“Kimberly Scott, the chair of the Neighborhood Planning Unit that includes Westview and the West End, recently launched an advocacy campaign that will target registered voters who did not vote in November through door-to-door canvassing and transportation to the polls. The city council district she lives in saw the turnout rate drop from 53% to 36% this year compared to 2016; thousands more people became registered to vote, but the number of ballots cast only increased by about 800.”
The city’s leadership, and in particular the Department of Watershed Management, “made the call to rush ahead with eminent domain for this project before getting finalized modeling analysis for the area to be able to better determine what the project needed to be,” Scott explains. “The city is only supposed to utilize eminent domain as its last recourse.” “Part of my role and responsibility was to make sure we had final engineering data to best determine what needed to be done in the area – and that was not done,” Scott says.
“There was no data that justified going from what we thought was four homes at the low point where the flood happened to now a total of almost 25 homes,” Scott adds. “They were pushing ahead with a project that would displace a whole block of people for a green infrastructure project that had not been validated by engineering data.” Scott says she tried to sound an alarm over the project. But in 2014 when she took her concerns to Macrina, her superior, she was swiftly fired. Two weeks later, the city pushed through the eminent domain ordinance.
In the midst of a three year court battle, emails surfaced that were written by a former City of Atlanta engineer, who was the project manager for the proposed park and pond, stating that the City didn’t have the necessary engineering to support the taking and demolition of an entire block of homes. Those emails were written in 2013, BEFORE the first home was demolished. The engineer, Kimberly Scott, testified in court, under oath, that the actions of the City were neither necessary nor justified and she testified before City Council and asked them to “correct [the] wrong.”
Historic preservationists are urging the city to issue a “stop-work order” of the proposed Wyndham/Margaritaville Atlanta project in the Fairlie-Poplar district in downtown Atlanta. The proposed development would result in the demolition of two historic buildings – 141 Walton Street. and 152 Nassau Street. Historic Atlanta, a nonprofit preservation group, described those two buildings as “vital landmarks of the early days of Atlanta’s distinguished film and musical heritage.”