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Free Press 061512

Free Press 061512

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Published by hudgons
The Champion FreePress: A DeKalb County, GA Newspaper
The Champion FreePress: A DeKalb County, GA Newspaper

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Published by: hudgons on Jun 15, 2012
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, 2012 • VOL. 15, NO. 12 FREE
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Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.
 by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.comThe Decatur Downtown HistoricDistrict was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places.Plans for the city were laid out in the1820s and many of those early build-ings are still intact today.
Lynn Speno
, who works for theHistoric Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of NaturalResources, said it’s hard to imagine acity like Decatur flourishing withoutthe help of the railroad.“The railroad in Georgia playeda big part in development in almostevery small town because that was themain means of transportation in theearly 20th century,” Speno said.Plans for the city of Decatur,named after naval hero
, began in 1823 and consistedof a courthouse, with two streets lead-ing to the center of the square. Thearrival of the railroad in the 1840sspurred commercial and economic de-velopment, and helped the small citygrow into the metro hub it is today.“Students came to Agnes ScottCollege by rail and people were ableto easily travel into Atlanta,” Spenosaid.Decatur’s significant his-toric period spans 1823-1967. Speno said many of the city’s historic buildings arestill intactand being used today such as the oldcourthouse, which now houses theDeKalb History Center, and the old bank building that currently houses aStarbucks in addtion to several other shops and restaurants on the Decatur Square.The official historic district is bor-dered by North McDonough Street onthe west, East Howard Avenue on thesouth, Hillyer and Commerce streetsto the east and East Ponce de LeonAvenue to the north.In addition to places such asthe old courthouse and bank,many Decatur homesand buildingsare examples of architectural styles built in Georgia cities from the end of the 19th century to the middle of the20th century.City of Decatur Planning Direc-tor 
Amanda Thompson
said in 2009the city performed a historic resourcessurvey, which identified all parts of the city that could be added to the National Register. Thompson said be-ing added to the register benefits thecity for several reasons, including taxincentives.“Cakes and Ale is an exam- ple of one of thoseprojects for us,” Thompson said.“The owners saved upward of $600,000, and for us that’s a win be-cause they’re renovating Decatur his-toric buildings instead of just tearingthem down and building a new one,and it’s a win for them because of thetax write off.”Thompson said each city is de-fined by its physical form and thatallows people to distinguish down-town Decatur from Alpharetta—thedifferences between its buildings andstreets. She said being added to theregister helped ensure more of thecity’s historic buildings would remainintact.Decatur’s strategic plan, developedin 2010, has a section dedicated tohistoric preservation. Thompson saidduring the process of developing the plan, residents asked the city to try toadd any building deemed eligible tothe register. Now, she said, hundredsof residents and property owners in thecity have access to tax incentives to payfor renovation and restoration work.“I think the main thing to empha-size is that if a property is listed on the National Register it’s voluntary, it’sa recognition and tax incentives, butthe owner doesn’thave to par-ticipate,”
Downtown Decatur officially named historic district 
Page 2A The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 15, 2012
security cameras
(404) 848-4911
if you see something out of the ordinary.
You’re never alone when you’re onMARTA. Every station is under ourwatchful eye. We could use your eyes,too. If you see something that’s not right,call us. We’ll take it from there.
somethingsomethingIf you
New development comingto Covington Highway
 by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.comRunning from AvondaleEstates to near StonecrestMall in unincorporated Li-thonia, 12-mile CovingtonHighway is the focus of some new economic devel-opment.A month-old RaceTrac
gas station is causing trafc
 jams along Covington High-way as it engages in a pricewar with a nearby QuikTrip.An apartment complexon the road has begun acomplete renovation, a newCitgo retail center is beingconstructed and Superior Chevrolet has redesigned itsstore.Between South Hairstonand Panola roads, an 11-acremixed-use development
that sat unnished for years
opened June 5.Panola Slope, at 6660Covington Highway, “wasexperiencing foreclosure inthe economic crisis head-on because the previous devel-oper who had attempted to bring it to market was fore-closed on by three differentinstitutions,” said
