Making a Difference in Greater Hidden Hills!

2018 Accomplishments

Our redevelopment and beautification efforts are making an impact in the Greater Hidden Hills community. We had a productive 2018, and we thank all of those who were part of the effort.

We advocate for the area within and adjacent to the Greater Hidden Hills Overlay District, which covers a four-square-mile area (incorporating these four corners: Covington/S.Hairston, Redan/S.Hairston, Redan/Panola, and Covington/Panola).

Advocating for Better Business Development

Waffle House Opening – Redan Road and South Hairston. GHHCDC celebrated the opening of this new business in October.

New Waffle House on Redan

The company changed its plans to conform to the GHH Overlay District, and the result is a dozen trees in parking lot islands and the street frontage.In addition, the company improved the bus shelter in front of its restaurant, expanded the cement pads and updated the landscaping. GHHCDC provided two new benches, and MARTA pitched in the garbage cans.

New, expanded bus shelter on Redan Road

Rocklyn Homes Development – Covington Highway and Panola Road – heard our concerns and modified its design for the townhome community near LA Fitness. The development will have a one-third acre pocket park, a 30-foot landscaped buffer, and lots of trees.  The area used to be in the GHH overlay district, but the city of Stonecrest annexed it. Nevertheless, we insisted that Stonecrest meet the higher standards that we have in our overlay, and they agreed. We had two meetings with the developers, one with the planning department, and attended four public hearings.

Interestingly, Rocklyn is proposing another townhome community on Covington, and this plan already has walking trails, a dog park, and a pocket park!

Tycore Auto Repair – Covington Highway and South Hairston. We attended four public meetings and one meeting with commissioners to ask that this business not be allowed to open at 5361 Covington Highway, across the street from Pep Boys, a tire shop, and next door to an auto repair shop. Within three miles of this address, there are 183 auto-related businesses.  The effort continues into 2019 as the Board of Commissioners deferred its vote.

Beautification Builds Better Business

We’re beautifying the streetscape in our commercial zones. When the environment looks more attractive, more people want to do business in the area. This helps us attract better businesses and keep consumer spending close to home.   This year we:

  • Refreshed the median on South Hairston, just south of Redan. GHHCDC hired a landscaping company to regularly maintain the median.
  • Planted rosebushes and perennials in the entrance island of Los Arcos and along with beautification of the sidewalk strip.
  • Planted 26 trees as part of our ongoing streetscape improvement, in a joint project with Keep DeKalb Beautiful and the DeKalb County Tree Bank. These include 14 Nellie Stevens Holly leading up to the entrance of Hairston Park; 10 crepe myrtle in the public easement on Redan Road, to beautify the Hairston Square shopping center; and 2 Georgia Gem Green Ash trees on South Hairston and in Hairston Park.

New plantings at Los Arcos on Redan
New crepe myrtle on Redan
South Hairston median refresh, with volunteers (from left) Lois Dunlap, Jan Costello, and Nadine Rivers-Johnson.

Planted trees on South Hairston leading to Hairston Park
Herbert Love and Gwendolyn Stegall on the cold January planting day.

Parks Add Value

Parks are an economic development tool. That’s why we are active Friends of Hairston Park. We finished installing fitness stations in Hairston Park, an effort achieved through the UPS Foundation grant that we received. We also helped make Earth Day in Hairston Park a huge success as we reclaimed trails in the beautiful wooded area on the north end of the park.

Clearing paths and adding fitness equipment at Hairston Park

Remembrance of a Fine Musician and Friend of GHHCDC.

Theresa Hightower, Aug. 2018

Theresa Hightower, the accomplished jazz musician, singer and actress, graced us with what was to be her last public performance at the 2nd annual Music on Main, a significant fundraiser for the organization. She passed away in October. Ms. Hightower was a true humanitarian, and she left a legacy of outstanding performances and community service.

