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NPU-B talks crime, community issues
by Caroline Young
December 04, 2012 09:32 PM | 1317 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Several issues and ideas were discussed at the monthly Atlanta Neighborhood Planning Unit-B board meeting Tuesday at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Buckhead.

The Peachtree Road construction project is basically finished. All of the landscaping is installed, paving is done and striping is 98 percent complete, according to Tony Peters, programs manager of the Buckhead Community Improvement District and business development manager of Livable Buckhead.

In the past year, 82 percent of car larcenies come from open-air areas, such as restaurant and mall parking lots, said Maj. Van Hobbs, commander of the Atlanta Police Department’s Zone 2 substation in Buckhead. The other 18 percent are residential, including homes and apartments.

During the holiday season, Hobbs said the police department is working with mall general managers about Clean Car Campaign signage, making people more and more cautious of leaving valuable items, including presents, in their cars.

“We have a special community service unit. ... Bike units will be up there at major retail areas,” Hobbs said. “We are also using undercover cops [at malls].”

And Senior Assistant District Attorney Tiffany Harlow visited the NPU-B to emphasize how important it is for communities to get involved with the Court Watch program.

Earlier Tuesday, she handled a huge case involving Charles Eggles, a 14-time convicted felon who has been sentenced to 15 years behind bars for burglary and theft in the Midtown, Virginia-Highland and Morningside areas.

“He says, ‘I pick this neighborhood because like it,’ which is basically saying, ‘I will be back,’” Harlow said. “We can’t keep him walking the streets.”

Harlow said one of the main reasons Fulton County Superior Court Judge Doris Downs sentenced Eggles harshly is because of the victim and community turnout.

“She’s not a huge fan of sending people to prison,” Harlow said. “Now that he’s done it so many times and these folks feel unsafe in their home. When victims don’t show, it says to the judge they don’t really care that much how it turns out.”

Of getting involved with Court Watch, NPU-B chair Sally Silver said, “Either go home and complain about things or do something about it.”

In other news, Silver said the Randolph-Lucas House was toured by seven possible buyers so far and the estimated cost of restoration is $850,000 to $1.1 million, but does not include moving it.

“Quite a few of them are interested in using it as a single-family home,” Silver said. “That would of course be fabulous but if it turns out to be for another use, saving the house is the ultimate purpose.”

Silver said the condo association is paying for part of the move.

Additionally, Dave Kirshtein, president of the Garden Hills Pool and Park Association, said the new pool house will be complete and donated to the city in spring 2014, and named in memory of Dan Martin, the late Buckhead florist.

The city will give them a five-year lease, which can be renewed at the end of the term.

“The Dan Martin Fund is donating $100,000 to the construction fund for the new pool house, which will bring us to $440,000 toward our goal of $750,000.”

Garden Hills resident Bob Schneider said he could not think of a better and more humble person to dedicate the pool house to.

“Dan pushed the rejuvenation of Sunny Brook Park [across from the pool],” Schneider said. “I know he’d roll over in his grave if he knew this would be named after him, and I’m okay with that. “

The NPU-B board did not vote on the issue but supports it.

As Silver ends her term as NPU-B chair, Andrea Bennett, former chair of the development and transportation committee, will take the position. The board voted unanimously for Bennett to serve for 2013-14.

“I look forward to working with everyone,” Bennett said.

The board also voted unanimously to approve an application for a $1,500 NPU grant, by the request of Silver, to help enhance a “pocket park” she started in memory of Marie Sims, her mentor and friend, and a former NPU-B member.

“She lived in Pine Hills and helped write the city charter. She was a pioneer at hounding the government to be better at every chance it can get,” Silver said. “When Marie said no, she said, ‘Hell No,’ and when she said yes, she screamed it from the rafters.”

Marie Simms Park is located at Kingsboro and Oak Valley roads.
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