Decatur Next

Decatur Diary | February 2, 2018

Just Imagine: Shaping a vision for the future of the Children’s Home

Update: This event is rain or shine

Activities for the event detailed below will be held indoors but don’t forget your jacket and umbrella if you plan on exploring the property.

As announced earlier this week, Sunday, February 11, from 1-5pm marks the Kick-Off Celebration and Visioning Workshop for the city’s United Methodist Children’s Home property. Join us in the main building at 500 South Columbia Drive (map it here) as we begin imagining how this extraordinary piece of land can best serve the people of Decatur through the years ahead. Everyone’s welcome.

Get inspired with this video, then share with all your friends and neighbors.

What to Expect

Work to develop the UMCH vision will span roughly three months, launching with some collective big picture dreaming, then fleshing out ideas in greater detail in the weeks ahead.

During Sunday’s kick-off event, participants should expect a variety of activities designed to answer our most basic questions: What are your memories or experiences on the property? What do you want to preserve? What would you like to see added in the years ahead? How do you use, or want to use, the site? And how can everything be best connected with the broader community?

Welcome remarks from Mayor Garrett are expected around 2pm, but the event overall is organized for drop-bys. Come at your convenience during the four hour window and work your way through self-guided activities at your own pace. Weather permitting, you’ll also be able to take a self-guided tour to acquaint (or reacquaint) yourself with the property.

Civic Dinners

One way we’ll be expanding our UMCH community conversation is through the use of Civic Dinners, a sort of cross between a roundtable focus group and a dinner party. Volunteers host 6-10 guests (in their home or at a local restaurant) and are provided materials to guide a conversation about the Children’s Home during the meal. The content of those discussions is then passed back to the project team.

“When we break bread, we break down silos, and build new bridges,” says Jenn Graham, the concept’s founder. “When our most basic needs for sustenance, safety and community are met, we are in an ideal state to open our hearts and minds to others, and listen to different perspectives.”

Jenn will be on site at Sunday’s kick-off to answer questions about the Civic Dinners process for interested hosts or participants. And moving forward, we’ll be unveiling an online option to get involved.

Save the Dates

Specifics are still being worked out but go ahead and hold the following dates for upcoming meetings:

Saturday, March 3 | Site Planning Workshop | 9-Noon
Tuesday, March 6 | Site Planning Workshop | 6-8pm
Saturday, March 10 | Site PlanningWorkshop | 2-5pm
Monday, April 30 | Options Workshop | 6-8pm

Stay tuned for more detailed information here on Decatur Next as we approach each meeting.

Big Picture Benefits

Beyond the many ideas sure to materialize during the process, the Children’s Home property offers us an ideal opportunity to make progress towards other yet-to-be-met community goals as well, including many articulated within our broad library of adopted plans — the 2016 Comprehensive Plan, the 2010 Strategic Plan, the Better Together Community Action Plan, the PATH Connectivity Plan, the Environmental Sustainability Plan, the Cultural Arts Master Plan, and more.

“We’re an engaged and creative community,” notes Assistant City Manager Lyn Menne, “so our ambitions can sometimes exceed our resources. The Children’s Home property opens up all new possibilities to correct that.”

It’s all coming together. Hope to see you there!

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  1. we can use some of the existing buildings to help low income families and the disabled senior citizens the less fortunate and people with disadvantages keep all of the old trees sponsor a big brother big sister program make it a place where when people come there it will be an enjoyable experience and they will want to keep it beautiful so it will be the same when they visit it again

  2. For a progressive city, Decatur has too much development and too little green space. Make this space a park and plant MORE TREES…a lake is already should preserved, not fall victim to another bulldozer.

    • Decatur High School does not have true home courts for practice and matches. Agnes Scott can no longer accommodate. We (taxpayers and athletic dept contributors) have to pay for them to play at the GSU Clarkston campus 25-30 min bus ride away, and that deal is only for this year.

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