Help GHHCDC Continue Our Work in 2019

Your donation can help us continue our mission to stimulate economic development and create a greener, healthier environment.  Join our efforts for 2019, when we:

  • continue our streetscape beautification along South Hairston and Redan
  • advocate for amending our overlay code so that certain auto businesses and liquor stores are prohibited (No more hearings!)
  • watch that all new development meets our overlay requirements
  • lobby for tougher penalties on code enforcement violations by businesses
  • pursue more grants to enhance Hairston Park
  • stage the 3rd annual Music on Main, our annual fundraiser!

You can invest in this community. Come to our monthly meetings. And send your contributions to:

Greater Hidden Hills CDC
P.O Box 1811
Stone Mountain, GA 30083

Or make a payment online at  https://greaterhiddenhillscdc.org/you-can-make-a-difference/

We are a 501(c)3, and your contributions are tax-deductible.

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Stonecrest asks developer to make improvements

The Stonecrest City Council heard our voices at the meeting Monday night. We asked that more of the Greater Hidden Hills Overlay District zoning code be applied to the property the city plans to annex. This property is at 6024 Covington Highway, to the west of LA Fitness.  The council voted unanimously to defer the matter and asked the attorney to convey to Rocklyn Homes that some improvements were needed.

If the property had stayed under the GHH overlay, it would have been required to set aside 20% for public open space, have 30-foot buffers next to the Scarbrough neighborhood. We also asked for more trees and that the stormwater drainage system be environmentally sensitive and attractive.  For example,  the site could include permeable pavers, rain gardens, and vegetative swales. The stormwater retention pond could be an aesthetic and recreational feature, with a walking path and benches around it.

The next step is up to Rocklyn Homes.  We’ll keep you posted.

Thank you to all the people who came to the meeting. Your presence made a difference. We only had 10 minutes to speak; we appreciate the comments made by Jan Costello, president of the Greater Hidden Hills CDC; Kenneth Saunders III, president of the South DeKalb Improvement Association; and Rod Frierson, president of Hidden Hills Civic Association. Bernard Knight, general counsel of the Stonecrest Business Alliance, provided a factual reminder that the area was part of the GHH overlay district and that the city forgot to include the zoning when it incorporated part of the district.

Also, a word about the property owner, Halpern Enterprises. The firm did meet with us and accept the conditions we asked for that apply to commercial development. We appreciate the firm’s accommodation.

You’re Invited August 18!

Join us for Jazz, Delicious Food & Drinks, and Great Auction Bargains on Aug. 18, 8 – 11 p.m.

Our 2nd annual Music on Main features Theresa Hightower,an acclaimed jazz and blues vocalist, actor, and songwriter. During the event, you can get a deal on the items we’ll auction, such as:

  • Ion All-weather speaker system
  • Dinner for Two at CalaBar & Grill
  • ART Station Holiday tickets
  • All-Attraction Stone Mountain Park – two tickets
  • Hotel Indigo Peachtree – 2-night staycation
  • Unique, hand-painted Australian boomerang
  • Original Jennifer Dreznin mixed media artwork
  • Mystery Valley golf package
  • Sircles necklace and Sircles bracelet set
  • Nick’s Barbershop hair cut package
  • Fender amplifier from Pro Music  
  • Mary Kay gift set plus spa facial for three
  • PJs Package Red and White wine gift baskets
  • Rob Reardon original metal wall art (one features the Georgia Bulldog and the other Ray Charles)

The event raises money for streetscape improvements in the Greater Hidden Hills area. We all want better business. Please support the effort to improve our commercial areas. Remember, it’s tax-deductible.

Where:  Mainstreet Clubhouse, 5001 Mainstreet Park Drive, Stone Mountain

Tickets are $35 each or two for $60.  You receive food, beverages, entertainment, and a fun time with neighbors and elected officials.    Purchase at the door or in advance at:  Music-on-Main

Celebration of Health & Fitness at Hairston Park

The soft opening of the new playground and fitness equipment on July 21 was super! Olympic athlete Sam Graddy is the featured speaker. Fitness experts were on site to show how to use the pieces of equipment. Commissioners Steve Bradshaw and Gregory Adams attended, along with DeKalb Parks director Chuck Ellis and deputy director Marvin Billups.  The fitness equipment came with the help of a grant GHHCDC received from The UPS Foundation and from a Park Pride grant.

