Community News

Published on September 15th, 2016 |


NCA to host panel discussion on Westside programs tied to new stadium

The Northwest Community Alliance (NCA) will host a broad-based panel discussion Wednesday, Sept. 21, focusing on the status of numerous community based Westside Atlanta programs—in progress or coming online—promised as part of the new Falcon’s stadium project.

The panel will discuss how these entities interact with each other, the current and future state of funding, future programs, and plans to sustain the energy and momentum, all with the goal of

NCA Chairman Michael Koblentz

NCA Chairman Michael Koblentz

major revitalization of Vine City and English Avenue neighborhoods.

The 7 p.m. meeting will be held at the Northside Church of God, 1736 Harper St (at Defoor Avenue) in northwest Atlanta.

The panel members are: Dr. Eloise Klementich, CEO, Invest Atlanta; John Ahmann, CEO, Westside Future Fund; Carol Waddy, senior leader of community and corporate partnerships for Chick fil A Corporation; Frank Fernandez, VP Community Development-The Arthur M Blank Family Foundation; and the Reverend Howard Beckham, executive director, Integrity Transformations Community Development Corp. and senior pastor of New Jerusalem Baptist Church

“It is clear to many that this is a once in a generation opportunity,” said NCA Chairman Michael Koblentz.  “It’s very hard to find a comparison where there has been such a concerted effort by so many people, particularly in the last three years.”

Koblentz stated, “It is an indisputable fact that the real momentum has been generated by the two neighborhoods themselves, with so much credit due to people who have spent countless years selflessly working for change.  The question now is how can that energy be maintained so that it continues well past the completion of the stadium construction?”

Many of the programs to be discussed were initiated or expanded upon as a result of the community benefits agreement that was part of the Tripartite agreement between the City of Atlanta, The Atlanta Falcons Football Club and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, following months of well attended negotiations between the impacted neighborhoods and the city.

The NCA has hosted 4 major meetings on the new Falcons Stadium from the time the proposal was first announced.

“Our purpose was to help leverage the position of the most impacted communities in any way that could be helpful,” Koblentz explained. “We have seen the value of this approach in negotiations with Atlantic Station, Wal-Mart and other developers. Having many neighborhoods unified in supporting other neighborhoods adds a huge amount of leverage,” he added. .

We will use the same Q&A format we had in our meeting with CEO, Penny McPhee of the Blank Foundation a few years back.   We asked the chairs of the Vine City and English Avenue Association and NPU chair as well as Atlanta Councilman Young and Bond, Rep.Thomas and Senator Fort to pose the first questions and to be seated in front.  It should be noted that the panel itself believed that their time should be shortened so that there could be additional time for Q&A, and approximately an hour is now allocated.

The Northwest Community Alliance is a 15-year-old organization of northwest Atlanta and southwest Buckhead neighborhoods and neighborhood friendly businesses. As usual, the meeting is open to the public and the press.

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