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Buckhead CID approves budget, sets goals
by Caroline Young
February 26, 2013 05:40 PM | 1412 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After missing its January board meeting, the Buckhead Community Improvement District voted to unanimously approve its 2013 budget of $2.55 million Tuesday at its monthly meeting at Tower Place in Buckhead. Its program costs will total $1.82 million.

However, members of the board expressed concern with spending too much on ongoing programs, like the Buckhead Uptown Connection shuttle, which will cost the district $881,902 this year.

“This number will be going up,” said district Executive Director Jim Durrett of the overall budget. “We need to do a life-cycle cost analysis of all the things we have to do. We’re going to have to be really diligent about chasing other money.”

The only new business the board decided not to approve was a parking study, which Durrett and Denise Starling, executive director of Livable Buckhead, said would be effective in the west Village area. Durrett said there are parking issues there with limited supply.

“We want to do an analysis of parking supply and demand,” he said.

They requested $109,000 from the board for Kimley-Horn to conduct the study, and to come up with solutions for now and the future.

“I think you’re trying to over-govern what [the] market will dictate and take care of,” said board member Scott Selig. “It just sounds like a headache.”

Starling said she hopes the end recommendation would be centralized parking.

“I don’t think you built an end case, ... centralized parking for who?” said board chair David Allman. “Seems like we’re ahead of the game in terms of scope and definition for where we are right now.”

Durrett emphasized a few of the several goals for the district to accomplish this year.

“These are things I want you to hold us responsible for achieving,” he said to the board.

He said there will be a lot of emphasis in the Buckhead Village area, such as focusing on Phase 4 of the Peachtree Road streetscape project. He said people in that area want to know what is being done with their tax dollars.

“The message is we’re down there now,” Durrett said.

One goal will be to work on landscaping and maintenance in that area, including re-landscaping Charlie Loudermilk Park.

“We’re going to prioritize and initiate improvements in the west Village area,” Durrett said. “Village streetscape work will finally begin this year.”

He also said they will be completing the Buckhead Coalition’s program of roadside “wayfinding” signs, and will be adding signs oriented to pedestrians, not just people traveling in cars. Plus, the district will develop an overhead street sign program and add 10 cameras to the existing Operation Shield program, in partnership with the Atlanta Police Foundation.

In regards to the Ga. 400 Trail, the city of Atlanta and Georgia Department of Transportation just made the project agreement to “actually do the project,” said Denise Starling, executive director of Livable Buckhead, the nonprofit dedicated to adding greenspace in the area.

“It’s a pretty big deal for the city to get that done,” Starling said.

She said the next stage for is the PATH Foundation, the builder of the project, to finalize negotiations with Atlanta officials to become basically the city’s arm for all trail projects.

“That’s getting tweaked to make sure it includes our project. That hopefully gets done next month,” Starling said.

She said the city basically owns the trail project now, and Norfolk Southern approved the concept. Also, the first district request of about $2 million will come next month, Starling said, to fund the first phase of the trail, from Lenox Road to Old Ivy Road.

The entire trail is projected to be between $12 million and $14 million, and construction will start in 2014.
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