Your Opinion Wanted on New Plan for Panola/Young Road Site and Future of County

Meeting on New Plans for Panola Road/Young Road   

CityView Design Build has digested the results of our survey, and now they are ready to get feedback on a new proposal for 1744 and 1762 Panola Road.  This address is next to Family Dollar, catty-corner from Berean Christian Church.

This a pre-submittal community meeting, and will be followed with the regular Planning review.   

The request is to rezone the existing parcels from R-100 (residential) to C-1 (commercial) to construct a neighborhood retail center.

Please join the meeting on  Zoom on Wednesday, June 30, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., at the link below. Plans will be presented and comments heard.

https://us04web.zoom.us/j/73818287867?pwd=MTNlZ0IyZmNUb29pSG5heFlQaDdxQT09

Meeting ID: 738 1828 7867

Passcode: 501WCD

Background: In March, after hearing from the community, the developers withdrew their proposal to put a gas station there. 

Note: If you would like, you can see the results of the survey of the community about their preferences at this link:

https://greaterhiddenhillscdc.org/2021/04/


Get involved in deciding future transportation and land use needs in DeKalb County. Take the online survey. Your opinion matters.

Zig Ziglar, the inspirational business leader, said, “A goal properly set is halfway reached.” 

You can help DeKalb County set goals and head in your preferred direction. Just take the survey. Share your opinion! Influence the future!

Go to this site for information:

https://dekalb2050unifiedplan.com/

Click the link to take our survey https://engagekh.com/dekalbup#/sidebar/tab/about

June Update on Our Community

Police on Patrol at Troubled Intersection

The DeKalb County Police Department has been responsive to calls for more patrols near Redan and S. Hairston following a deadly shooting late on May 16. More than two dozen shots were fired into a crowd of people outside a smoke shop next to the Chevron station. In addition to more patrols, the Tucker Police Precinct held its roll call on the site on May 19, and many police cars have been visible in the area. 

Police Chief Mirtha Ramos held a public Zoom meeting on May 18.  Assistant Chief Gregory Padrick says that the business licenses are being checked.  Major Hughes and Major Medlin says that cameras are effective, and they have encouraged the store owners to get cameras.   Just a week before this tragic crime, Major Hughes was on a Zoom call with the community talking about crime and how the police are targeting hotspots.

The police urge you to call 911 if you see suspected criminal activity.

If the call is not urgent, call 404 294-7911 or 678 406 7932. Those numbers were provided by Major Hughes.

Several people in the community have asked the chief to put a precinct in the area, and she said that she would give it some thought.

The DeKalb Police Department urges you to follow them on social media:

Twitter:   #WeAreDKPD

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/DeKalbCountyPD/

Golf and Tennis Tournament at Sugar Creek

On June 11 – 12, Sugar Creek is holding its first annual golf and tennis tournament.  It’s part of the grand celebration of the reopening of the golf and tennis facility in South DeKalb County. 

Friday, June 11

6:00pm-9:00pm – Tennis Tournament and Meet & Greet

Saturday, June 12

8:00am – 1:00pm – Golf Tournament

** Tennis Registration includes: Friday night Meet & Greet.

** Golf Registration includes: Friday night Meet & Greet, breakfast and lunch on Saturday.

For more information and to register, go to https://www.sugarcreekgt.com/

Get involved in deciding future transportation and land use needs in DeKalb County.

Several public meetings have been held about the direction we would like to go in the next 30 years. You can still take the online survey.  Share your opinion! Influence the future!

Go to this site for information and to take the survey:

https://dekalb2050unifiedplan.com/

Lidl is opening June 9 on Covington Highway, just west of Panola. 

We’ve been waiting for this store for a long time.  The first public hearing we had on it was Dec. 16, 2016.

Update on Pep Boys at S. Hairston/Covington

It’s not closing, but is transitioning to a “dedicated service center,” according to the staff.  There will not be parts and retail sales beginning July 11. It will still offer auto repairs.

