THE RETURN OF A COMMUNITY
Thank you to the residents who attended our Return to Community event on October 23, 2021, at the former John Carey School. We had a great time on a beautiful Saturday talking about your ideas for the future, your memories of the past, and learning more about the community. We heard a lot of great ideas, and if you'd like to review the boards we had on display, head over to our Document Library in the right sidebar of the Bowen Choice Neighborhood homepage.
The Bowen Choice Neighborhoods Return to Community event, held at the former John Carey Elementary School, was an invitation to former Bowen Homes residents and members of the community to learn more about and collaborate on the Transformation Plan being drafted for the revitalization of the former Bowen Homes site, Carey Park neighborhood and a portion of the Donald Lee Hollowell business corridor.
Attendees were asked to complete a needs assessment survey to capture their priorities for the neighborhood, such as walkability, access to recreational and medical facilities, and entertainment options. In addition to the survey, the community was invited to vote on implementing smaller initiatives, such as the upcoming Fire Station #38 improvements.
Other featured activities included easy-to-follow exercises presented by CrossFit Midtown, a petting zoo hosted by CHaRM (Center for Hard to Recycle Materials), and yoga painting led by a former Bowen Homes resident. Also, attendees received fresh local produce delivered through Concrete Jungle and handcrafted sandwiches catered by metro-Atlanta catering company, 2 Pieces of Toast.
The festivities kicked off with a few words from District 9 Councilmember Dustin Hillis, who is a partner with Atlanta Housing on the Bowen Choice initiative. The festivities were followed by a brief speech given by Councilmember Matt Westmoreland, who recognized AH for the "transformative work of the Choice Neighborhood Program on Ashely Scholar's Landing."
Next, NPU-G Chair Ola Reynolds took to the mic to make a call to action. "I want Bowen to be better than West Highlands," she said, referring to the nearby redevelopment under a HOPE VI grant awarded to AH. She also took time to remind attendees of the impact of their input, “Change is here, and change is going to continue. So, we either get with it, or we're going to be left behind. But everyone has a voice, so put your input in."
AH’s COO, Terri Lee, followed Ms. Reynolds, praising the AH team for its work on the University Homes Choice Neighborhood initiative, asserting confidence in the lessons learned from the project that would contribute to the betterment of the Bowen Choice Neighborhood initiative. She concluded her speech with a clear message to residents, partners, and the AH staff:
"It's not just about the housing; it's about people, neighborhoods, and building holistic communities and systems."
Closing remarks were given by AH’s Deputy Chief Real Estate Officer for Planning and Development, Trish O'Connell, who is currently leading the Bowen Choice initiative, echoing her peers in their praise for the AH team, partners, and participants for their contributions to the enterprise. "I'm grateful to be working with a team that gets the job done, and I'm excited for what's to come."