We completed our first full year of operation, and we have achieved much for a new organization. We are building momentum and making plans for 2015.
We formed the Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corporation to push for revitalization, economic development, and beautification. We are working to achieve the vision we have for the Greater Hidden Hills Overlay Zoning District, which is roughly the area within and next to Covington, Hairston, Redan, and Panola.
We are working to bring the right kind of economic development to the Greater Hidden Hills area.
Our advocacy on behalf of the community included the following volunteer efforts:
- Met with James Davis, owner of the 188-acre closed golf course, to review the overlay vision and the opportunities for redevelopment.
- Worked with PJ’s Liquor Store (1241 Panola Road) on his expansion plans, leading to design, landscape, and security improvements.
- Met with a planned community developer (Columbia Residential) and toured a senior community as part of the effort to attract a senior community to a portion of the community.
- Had several meetings with APD Solutions about plans to retrofit Panola Slopes on Covington Highway into an entertainment and resort complex. The DeKalb Board of Commissioners approved the zoning requests with neighborhood-sensitive conditions on Dec. 16.
- Created and distributed a brochure (available on this website under the “About Us” tab) that shows why the effort is needed: billions of dollars flow out of our neighborhood; people spend their money in other communities! Let’s build a better business environment and keep the dollars at home!
We are gratified to have the support of businesses in the community. Thanks to Jerome Chavis, owner of the tax advisory services firm NTRC at Rockbridge/Hairston; Joe Hubbard, owner Apex Automotive Services at 1131 S. Hairston Road; Vaughn Irons, CEO of APD Solutions; Jay’s Place at Redan/Hairston. These businesses have joined the effort early because they know that we can make big improvements by working together.
We also appreciate the neighborhood associations that have contributed: Mainstreet Community, Muirfield, and the Hidden Hills Civic Association. Individuals have also donated.
As a result, we raised enough money in 2014 to file for 501(c)(3) status. We are preparing the documents and plan to file in January 2015. Once we are a federally recognized non-profit, your contributions will be tax deductible and we will be able to apply for community development grants.
We welcome your annual membership. For individuals, it is $20. Businesses and subdivisions may join for $75. The application is on our website (under the “Contact Us” tab ), or you can request one by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) .
We continue to build a network of residents, business owners, and commercial property owners to improve the economic viability of the community. Community development experts from Tucker and Lilburn shared experience and advice with us in the summer.
Based on a survey we conducted in the fall, we learned that businesses would like a workshop on Taking Advantage of Technology, with a key focus on using technology to build and maintain the customer base. With the help of consultants at the Small Business Development Corporation, a resource provided by the state, we will have the workshop in the spring 2015.
We plan to have the Touch-a-Truck affair in late March. This is a fun community affair that showcases emergency and county vehicles. It will be in one of the shopping center parking lots at the Redan/Hairston intersection. This affair will create a fun community event, promote the organization, provide opportunity to promote the business seminar, and raise donations.
Our next meeting will be Jan. 24, 10 a.m., at Mainstreet Community Center, 5001 Mainstreet Park Drive, Stone Mountain, GA 30088. All are welcome.
Submitted by Jan Costello, President Greater Hidden Hills CDC.
I would like to give special thanks to the hard work of the Board of Directors: Nadine Rivers-Johnson, Joyce Russell, Charlene Taylor, and Phyllis Frierson.