Judge Delays Decision on Controversial Stonecrest Recycling Plant

On April 28, for about six hours, the case was made for and against Metro Green Recycling’s controversial cement plant on 50 acres near Miller Middle School (on Snapfinger Woods Drive and Miller Road).  The case has languished for months.  A citizen activist group and various elected officials contend that the company was improperly authorized by the Environmental Protection Division (EPD).  Metro Green disputes the claim and points out that the city of Stonecrest wrote a letter of approval to the EPD. DeKalb Superior Court Judge Tangela Barrie says she must consider the arguments before she makes a ruling.  To read the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s article on the hearing, click here.

Slaughterhouse Continues to Violate County Law

The slaughtering continues at 1676 Rice Road, Lithonia (near Redan Elementary School) as we wait for the case to go to trial. Rudolph Bradford, owner of Bradford Home & Grounds, has been cited for operating a business without a license, a business NOT allowed in a residential zone, and for violating a cease-and-desist order issued March 1, 2019.  He is countersuing. 

According to GA Department of Agriculture records, he has slaughtered more than 500 cows, pigs, goats, and sheep this year.  Since the department first started keeping records on him, he has slaughtered 4,816 animals at this residential property since Jan. 31, 2016.

The pandemic kept Superior Court from holding trials. Hopefully, this case will be on the docket soon.   

Our next Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Meeting is June 26, 10 a.m. 

Join us at this link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85133355523?pwd=NlRETTBLRENwNGRxNjRQdElxNVh0Zz09

Meeting ID: 851 3335 5523

Passcode: 177619

Thank you for reading the update.  Stay safe and continue building our great community.

Jan Costello
GHHCDC President

Gratitude, groundbreaking, new developments

May Update in the Greater Hidden Hills Community

We are happy to welcome The Villas to the Greater Hidden Hills CDC.

They join our other neighborhood associations: Carriage Woods, Carriage Cluster, The Highlands, Hidden Hills, Mainstreet, and Kingsgate. Thank you, neighbors! Together, we are making our voices heard as we work to improve our commercial corridors and our quality of life. If you would like to join as an individual, it is $20. Neighborhoods and business memberships are $100.  The membership link is on our website. Go to Donate Here at the top bar.

Ground has been broken for the new community & senior center on the north end of Hairston Park,

at 4885 Elam Road. DeKalb County District 4 Commissioner Steve Bradshaw hosted the much anticipated ceremony 4885 Elam Road April 15, 2021.  Many heartfelt speeches were given, including one by Commissioner Bradshaw who initiated and nurtured the development of this center, and one by Friends of Hairston Park president Gwendolyn Stegall. 
You can watch the video at the link below.  All of the speeches are inspiring, but if you are short of time, jump to 16:15 to see Commissioner’s Bradshaw’s remarks and to 55:15 to see Gwendolyn’s.  

We continue to follow the proposed development for the center of the closed Hidden Hills golf course.

We will provide an update at our May 15, 10 a.m. meeting. We will also discuss initiatives to improve the overlay district code,  beautify the median on Hairston, and fight crime at some commercial corners.  

Please join us for our next meeting, May 15, 10 a.m.

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82339020755?pwd=V0FWbFRreWhHcFJaUUFsbXMzMW0yZz09

Meeting ID: 823 3902 0755
Passcode: 049090
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kb2CkQGV8H


Now is the time to get involved in deciding future transportation and land use needs in DeKalb County.

Discussions about the 2050 comprehensive plan are underway.  There are two ways to get involved in the public process. 

  1. Attend a virtual public meeting
  2. Take the online survey

The meetings are offered

  • May 17, 6-7:30 p.m.
  • May 19, 2:30-4 p.m.
  • May 20, 6 – 7:30 p.m.

You may register for the meeting and get the link at http://www.dekalb2050unifiedplan.com

or email 2050unifiedplan@dekalbcountyga.gov


Thank you for reading this update.

May you be healthy and committed to making progress in our community.

Jan Costello
President, GHHCDC

Happy Spring, Everybody!