Here are a few pictures. More are on https://www.friendsofhairstonpark.org/

 

Give 60 Minutes and Build Community Pride

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Phyllis Frierson and volunteers enjoying the last spruce-up day.

Join the effort to make a positive difference in our community. Saturday, March 24, 9:45 a.m., we will brighten a key stretch of S. Hairston near Redan (across from Kroger). The median will get spruced up with a dozen new plants and fresh mulch.

You may park between Wendy’s and Doo’s Seafood or in the shopping center parking lots.

The work is fun and satisfying.  Keep DeKalb Beautiful staff will have the holes dug for the plants. We put them in the ground and spread the mulch. Bring your gloves, a shovel and a metal rake.

A dozen volunteers can knock this out in an hour. Please come! The result will please you every time you drive down S. Hairston. It will remind people that our community cares about its appearance.

If you have questions, write to GHHCDC@gmail.com

Trees!

We planted 26 trees as part of the ongoing streetscape improvement in Greater Hidden Hills! This tremendous effort is a joint project with Keep DeKalb Beautiful and the DeKalb County Tree Bank. The planting occurred Jan. 19 and 22, 2018.

The 14 Nellie Stevens Holly make a grand parade leading up to the entrance of Hairston Park. These trees will grow 15-20 feet high. What a statement they make as we invest county and grant money into the dramatic refresh of Hairston Park.

 

In the roundabout in the park, we planted a Georgia Gem Green Ash, a beautiful shade tree that grows 50 feet tall. We planted another Georgia Gem in the public easement in front of Champions Christian Academy at 1131 S. Hairston (a block north of Redan).

Then, we planted 10 crepe myrtle in the public easement on Redan Road, to beautify the Hairston Square shopping center.  There will be more work in this area, focusing on the bus stop. Waffle House plans to help when it erects its new restaurant there.

The trees were donated by QuikTrip as part of its obligation to the DeKalb County Tree Bank. They were professionally planted by Landscape Design Company.

Stay tuned. More natural beauty to come! We’re planting PRIDE in our community.

See a short video at: https://vimeo.com/252247693

 

Music on Main a Rousing Success!

Music on Main was fantastic! Thank you, Chandra Currelley, sponsors, volunteers, and supporters. We raised money for streetscape beautification, and we had a wonderful time.

We very much appreciate Mainstreet Community Center for letting us use your beautiful facility on Aug. 19. Nadine Rivers-Johnson, Mainstreet Community Manager and GHHCDC General Manager, provided vital support in making the event happen, from recruiting the prime-time artist to securing sponsors.

Special thanks to Jay Betts at Jay’s Place and Dorcelin Bazil at State Farm for your sponsorships. These fine businessmen made it possible for us to launch the event, knowing that every penny raised would go to the streetscape effort.

Below, you will see a photo of the many businesses that contributed to our successful fundraiser.  Please patronize these businesses. They care about the Greater Hidden Hills community.

Shown below left are Keena Johnson, who shared expert advice on silent auctions and volunteered at the event, and Nadine Rivers-Johnson. Going clockwise, Velvet Loyal who helped stage the auction items and Myriam Dormer who helped get the process started (and both greeted guests). At bottom right, Nadine took a break from her Master of Ceremony duties to turn the mic over to Alesia Brooks (representing comm. Bradshaw) and  DeKalb Commissioner Adams.

We also thank the following elected officials for showing your support of the work we are doing:  Georgia State Senator Gloria Butler, DeKalb District 7 Commissioner Gregory Adams, Georgia State Senator and Minority Leader Steve Henson, and, representing DeKalb District 4 Comm. Steve Bradshaw, Alesia Brooks.

The singer-actress Chandra Currelley gave a lively and uplifting performance.  This woman has a musical gift, and we are so pleased that she shared it with us.

Finally, special thanks to Gwendolyn Stegall, the GHHCDC Treasurer who shared her superb event planning skills with us.

Many people helped make this event a success.  We thank them all.  Here are pictures of some of the set-up and preparations.

We’ll publish a slide show of the event soon.