During the past 2 years as one of the District 2 council members, I have helped make a great many decisions, both large and small, that have helped shaped the city. I’d like to take some time here to outline some of my more important accomplishments. It’s important to note that coming onto council in late 2019, I had no idea that the Covid19 pandemic would come to play such a major role in the first two years of my service to Doraville, but despite the difficulties I think that myself and the council have accomplished a great many things in a short period of time.
As I stated previously, who could have imagined the impact of the global pandemic in 2019? While the pandemic has been a great, world-wide tragedy, I am extremely proud of the decisions made by our Council to help battle this terrible virus. Our city’s response was decisive and rapid and as a Council, we helped set a tone for the city that we would be fighting this pandemic head-on and not ignoring as many other cities have chosen to do. The initial ordinance that we adopted were so well planned that the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) used them as a model to help other city’s develop their own responses. I cannot understate how proud I am of this.
City Manager Appointment:
One of the most important items tasked to council can be the appointment of a city manager. Starting in 2019, Doraville had its acting chief of police also serving as its acting city manager. The 2020 council decided to advance our acting chief of police to the full chief of police position and then hired Chris Eldridge as our full-time city manager. He has been a wonderful addition to Doraville and has helped our city with fantastic staffing decisions, a great work ethic, and a huge knowledge base. He has been an integral part of getting Doraville to where it is today in only a short time.
150th Anniversary Committee:
I volunteered to serve as the chair/head of this years 150th Anniversary Committee (formally known as the Doraville Sesquicentennial Committee). This 100% volunteer committee has arranged a large number of celebrations that have taken place in Doraville in 2021, all with the aim of promoting our Doraville’s150th year as a city in Georgia. We have had “park parties”, community improvement events, community outreach events, and large city parties, such as the 150th Anniversary Car show, held at the old GM plant. These events have helped highlight Doraville’s history as well as promote the various facilities we have throughout the city. Citywide response has been wonderful, so stay tuned for more events coming later this year.
City Wide Development:
The council, along with the city manager and staff, has worked hard to make this city much more “development friendly”. From hiring a whole new planning staff to reworking our permit process, getting builders and developers interested in Doraville has been completely revamped. We have also reactivated our Downtown Development Authority (DDA) to work with developers on large-scale redevelopment, and have even seen the 1st new apartment building in 30 years start construction.
Assembly (Old GM Plant):
Council and staff have taken a very proactive stance on working with the new owners of the GM site, helping them with the massive redevelopment in many ways. With nearly a billion (yes, with a “B”) dollars of construction slated to occur in the next 4-5 years, I feel that it’s important to make the re-development a priority as well as making Grey Media a partner in our city.
Our council, working with the DDA, has finally managed to get a project started at the abandoned Kmart site. Lotus Grove will be an amazing “live, work, play” destination for Doraville as well as regional residents. The eyesore has recently been torn down and development is moving forward quickly.
Road Improvement Projects:
Our council has moved many road projects forward in the past two years, including but not limited to, general repaving, repairs and repaving of Winters Chapel Road and Tilly Mill Road, improvements to Chestnut Drive (including sidewalk expansion). We have also begun a complete redesign and remodel of New Peachtree Road at the MARTA site. This remodel sets a new standard for road design in Doraville with biking and walking paths, new lighting and planting standards. Due to staff’s hard work, this multi-million dollar project is only costing the city a few hundred-thousand dollars.
Council has recently chosen to pursue redeveloping our nearly 13 acre downtown site. Leveraging partnerships with the Urban Land Institute and other regional players we have generated serious interest in partnerships with large development firms. The next few years are key in selecting partnerships which will help this project site achieve its maximum potential as a revitalized city center.