This newsletter is longer than most. We cover the groundbreaking of the new community/senior center at Hairston Park, the survey results for businesses you would like to see at Panola and Young, the Hairston Park Clear the Trail Day, and an update on the proposed development on the closed Hidden Hills golf course. 

Groundbreaking for the new Community and Senior Center in Hairston Park

The dirt will finally start moving April 15, 10 a.m. You can watch the groundbreaking live at

https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/dctv/dctv-live-broadcast

Parking is very limited. If you do go, masks and social distancing are required.  The center is at 4885 Elam Road, Stone Mountain.  It is the first community and senior center in District 4, and it will have an indoor lap pool. Commissioner Steve Bradshaw and the DeKalb County Community Development have been working for three years on the plans, and the public has been included in the process in several public meetings. 

We continue to work with Community Development and the DeKalb County Parks Department to build a hardscape walking path from the center to the center of Hairston Park.  

Survey of Preferred Uses near Panola and Young Road

Thank you for your survey input on what to put on the parcels at 1762 and 1764 Panola Road, across from Berean Christian Church.  The developers withdrew their plan to put a gas station/convenience store there, and we are most grateful. 

We wanted to let them know what we would support, and that’s why we asked you.  We shared the results with the developers, and they were pleased to receive them.

We heard from people in five zip codes, most of them in Stone Mountain. The survey results show that more than half of the respondents are open to commercial development. About an equal number prefer medium-density residential.

It is currently zoned residential (R-100, which means single-family homes on medium- to large-sized lots. We asked people if it were to be rezoned, which of the choices listed are best (and people could pick more than one).

We asked people If it were to win approval to become commercial, what businesses would you like to see on the 1.38 acres?

  1. Commercial
  2. School
  3. Law firm, financial/accounting/bookkeeping, Call Center where locals can be employed.
  4. Chipotle, Starbucks, Gusto!, Panera, Blaze Pizza
  5. Publix
  6. Seafood Market, Meat Market, Coffee whop with sit-in area
  7. Restaurant
  8. Juice bar, medical clinic, mental health clinic, professional buildings, standalone pharmacy
  9. Upscale restaurant
  10. Restaurants, bar
  11. Starbucks
  12. Office blog like insurance, realtor or tax office
  13. Residential
  14. Smoothie King or Planet Smoothie Small home and gift shop Health/Wellness Store
  15. Office Space
  16. None, there are already enough strip malls within in range of this property.
  17. I would love to see something like a JoAnn’s or Michaels. No more dollar stores, a Chick-fil-A on our side of Wesley Chapel.
  18. None
  19. Lidl grocery
  20. Coffee shop, juice bar, cookie/cake bakery, casual dining restaurant
  21. Office building
  22. Starbucks, Chipotle
  23. Restaurant
  24. Coffee shop, accountant office, doctor’s office, bakery (not a Dunkin Donuts)
  25. Nice Lofts for residents.
  26. Doctor’s office, dental office
  27. None, there are already enough strip malls within in range of this property.
  28. cookie or cake shop
  29. We should build big Lofts on upscale end.

We asked specifically about businesses that are on the approved use list in the Hidden Hills overlay zoning district. These parcels fall just outside of the boundaries, but we think the list is appropriate.

Again, thank you for taking the survey. Your opinion will help shape development.

The Clear the Trail workday in Hairston Park March 27 was a huge success.

Twenty-five friends showed up, and we cleared the trail around the small lake. Jason Woods led the work crew. Jonathan Stegall picked up and shared the work tools we rented from Tool Bank, and he took them back. Patrick Medley and John Deas provided tremendous motivational support. Antioch A.M.E. Church Senior Pastor Vandy C. Simmons cleared a lot of brush and brought many members with him, including Janice Hardy who helped take care of sign-in and directing volunteers. Abraham Smith brought his chain saw so that we could move chunks of huge trees that had fallen on the paths. We also appreciate District 7 Commissioner Lorraine Cochran Johnson and staff liaison J.P. Phillips for lending a hand. Here are pictures of the grand morning when people who care worked together to open the paths in the park.

