanos, as 30% of the city’s population (nearly 2 million) take to the streets every Sunday and holiday – on a route that now spans over 80 miles of road closures and seamlessly connects 70% of the city’s 20 diverse neighborhoods.

Similar events now take place in countries all over the world including the US, where in recent years, ciclovias have spread like wildfire to major cities including New York, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Miami.

The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, in partnership with City Councilman Kwanza Hall and supported by organizations including Central Atlanta Progress, the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Centers for Disease Control, and local universities have now brought the ciclovia experience to our fair city with Atlanta Streets Alive!

Sponsored by local businesses including The Coca-Cola Company, round two of Atlanta Streets Alive means we’re one step closer to making this a year-round program. See you on the streets!

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Best of Atlanta 2010 – Old Fourth Ward Edition

Old Fourth Ward rocked Creative Loafing’s Best of ATL 2010! would like to congratulate those that made the list from our neighborhood as well as those within a stone’s throw. Check them out below. Visit them. Leave big tips.


Dynamic Dish
Best Photogenic Dish or Dish Presentation (Readers Pick)

Grindhouse Killer Burgers
Best Veggie Burger (Readers Pick)

Best Restaurant with a Bar Scene

Best Cajun (Readers Pick)

Kevin Rathbun Steak
Best Steaks (Readers Choice)

Best Overall Restaurant (Readers Pick)
Best Restaurant to Take Visitors to (Readers Pick)

Best Restaurant Decor

Sotto Sotto (Inman Park)
Best Italian (Readers Pick)

The Sound Table
Best Bar for Electronic/DJ Music
Best Bar Snacks

Two Urban Licks
Best Restaurant Decor (Readers Pick)


Art on the Beltline
Best Reason to Navigate the Urban Jungle
Best New Trend in the Arts (Readers Pick)
Best Public Artwork (Readers Pick)
Best Public Art Event (Readers Pick)

The Beltline
Best New thing about Atlanta (Readers Pick)

Dad’s Garage
(Inman Park)
Best Play – “Spoon: the Musical” (Readers Pick)
Best Theater Company (Readers Pick)
Best Improv Group (Readers Pick)
Best Sketch Comedy Troupe or Venue (Readers Pick)

John Q’s Memory Flash
Best Public Art Performance

Mint Gallery
Best Underground Art Space

Mint Gallery – “Here We Hide” Exhibit
Best Opening (Readers Pick)
Best Art Exhibit in a Gallery (Readers Pick)

Outdoor Activities

Foundation Skate Park
Best New Park for Catching Air

Freedom Parkway
Best Jogging Path (Readers Pick)

Historic Fourth Ward Park
Best Public Skate Park


Krog Street Tunnel (Inman Park, Cabbagetown)
Best Local YouTube Video
Best Use of Krog Street Tunnel
Best Street Art (Readers Pick)

Highland Cigar Co
Best Cigar Store

Old Fourth Ward
Best Bet for Next Hot ‘hood
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Old Fourth Ward Voted Atlanta’s Next Hot Neighborhood

Each year, Creative Loafing releases its Best of Atlanta edition (on stands now). The awards range from Best Collective Artistic “Aw, Hell Naw!” to the Best Tuna Sandwich in the City. Getting an award is a badge of honor in Atlanta and, this year, Old Fourth Ward was voted “Best Bet For Next Hot Hood!”

In addition to the residents of our neighborhood widely considered to be awesome (for some reason left out of the article), CL cited these reasons:

Congratulations to us!

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Volunteer For Atlanta Streets Alive – October 17th

Atlanta Streets Alive closes city street to cars for a day so people can walk, bike, break dance and stroll about.

Imagine a street full of people of all ages and backgrounds, walking, biking, creating and laughing, together. A street temporarily closed to cars, but open to people. Imagine residents safely enjoying their city, socializing with neighbors, and engaging in healthy activities. Imagine if all of this were free, with absolutely no barriers to participation. By the people, for the people. Sound good yet?

ASA takes a valuable public space – our city’s streets – and opens them up for people to play, walk, bike, breathe, and make their own.

Modeled on tremendously successful events from around the world, including Bogotá, Colombia’s Ciclovia; Paris, France’s Paris Plage; and San Francisco’s Sunday’s Streets, ASA is part bike tour, part block party, and a great time for getting active, supporting local businesses along the route, people watching, and enjoying our amazing city!

Sounds pretty awesome, huh? Well they are looking for volunteers for the next event on October 17th.

