By Resident Fighter Tanya Washington
The City of Atlanta, under the direction of Mayor Kasim Reed, is displacing residents to create a new park and a pond. The plan is being billed as a solution to flooding that the targeted residents don’t experience. However, the proposed park and pond will displace Peoplestown residents to make room for the development anticipated after the Atlanta Braves move out of Turner Field. The City’s plan tracks the demolition of the nearly 100-year old African-American church in 2014 to make room for the construction of the new Falcon’s stadium.
The human impact of the City’s plan, which independent engineers and environmental organizations have described as fundamentally flawed, is to displace families and to destroy a community. In fact, the City rejected a proposal submitted by an engineering firm it hired to turn parking lots in Turner Field into permeable space to absorb the water that floods the area, during intense storms. The City rejected the proposal in favor of one that would destroy a historically black community. The City’s priorities are clear: development is more important than neighborhoods and parking lots take precedence over people.
Despite the City’s promises that residents “would be made whole” and people would be “happy” with the offers they received; the City has reached out with offers to people that don’t even allow them to pay off their mortgages, let alone move into comparable homes in comparable neighborhoods. Furthermore, the settlements are communicated against the backdrop of a disturbing threat: if you don’t accept these insultingly low offers we will take your homes. Displacing people for a plan that will not work is irresponsible government. Destroying black neighborhoods is unconscionable. The City says it is taking homes to save residents from phantom flooding they don’t experience. But, who will save the people of Peoplestown from the City?
Please consider signing our petition and join more than 4,000 others opposed to the City's plans to displace Ms. Jackson, a civil rights legend who carried the Olympic torch in the 1996 games, and her neighbors!!