Plans to develop townhomes and apartments in the center of the closed Hidden Hills golf course and convert all of the fairways to permanent greenspace are still in the works.

The proposal has undergone a revision to include a community center and more amenities for the community.  We will keep you posted on the development.  When the plans are closer to being finalized, we will have a public meeting and show them to you.  You can also join our next meeting because I always show the current plans during the call.

Our next GHHCDC meeting is May 15, 10 a.m. We’ll send out the link closer to the date.

Thank you for being involved!

Jan Costello
President

Gas Station Update, Quick Survey on Business Preferences, and more

Update on Gas Station/Convenience Store on Panola near Young Road 

There was an unexpected development at the Planning Commission hearing on March 4 when the gas station/convenience store came up for review.  The developer said he no longer wants to put a gas station at 1762 Panola Road, across from Berean Christian Church.  Instead, he wants to put in a strip mall with businesses as yet undetermined. What are the types of business you would like to see? Take the survey and let us know.

His application cannot be amended once the process has begun.  He will have to submit a new application. The Planning Commission had to vote on what was before them, and they unanimously recommended denial. 

Several people in the community attended the call and spoke out. I thanked the developer for the withdrawal of the gas station and added that we needed to see the new proposal and have hearings on it.  Others spoke up, too, including Laura Ellis, Lois Dunlap, Phyllis Frierson, and Barbara McClendon.

The Board of Commissioners votes on the case Thursday, March 25, 5:30 p.m.  You may give your opinion at the meeting. 

Zoom   https://dekalbcountyga.zoom.us/j/94883110323

Or dial: 602 333 0032

Conference code: 217687

If you want to review the application, go to https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/planning-and-sustainability/public-hearing-agendas-info    and click on N15, N16, and N17.

The issue of allowing a renter to run a transitional home for teenaged boys was deferred to the Board of Commissioners.  The home is at 4552 Dorset Circle, Decatur, just off of Hairston Road, one mile from Wesley Chapel. According to the GA Department of Community Health, there are 13 “personal care-type” homes within one mile of this address. This issue will also be considered March 25 by the Board of Commissioners.

If you want to review the application, it is https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/planning-and-sustainability/public-hearing-agendas-info  and click on N19.

Calling All Friends of Hairston Park

We look forward to seeing you on March 27th, 10 – noon!

This is our first workday of the year with additional safety protocols. Please be mindful of the following:

  • All volunteers must sign in
  • Liability waiver required
  • Masks MUST be worn at ALL times
  • Working spaces will be marked 6-12 feet to ensure social distancing
  • To reduce waste, bring your own refillable water bottle. (As an exception this year, we will have some extra water bottles on hand).
  • Bring sunscreen and/or bug spray. Long sleeves and denim pants are recommended.
  • If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to anyone with COVID-19, please stay at home! There will be other opportunities.

Yellow Rose Award Given to Gwendolyn Stegall

The State of Georgia recognized Gwendolyn Stegall, the president of Friends of Hairston Park, for her service to the community. On March 8, 2021, Gwen received the Yellow Rose Nikki T. Randall Servant Leadership Award. 

She was nominated by District 87 State Representative Viola Davis.  “Gwendolyn Stegall has a long history of serving our community with dedication, diligence and a heartfelt commitment,” said Rep. Davis. “I commend Gwendolyn for working extremely hard for many years to renovate the Hairston Park in DeKalb County and her efforts to acquire a $50,000 park grant from Park Pride. I also commend her for envisioning neighborhoods in this area coming together as a community to promote beautification, encourage commercial growth and cultivate business relationships.”

Gwen serves on the GHHCDC as treasurer and is president of the Carriage Cluster Neighborhood Association.  She and her husband Jonathan have lived in their home for 29 years, raising three children and doting on the grandchildren.