, CEO of APD Solu-tions, a national neighbor-
hood revitalization rm.
The property had beensplit up and the Federal De- posit Insurance Corp. hadclosed at least one of the banks that owned a part of the property, Irons said. The property was approximately
40-50 percent nished when
it was acquired by APD so-lutions.Panola Slope, with 15commercial units and 23 brownstones, is one of the
rst mixed-use develop-
ments in south DeKalbCounty. More units are planned in a future phase,Irons said.“We’ve made the unitsvery nice,” Irons said.“They’ve got gourmet kitch-
ens, hardwood oors, 10-
foot ceilings, crown moldingthroughout, upgraded appli-ances.”
Irons said his rm hopesto have the rst family mov-
ing in by the end of the
month. A sales ofce will
open soon and propertymanagers will move intounits until at least 50 percentof the property is occupied.
“That way the rst few
families that go in don’thave to feel that they’re outthere alone,” Irons said.“In this environment wherethere’s so much theft andvandalism…we don’t wanttheft out there before we can put hardworking families
See Development on Page 3A
Economic development on Covington Highway is a mixed bag withbusinesses coming and going. Photos by Andrew Cauthen
Page 3A The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 15, 2012
Continued From Page 2A 
in the units. It’s better for usfrom a management stand- point to put home managerson-site.”Irons said his companyspent more than $5 million
in this rst phase of Panola
Slope with another $2 mil-lion phase planned.The investment was made because APD Solutionsfeels “very strongly that the bridge for this part of Cov-ington Highway to come back is this property,” Ironssaid.“I live very nearby andmy company does communi-ty development all across thenation,” Irons said. “I reallywanted to be able to create acatalyst for my own neigh- borhood and community.“If this property stayedvacant and undeveloped itwould be very hard pressedfor any of the other measuresthat are focused on this corri-dor to take hold,” Irons said.“We needed to be the cata-lyst. We wanted to rebuildthe community.”Irons said his companycannot take full credit for some of the recent develop-ment activities on CovingtonHighway, “but I think we’ve been a catalyst for peopleunderstanding that this partof Covington Highway…is asafe investment as the econ-omy starts to cure itself.”Commissioner 
said the revitaliza-tion of Covington Highwaystarted with infrastructureimprovements the Board of Commissioners approveda few years ago. Those im- provements include newsidewalks along the corridor.Johnson said the boardhas also denied several zon-ing permits that would have brought more car repair andused car shops to the cor-ridor.Instead of those typesof businesses, Johnson saidCovington Highway needsmore knowledge-based businesses such as Omni-tech Institute. Since 1999,Omnitech, located at 4319Covington Highway, has provided technical solutionsand training.“They put kids right intothe workforce,” Johnsonsaid.Additionally, CovingtonHighway, a state road, would
 be greatly beneted by a pro
- posed I-20 MARTA rail stop.“That would just makeit improve tremendously,”Johnson said. “Rail woulddrive economic growth anddevelopment and make theCovington area a true live,work and play, transit-orient-ed area.“We still have a long wayto go,” Johnson said.
Boston elected to Boardof Governors
DeKalb County Solici-tor General
Sherry Boston
 was elected to serve on theBoard of Governors of the43,000-member State Bar of Georgia, and was installedJune 2 during the organiza-tion’s annual meeting.Boston will serve in theStone Mountain Judicial Cir-cuit, Post 9 seat on the board.She is a graduate of VillanovaUniversity and the EmoryUniversity Law School, andwas admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1999.Prior to becoming solicitor general, Boston was in privatelaw practice and served as aMunicipal Court judge for the city of Dunwoody, where
she was the rst woman ap
- pointed to the court. She alsowas judge pro hac vice on theDeKalb County Recorder’sCourt and magistrate judge for the DeKalb Magistrate Court.She is active in the GeorgiaAssociation of Women Law-yers, Georgia Associationof Black Women Attorneys,the DeKalb Bar Association,Atlanta Bar Association andLawyers Club. She is a facultyinstructor at both The BasicLitigation Course hosted bythe Prosecuting AttorneysCouncil and The Kessler-Ed-ison Program for Trial Tech-niques at Emory UniversitySchool of Law.
Tax appraiser’s ofce
works to correctassessment errors
 Because of computer 
 problems, awed property ap
- praisals have been generatedin some areas of the county.The DeKalb County tax asses-
sor’s ofce discovered prob
-lems with appraisals recently
See Briefs on Page 9ADevelopers of the once defunct Panola Slope mixed-use project hope the complex spurs economic
development on Covington Highway. A recently opened RaceTrac gas station is causing trafc jams
and a price-war with a nearby QuikTrip. Photos by Andrew Cauthen

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