Volunteers “marshal the route, direct participants, hand out water, assist with set up and break down, and help thousands of Atlantans enjoy the streets! Participants must attend one training (date TBD) and all volunteers will receive a free t-shirt when they volunteer.”

Find out more at

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“Blockheads” television pilot highlights Old Fourth Ward

On September 8 at 7PM, the premiere of Blockheads will air on GPB highlighting the Historic Old Fourth Ward. The show is all about urban residents dedicated to the revitalization and sustainability of their neighborhoods … and we’re first!

Below is a re-publication of the announcement. Set your DVR’s!

New Show on GPB to Showcase the Sustainable Return  of Neighborhoods

BlockHeads Pilot Premieres at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8, on Public Stations Statewide

Atlanta – Focusing on the resurgence of Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, the pilot program of BlockHeads: The Return of the Neighborhood will air on Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) stations statewide at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 8.

The show’s name denotes the singular commitment of urban dwellers to their neighbors and the revitalization and sustainability of their neighborhoods. BlockHeads tells their moving stories and offers their insights on how to create and maintain a thriving community.

Through longtime residents, recent homebuyers and business owners, BlockHeads tells the story of the Old Fourth Ward’s rich history, heartbreaking decline and triumphant rebirth. The neighborhood includes the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. as well as some of the city’s most innovative loft developments and local businesses.

BlockHeads features Old Fourth Ward pioneers such as Mtamaneka Youngblood, former director of the Old Fourth Ward Historic District Development Corporation, Charles Johnson, founder of the Spirit of Sweet Auburn, and neighborhood advocate Joan Garner, talking about their experiences in addressing the neighborhood’s needs and overcoming its obstacles. Myrna Perez, owner of LottaFrutta Market, and glassblower Matt Janke, owner of Janke Studio, discuss the area’s economic and artistic rebirth.

A collaboration between Eastwood Productions and Centergy Studios, the pilot episode of BlockHeads highlights the efforts of sustainability advocates and city dwellers to reclaim and restore the vitality of their urban landscape, unveiling the shopping, arts, dining and architectural heritage that their city neighborhoods contain. The program captures their passion, courage and determination as they strive to banish the symptoms of urban blight – such as crime, infrastructure decay and apathy – and replaces them with the vibrant connections of a thriving, multicultural milieu.

“We want to show viewers the inspirational efforts of the individuals and organizations that are making our city neighborhoods inviting, nurturing and livable again,” said David Mook, president of Centergy Studios, who serves as the Executive Producer of the production. “Cities throughout Georgia and the nation are reversing the urban declines of the 1970s and 1980s block by block and neighborhood by neighborhood. We hope viewers will join us in celebrating the return of this essential element in the national social fabric.”

The pilot episode also will be rebroadcast at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11, and at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 12.
GPB program director said BlockHeads is a valuable addition to their broadcast line-up.

“BlockHeads is inspiring, thought-provoking and fun. In my many years of broadcasting seldom have I seen a production that takes a topic as complicated as the re-building of community and successfully distills it into personal stories that will make viewers care, and more importantly encourage them to get involved,” said Bob Olive, GPB’s assistant general manager. “We look forward to getting it on the air and sharing its message with Georgians across the state.”

Andrew Treglia, creator, producer, and director of BlockHeads, has been creating high-quality film, video, and high definition products for a decade.  Andrew is the founder and creative director of Eastwood Productions.

David Mook, Centergy Group president, is a professional project manager with extensive experience in large, complex, and critical initiatives. He has guided broadcast and technical projects for CNN, Turner Entertainment, Invesco, and BellSouth among many others.

B.J. Rentfrow, Centergy’s senior project manager, adds a decade of experience in management, marketing, advertising and graphic design to the Centergy Group team, having honed his skills with clients such as Coca-Cola, Water Systems Council, and Clean Cities Atlanta.

For a preview of the BlockHeads pilot, click here.
If you have any questions, please contact Alisa Chambers at or at 404-659-0919.

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Sale of City Hall East Moves One Step Closer to Fruition

City Hall East NewsCity Hall East Atlanta

City Hall East – a.k.a. the enormous building on Ponce across from the Whole Foods shopping center that used to be a Sears warehouse – was rezoned in November 2005 so it could become a multi-use commercial space. This included residential, office, retail and restaurant space (even a rumored movie theater). Whatever happened to that?

It seems like the current economic situation has shifted the demand. Real estate experts have said there needs to be less emphasis on residential and more on retail, office and restaurant usage.

