Building Momentum in the Greater Hidden Hills Community

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 (ghhcdc@gmail.com) .

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.

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Community Development Update

The Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corporation will hold its monthly board meeting at 10 a.m. July 26. Promptly at 11, we will hear an update from APD Solutions on its plans for Panola Slope, the townhome development on Covington Highway near Young Road. You are welcome to attend the meeting. It is at Mainstreet Community Center, 5001 Mainstreet Park Dr., Stone Mountain, GA 30088.

 

Updates on Community Development Effort

Liquor Store – Improvements have begun. The owner of PJs Package store is willing to make improvements to his property, and the shopping center owner has already begun to improve the entire lot. The sidewalk has been pressure washed and steps have been added to make it easier to cross from the upper parking deck to the lower level.

PJs Edit

We went before the Board of Commissions July 22 for the Special Land Use Permit hearing on enlarging PJs. After giving the Board the improvement list that we agreed on, the Board deferred the vote for two weeks. The Planning Staff is making minor adjustments to the list and including it in the legal petition. The next (and probably last) meeting on this matter will be August 5.

 

There will be landscape improvements, additional security coverage, four garbage receptacles, and exterior painting.

 

 

Imagining Ways to Retrofit the Closed Golf Course

One of the concepts we have considered as a way to re-purpose the closed Hidden Hills golf course is to provide housing for seniors in the center of the property. The overlay zone allows that area to have higher density (something that would make it attractive to developers) IF the links are kept as greenspace, to be used for passive recreation.

 

We had the opportunrsz_columbia_heritage_-_porte_cochere-1_0ity to visit a beautiful, four-story senior living community in northwest Atlanta last Saturday. Columbia Heritage is part of the West Highlands neighborhood that was built on the site of the dilapidated and depressing Perry Homes public housing project 10 years ago.

 

Talk about an amazing transformation! The seniors live in a clean, well-appointed building, with a theatre, fitness center, business center, library, craft room, and all-purpose room. They have two-bedroom apartments with nine-foot ceilings and many thoughtful architectural details. The center has been open for 10 years, and it has long waiting lists. The building is well maintained by staff and by residents.

 

The residents have varying income levels, but they all enjoy the same high quality standard of living. Says Columbia Residential, Inc., CEO Noel Khali, “We have mixed incomes, but we do not have mixed standards.”

photo - crop

We plan to visit other communities to see what might work well in our area.

 

(The following people attended the tour: Jan Costello, Frankie Bryson, Larry Coles, Phyllis Frierson, Calvin Sims, John Sims, Sally O’Harrow, and Charlene Taylor. We represented the GHHCDC, Hidden Hills, The Highlands, Scarbrough Square, Mainstreet, and Chapman’s Mill/Redan Park).

 

 

From: Jan Costello, President Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Association
July 25, 2014

To see the file with photos, click on this link:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-9TZ20drsg-LWVOREdfei1RTnc/edit?usp=sharing
Middle Photo by Columbia Residential, Inc.