The Yellow Rose award was created in honor of former State Representative Nikki T. Randall, the first African American female elected to the Georgia General Assembly. Former Rep. Randall served as chair of the Georgia Legislative Women’s Caucus, and every year during Women’s History Month, this caucus recognizes outstanding women in Georgia who exemplify the leadership and inspiration embodied by former Rep. Randall.

We are all so proud of Gwendolyn Stegall and thrilled that she received recognition for her tireless efforts on behalf of the community. 

Please join us for the next GHHCDC meeting, 10-11 a.m. March 20. 

We will discuss the proposed developments on the closed golf course, business developments in the area, and other initiatives.

Click the Zoom link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86981684060

Meeting ID: 869 8168 4060

1-646-558-8656

Stay involved and stay safe!

Jan Costello
President, GHHCDC

Speak Out Against Gas Station/Convenience Store on March 4, 5:30, via Zoom

Please come to the Planning Commission meeting Thursday, March 4, 5:30 p.m. Make your opinion known.  It makes a HUGE difference. Note – the Planning staff recommends approval with conditions, so if you care about this, you really must speak out.

The District 5 Community Council met Feb. 8 and heard from many residents who do not want this development. No one spoke in favor. The Council unanimously recommended denying the application.

Zoom   https://dekalbcountyga.zoom.us/j/94261560575

Or Telephone: USA 8882709936 (US Toll Free)
Conference code: 934462

You can watch a simultaneous broadcast available on DCTV’s UStream link https://video.ibm.com/channel/dctv-channel-23

If you want to review the application, go to https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/planning-and-sustainability/public-hearing-agendas-info    and click on N15, N16, and N17.

At this same meeting, speak out on the request to put another personal care home in the community.  The owner of 4552 Dorset Circle, Decatur, just off of Hairston Road, one mile from Wesley Chapel, wants to rent the home to a group home provider for boys.  Within a mile of this spot are eight homes that provide such services. Yes, children need loving care and supervision, but this neighborhood does not need any more transitional housing. If you know anyone in that area, please tell them about the meeting. The Planning staff recommends a full cycle deferral.

If you want to review the application, it is https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/planning-and-sustainability/public-hearing-agendas-info  and click on N19.

Stay involved and stay safe!

Jan Costello
President, GHHCDC

Greater Hidden Hills CDC Monthly Update

Meeting Feb. 20, 10 a.m.

We will hold elections to the Board of Directors Saturday. We will discuss community developments including the potential development on the closed golf course, the proposed gas station at Young and Panola, and other initiatives.

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84465227758?pwd=SnJJa252Q0RneTluTHBkZlk5MXZ3QT09

Meeting ID: 844 6522 7758
Passcode: 295122
Phone:   646 558 8656

GHHCDC Received More Support from Our Community

The Highlands at Hidden Hills is the latest neighborhood association to renew its membership in the GHHCDC.  We so appreciate it.  They join Carriage Woods Civic Association, Hidden Hills Civic Association, and Mainstreet Community in association memberships.  Many individuals have also renewed their membership, and we thank them.

The membership is a testament to the neighborhood’s commitment to the entire community, composed of many neighborhoods. Together, we are making our voices heard as we work to improve our commercial corridors and our quality of life.

Please ask your neighborhood organization to join. The contribution is $100, and it is tax deductible.  Individuals may join or renew their membership for $20. Click here to download the form or click donate at the top of the screen to join or renew.

The money helps us pay for improved streetscapes, such as the median on S. Hairston near Redan Road, anti-litter campaigns, and education efforts. We are dedicated to ensuring that the Hidden Hills Overlay Zoning Codes are applied so that we can create a better business environment, beautiful streetscapes, and protected greenspace. 

Working together, our community will be prosperous, attractive, and green.

Community Council Says No to Gas Station/Convenience Store
Next Hearing March 4

The District 5 Community Council met Feb. 8 and heard from many residents who do not want a gas station/convenience & alcohol store in their neighborhood.  No one spoke in favor. The applicant missed the meeting, but he will not miss the next one..  The Council unanimously recommended denying the application.

