On Wednesday, March 16, the first public input meeting for the city’s Comprehensive Planning process kicked off as a healthy crowd of more than 60 residents dropped by to share thoughts on issues like population, demographics, economic development and transportation.
Though frequently sidetracked by impromptu conversations with neighbors and planning staff, participants ultimately spent their time at the Rec Center gathering around a variety of activities orchestrated by city staff and representatives from the Atlanta Regional Commission.
Among them was an exercise using brightly colored stickers for participants to indicate things within the city they’d like to see change over time; as well as their current mode(s) of transportation between various destinations and how they’d like to arrive at those destinations 20 years from now.
Another exercise stressed the ideas of priority, competing interests, and limited resources. Residents were given a hundred dollars and instructed to divvy them up between eleven different categories — from green space acquisition to youth programs. How they chose their allocation reflected their own priorities, but the total sums devoted to each category ultimately reflected how we feel collectively.
Together with commissioners Tony Powers and Brian Smith who also attended, Mayor Patti Garrett mentioned that she was “proud” of the turnout and that she encouraged all residents to take part as the process moves forward. “We get better decisions, deeper commitment, and a more empowered community,” she said, “whenever we all come out and contribute like this.”
Some scenes from the evening below, courtesy of Active Living’s Director, Greg White: