Published on January 28th, 2015 |1
Collier Hills Assoc. sees new E. Rivers School, talks issues
Members of the Collier Hills Civic Association (CHCA) held their annual meeting at E. Rivers Elementary Jan. 25th—many nostalgically returning to a site where they received their elementary education—to address citizen concerns and neighborhood improvements.
But the surroundings have changed dramatically since they attended E. Rivers, as their old school has been torn down and rebuilt. The new facility, which just re-opened this month, is reportedly the finest and biggest elementary school in the Atlanta Public School system.
Gathered in the new E. Rivers media room for the CHCA meeting, Principal Matt Rogers asked the crowd of neighborhood residents how many are alumni of E. Rivers Elementary. From the number of raised hands, it was clear the school has impacted the community throughout the years and continues to do so today.
January not only marked the beginning of the year for faculty and students, but also a fresh start in a brand new facility. With 650 students, E. Rivers is the largest, single-building, public elementary school in Atlanta. Rogers said the three most important aspects of the new building are capacity, parking and safety.
The elementary school has enough space to accommodate 250 more students. Although the proximity to busy roads may concern parents, the school has taken steps to keep children safe. There is a carpool area separate from school bus lanes to keep students away from the road and allow the traffic to flow smoothly.
But all is not new at E. Rivers.
Students from years past were pleased to note many aspects of the old building found a home in the new facility. Memorabilia, including the original E. Rivers Lion, were incorporated to keep the history alive.
The meeting focus then turned to education on issues, programs and projects directly affecting CHAC members and their neighborhood as follows:
Northside Drive Project
“It’s happening,” said Rick Parham, a meeting representative for the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). The project is expected to take three years, but could be complete in two, he said.
Road clearing will continue for seven weeks before the concrete barrier is installed the first week of February.
Parham cited street space as the cause for the project delay. The crews “need to work within the limit of the street,” Parham said. The size of the equipment within the confined area is also poising a challenge.
At the meeting, Parham addressed traffic flow, and said keeping two lanes open at all times will be difficult. The flagging system may be needed in certain parts, but will take place during the hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the hope of avoiding times of heavy traffic.
Concerned citizens also pushed back against the high possibility construction will take place on weekends. Parham said the contractor is allowed to work until 6 at night, meaning residents could have a loud start to the evening.
Starting in February, Jeff Baxter, a lieutenant with the Atlanta Police Department (APD), is taking over the security program.
Baxter said the APD is making a big push with technology to keep neighborhood streets safe, but citizens must also stay diligent.
“It is very important” to never leave items in your car, Baxter said. Also “understand what is going on around you,” Baxter added, referencing how residents can avoid dangerous situations.
He said citizens should take caution when driving, and if someone believes an unusual car is following them, do not go straight home, keep driving and call 911.
To decrease the chance of a house break-in, the same awareness rule applies. Baxter suggested residents upgrade their alarm systems to include video and motion-sensor lighting.
When in doubt, residents are always encouraged to call the police. Baxter said police presence in neighborhoods is correlated to the number of 911 calls the APD receives from the area.
City Council/Buckhead Updates
Yolanda Adrean, District 8 city councilmember, joined the CHCA meeting to discuss two potential game changers for Atlanta’s infrastructure.
City residents will soon get a chance to vote on the Renew Atlanta 2015 Infrastructure Bond proposal aimed at raising $250 million for much-needed improvements.
The bond is comprised of two parts: transportation infrastructure and facilities infrastructure. Financed under transportation are improvements to roads, bridges, sidewalks and trails within the city. Financed under facilities include improvements to police and fire departments.
However, residents shouldn’t be concerned about a personal financial impact. Adrean said the bond wouldn’t raise taxes.
The city has been lagging on infrastructure financing since the recession left a nearly $1 billion backlog.
Adrean said residents would also have the opportunity to weigh in on the future of roads included in the Peachtree Transformation Project at a public meeting hosted in the coming weeks.
Tree Preservation Program
Trees Atlanta is encouraging residents to show support for nature by allowing the organization to plant a tree in a homeowners yard or right of way (ROW).
Concerned with the loss of tress in local parks and around the neighborhood, Trees Atlanta is seeking 40-45 new planting locations.
To be considered a suitable location, the tree must be placed 20 feet or more into the front yard or in a ROW, which must be visible from the sidewalk or street.
February 25th is the deadline to request a tree. Interested residents can volunteer on planting day, March 7th, by meeting at 9 a.m. on the corner of Greystone Road and Walthall Drive.
To find out more information, including more on the organization and tree types available for planting, visit www.treesatlanta.org