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Year of Boulevard Revitalization Push Continues in 2013

Councilman Kwanza Hall promises new initiatives, partnerships to continue revitalization efforts along the troubled Boulevard corridor.

 

Pledging to continue the momentum started last year under his Year of Boulevard initiative, Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall launched the 2013 edition of the program.

The initiative aims to revitalize the Boulevard corridor, particularly the stretch that includes the Bedford Pines Apartments off Winton Terrace.

If the Martin Luther King Historic District is the heart of the Old Fourth Ward, then Boulevard is its spine, Hall told Patch in a wide-ranging interview on the Boulevard focus.

"The spine is Boulevard and we've got to do some things, some chiropractic work on that spine to get it right," said Hall, who also represents the Virginia-Highland area.

The Boulevard efforts last year included tackling public safety, unemployment and job skills training and community beautification.

Hall spoke last week at the Forth Ward Alliance's January meeting held at the Tabernacle Baptist Church, and pledged to double down on those efforts.

Citing continued efforts to focus on the 700 kids and teens who live on and just off that stretch of Boulevard, he announced several new partnerships designed to expand their educational opportunities.

Those include a five-year program with the Children's Museum of Atlanta that includes the Renaissance Learning Center, Premier Academy, ABC Child Care Center, Hope-Hill Elementary School and Intown Academy.

The initiative grants kids from those schools free admission and transportation to the Children’s Museum and gives parenting classes in all Old Fourth Ward early child care centers.

He also announced an internship and job training for teens project with the Greater Atlanta Economic Alliance, which will provide internships and job training for those Boulevard teens who are interested in aviation-related careers.

Other initiatives include partnerships with Microsoft, which is donating computers to the Martin Luther King branch library and will offer free computer and app development classes for Boulevard teens at the Microsoft Store.

The Black Girls Code, focused on the development of young ladies, will create a "technology day" program designed to showcase and spark interest among girls on Boulevard in the tech fields.

The efforts also include an expansion of summer camp offerings such as the Museum of Design's Atlanta Robotics Summer Camp, which will include scholarships for Boulevard teens and the VSA arts of Georgia and the Creatives Project, a photography camp for Boulevard kids.

But the efforts don't stop with kids or young adults, Hall said, adding the Boulevard initiative has been broadened to include seniors and increased beautification and preservation efforts.

To that end, he announced a Black Vintage movies series geared toward Boulevard's senior citizens and projects with a slew of preservation groups including the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation aimed at developing empty or dilapidated lots in the residential and commercial districts of the greater Old Fourth Ward.

Here is the list of the full partners committed to the initiative in 2013:

The Children’s Museum of Atlanta with partners at Renaissance Learning Center, Premier Academy, ABC Child Care Center, Hope-Hill Elementary & Intown Academy.

Abby Martin January 14, 2013 at 03:10 AM
Mr. Hall, Please add to your efforts an afterschool art-dance-enrichment program at the J.D. Sims Center. My son participated in the Mayor & Office of Cultural Affairs' ArtSchool progam last summer for high-school aged students. It was remarkable!! Tis center runs an afterschool program for elementary-aged students. Interestingly, the afterschool bus runs from Centennial Place Elementary School to the center and not from its own neighborhood schools, Hope-Hill Elementary School and Intown Academy. Neighborhood facilities should ideally serve their community too. It would be exceptional to have all of the elementary school neighborhood children use the J.D. Sims Center in an art-dance-enrichment afterschool program before they all head to Inman Middle School and Grady High School - not to mention that studies show that building art and other such skills actually increases a child's perspective and aptitude for learning.

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