Next step — March 4, 5:30 p.m.  Please come to the Planning Commission meeting. Make your opinion known.  It makes a HUGE difference.

Zoom   https://dekalbcountyga.zoom.us/j/94261560575

Or Telephone:

USA 8882709936 (US Toll Free)

Conference code: 934462

You can watch a simultaneous broadcast available on DCTV’s UStream link https://video.ibm.com/channel/dctv-channel-23

At this same meeting, speak out on the request to put another personal care home in the community.  The owner of 4552 Dorset Circle, Decatur, just off of Hairston Road, one mile from Wesley Chapel, wants to rent the home to a group home provider for boys.  Within a mile of this spot are eight homes that provide such services. Yes, children need loving care and supervision, but this neighborhood does not need any more transitional housing. If you know anyone in that area, please tell them about the meeting.

Stay involved and stay safe!

Jan Costello
President, GHHCDC

Community Council Says Deny!

The District 5 Community Council met Feb. 8 and heard from many residents who do not want a gas station/convenience & alcohol store in their neighborhood. No one spoke in favor. The applicant missed the meeting. The Council unanimously recommended denying the application.

Next step — March 4, 5:30 p.m. Please come to the Planning Commission meeting. Make your opinion known. It makes a HUGE difference.

Zoom https://dekalbcountyga.zoom.us/j/94261560575
Or Telephone:
USA 8882709936 (US Toll Free)
Conference code: 934462
You can watch a simultaneous broadcast available on DCTV’s UStream link https://video.ibm.com/channel/dctv-channel-23

Fight Against Gas Station! Park Update, and next meeting

Do We Need Another Gas Station?

A developer seeks a rezoning so he can build a gas station and a convenience store that will sell alcohol. The location is across the street from Berean Christian Church and Family Dollar at 1762 and 1744 Panola Road.  Express your opinion. Let the Community Council know what you think of the impact this will have on our neighborhood. 

When: Monday, Feb. 8, Community Council, 5:30 p.m.

Click on the Zoom link:
https://dekalbcountyga.zoom.us/j/86042398110

Or Telephone: Dial: USA 602 333 0032;  USA 888 270 9936 (US Toll Free); Conference code: 934462

The Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corporation (GHHCDC) is against this development. The Community Council will make a recommendation Monday night to the Planning Commission.  The Planning Commission will hold a public meeting and makes a decision, March 5, 5:30, and sends its recommendation to the Board of Commissioners. The Board will vote on the matter March 25, 5:30 p.m.  (Visit DeKalb County Planning to review cases and to see all agendas: https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/planning-and-sustainability/public-hearing-agendas-info  )

Support Our Community Development Corporation

Thanks to three neighborhood associations for renewing their membership dues: Carriage Woods Civic Association, Hidden Hills Civic Association, and Mainstreet Community.  Many individuals have also renewed their membership, and we thank them.

The membership is a testament to the neighborhood’s commitment to the entire community, composed of many neighborhoods. Together, we are making our voices heard as we work to improve our commercial corridors and our quality of life.

Please ask your neighborhood organization to join. The contribution is $100, and it is tax deductible.  Individuals may join or renew their membership for $20. Click here to download the form or go Donate at the top of the home page to join and renew.

The money helps us pay for improved streetscapes, such as the median on S. Hairston near Redan Road, anti-litter campaigns, and education efforts. We are dedicated to ensuring that the Hidden Hills Overlay Zoning Codes are applied so that we can create a better business environment, beautiful streetscapes, and protected greenspace. 

Working together, our community will be prosperous, attractive, and green.

Hairston Park – Exciting Development and Meeting Feb. 13

The Community/Senior Center at Hairston Park is getting close to the groundbreaking! The Board of Commissioners chose Headley Construction to do the work. The DeKalb Community Development Department anticipates having a virtual groundbreaking in the next few months. We will keep you posted.

