“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community…Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”

-Cesar Chavez

I can hardly go a block without spotting a “Coming Soon” sign these days. Whether it’s another house about to hit the hot market or a new development promising a dizzying array of eateries and shopping opportunities, Atlanta is certainly growing.  My wife and I live in Cabbagetown and have watched in amazement as the Memorial Drive corridor transforms from an industrial-oriented space into something drastically different.  We are eagerly awaiting the Atlanta Dairies, the Grindhouse, the new AMC theater and other niceties promised by these new developments!

We also worry about the impact of additional traffic, rising home prices and preserving the unique character of the neighborhood we’ve come to call “home”.  Progress is often a double-edged sword that way.  Luckily, there are ways to address those concerns and the most important one is playing a role in your community.  Attend your neighborhood meetings! Advocate for those things that matter to you and your neighbors!  Believe me when I say it can make a difference. I’ve seen neighborhoods stop developments they felt were not in the best interests of their communities. I’ve watched as neighbors demanded the inclusion of affordable housing because they recognized its importance. I’ve also witnessed communities brainstorm solutions to problems that seemed insurmountable.  It’s not always sunshine and rainbows. It’s often frustrating and hard work. But, it is also worth it.

As we enter 2018, my challenge to you is this: get just a little more involved this year than you did in 2017. If you’ve never attended a neighborhood meeting – go to ONE. If you attend but aren’t a frequent flyer – increase your attendance. If you’re a regular and know the drill – run for a spot on the board. If your neighborhood puts on an annual festival – volunteer! Bottom line – get out there, your community needs you!

 

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