Council member Kwanza Hall (Old Fourth Ward and District 2′s representative) was driven by this information to amend the zoning conditions for the changing situation and to help move things forward with the development group – Jamestown Properties.

The announcement is included below or you can read the .pdf here.

Sale of City Hall East Moves One Step Closer to Fruition

Legislation introduced by City Councilmember Kwanza Hall will facilitate the redevelopment of the former Sears site

– “The redevelopment of City Hall East is one step closer,” announced Atlanta City Councilmember Kwanza Hall after the Atlanta City Council agreed Monday by a vote of 14-0 to modify the zoning conditions pertaining to the property. (Legislative Reference No. 10-O-0776).

In November 2005, the City rezoned the City Hall East property and the City-owned parking lot on North Avenue to allow for redevelopment of the property into a new mixed use complex with residential, office, retail, and restaurant uses. A development team entered into a contract to purchase the properties.  At the time, the development team anticipated a predominately residential development.

Given the impact of the recession, the continued softness in the condominium and apartment markets, and the recent openings of major apartment communities adjacent to the new Historic Fourth Ward Park, real estate experts now project that the redevelopment needs to include more retail, office, and restaurant uses.  Residents of the adjacent Old Fourth Ward neighborhood have expressed a preference for more retail options as well.

In response to these changing conditions and desires, Councilmember Hall introduced legislation to amend some of the conditions of the 2005 zoning. The changes in conditions were also sought by the prospective purchaser of the property and will help conclude the sale of the property, which is currently owned by the City of Atlanta.

The development group Jamestown Properties will pay the City of Atlanta $13.5 million upfront and another $13.5 million at a later date for the property fronting 675 Ponce de Leon Avenue in Council District 2, an area Hall represents.

In anticipation of today’s vote, Hall has already begun meeting with groups such as the Fulton County Development Authority and the State of Georgia to identify financing opportunities for the property. “The sale of City Hall East is a critical budget filler for the City this year,” said Hall, “and its redevelopment will be a critical budget filler in the future. The sooner we can creatively combine and layer the funding tools critical to its success, the better.”

City Hall East, a former Sears warehouse, had been Atlanta’s police and fire headquarters, but is now empty. The city bought the property in 1991 for $12 million.

The neighboring Neighborhood Planning Units, the Office of Planning, and the applicant supported the final recommended changes to the zoning conditions.

The changes to the zoning conditions will:

  • Reconfigure the size and overall intensity of retail space.  The conditions allow up to two individual retail tenants of up to 150,000 square feet, while limiting the overall amount of retail square feet to 390,000.  This is similar to the amount and composition of retail space at nearby Midtown Promenade and the Edgewood Retail District.
  • Allow for the location of telecom hotels – large collections of servers and switches that support various telecommunication and digital industries – in the complex while limiting their size and location, keeping them away from windows and streets.
  • Allow the City Hall East property to transfer part of its required open space to Historic Fourth Ward Park, a new greenspace south of North Avenue, as was contemplated in the original master plan for the redevelopment of the property.  The ordinance includes language reinforcing the requirements for the new streets and open space on the parcel north of North Avenue included in the original master plan.
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NPU M General Body Meeting reminder

Just a reminder that the NPU General Body meeting is next Monday starting at 6:30PM at Helene Mills Facility – 515 John Wesley Dobbs.

Topics to be discussed include: TBD

Make sure to look at the Upcoming Events Calendar to keep informed about NPU-M activity as well as other things happening in O4W!

Land Use/Executive Board – 2nd Monday 6:00pm – 320 Parkway (AMC Medical Pavillion)
NPU M General Body Meeting – 4th Monday 6:30pm – 515 John Wesley Dobbs – Helene Mills Facility

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Highland Beer Fest

Highland Beer Fest

On Saturday, August 21 from 12-6PM, the Highland block between Elizabeth Street and Inman Village Parkway (from Fritti to Parish), will be converted into a beer festival featuring over 100 craft beers with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Inman Park Security Patrol.

Although technically this is not in 04W, it is within a rock’s throw of us (I tested) and is the perfect type of event to walk to. It’s $40 for walk up tickets and $35 if you purchase in advance with too many beers to mention, but you can see the list and get tickets here.

Food by …

Pure Taqueria, Hobnob, Savi Urban Market and many more!


Mermaids, Grinder Nova, The Perimeters, DejaBlue Grass Band, and 10 Degrees Off.

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