The Friends of Hairston Park is laying the groundwork for things we can do as we wait for the pavilion building and path creation to begin at the park. Friends invites you to stay informed and learn how to be a part of this great park.  Write to FriendsofHairstonPark@gmail.com to be on the mailing list. Join the next meeting via Zoom on Saturday, Feb. 13, 10 a.m.

 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82938773366?pwd=VUwrcVRqQlZyVEdEZWFITlJYODlDZz09

Meeting ID: 829 3877 3366
Passcode: 751396

Join GHHCDC for Our Next Meeting

Feb. 20, 10 a.m. We’ll cover ongoing community developments and have elections. We would love to have you join the Zoom call.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84465227758?pwd=SnJJa252Q0RneTluTHBkZlk5MXZ3QT09

Meeting ID: 844 6522 7758
Passcode: 295122
646 558 8656 US  

Join us and build our beloved community!

Jan Costello
President, GHHCDC

Congratulations Friends of Hairston Park!

Hairston Park received a $50,000 grant from Park Pride to realize the Mindfulness Project.  This wonderful project will activate underused parts of the park with inviting amenities. Many thanks to Gwendolyn Stegall and her team for their heartfelt commitment and diligence to our community.

The project will:

● Create a Serenity Garden. We will clear a one-third mile winding path through a wooded area that is easily accessible from the parking lot and built environment. We will plant three native plant shade gardens, and near these spots will be a comfortable bench.  We will have discrete signs with inspirational quotes that prompt people to seek solace in nature, meditate, and experience awe.

● Provide directional and educational signs.  The directional signs will point people to the Serenity Garden path, helping them feel invited and safe in their exploration. The educational signs will describe the trees, plants, birds, and wildlife in the park.

● Place three shaded benches (one handicap-accessible) near the large lake. These will be visible from the parking lot and draw people to the lovely water scene.

● Place three picnic tables in the woods across from the pavilion (to be built soon). The pavilion is small, and this will provide overflow seating as well as a more private and rustic experience.

Spending time in nature, especially for urban and suburban residents, is a proven way to reduce anxiety and improve a sense of well-being. It fosters curiosity in children. It gives people fresh air and natural spaces to stretch their legs.

The Mindfulness Project will foster peace, tranquility, and inclusion through the enjoyment of nature. At this time in our history, we face heartbreaking loss, social injustice, and bitter divisiveness.  Inviting people into a natural space where they will feel safe and find solace is essential. The Mindfulness Project provides a remedy that is essential to our very beings. It represents a piece of the beloved community that Martin Luther King, Jr., envisioned, a place where all people can share in the wealth of the earth.

Gwendolyn Stegall receives flowers and homemade pastry for her dedication to Hairston Park.

The Friends of Hairston Park are meeting Jan. 23 at 10 a.m.  Stay tuned. We’ll provide a link.

Also, write to FriendsofHairstonPark@gmial.com to get on the email list.

Congratulations to our Community for Winning the Senate

Our community turned out to vote in record numbers. Thanks to you and many others, Reverend Ralph Warnock and Jon Ossoff are our new Georgia Senators.  Their victory is a triumph for the forces for good, social justice, health care for all, equality, and economic relief for those hard-hit by COVID-19. 

This victory is the result of years of effort to get out the vote and to fight against voter suppression, an effort led by Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the governor’s race in 2018.  We owe her and all the hard-working organizers much appreciation.

Unfortunately, the elation many of us felt on Jan. 7 was quickly overtaken by despair and horror as white nationalists rampaged through the U.S. Capitol, at the urging of the president and his supporters. It is shameful. The forces of hate have not disappeared. We must be diligent. We must continue supporting our community and VOTING.

The Greater Hidden Hills CDC will hold its next meeting Jan. 16, 10 a.m.

Join us for a discussion of upcoming zoning matters and issues that affect our community. https://gsumeetings.webex.com/meet/jrcostello

Join by phone
+1-415-655-0002 US Toll
Access code: 855 234 573

Please write to GHHCDC@gmail.com with any questions.

Stay Safe and Wear Masks

–Jan Costello
President GHHCDC