Friday, October 10, 2008

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin's Letter to Stakeholders

Dear Stakeholder:

As the country’s economic picture continues to be bleak amidst the Congressional bailout, the gas shortage and diminishing financial assurance, Atlanta, like other governments, is carefully watching the rapidly changing financial markets. As cities around America struggle through the current financial tide, I would like to take this opportunity to update you on some exciting things happening in the City.

Early Voting

Elections officials are predicting an extremely high voter turnout for this year’s General Election. I encourage you to increase your knowledge of National, State and Local candidates and amendments and to vote early. To find out additional information about voting early in your county, please contact your county Department of Registration and Elections.

Two weeks ago, Atlanta moved from 38th to 19th on a list of sustainable cities by an environmental web site for leading the Southeast in LEED certified buildings and a “no net loss” policy for trees.

We have reignited our work on recycling. Our new recycling manager, Mary Harrington, joined the Department of Public Works in August; and we working diligently to improve and expand our existing recycling program. We are also investigating additional programs such as business recycling and composting. For more information on our sustainability initiative, please visit

Atlanta BeltLine Project

The BeltLine Project has extraordinary potential to transform the City of Atlanta. With the groundbreaking for Historic Fourth Ward Park, the ribbon cutting on the West End Trail and the first acquisition of Northeast transit corridor in progress, tangible pieces of the core elements of the BeltLine – transit, trails and parks – are underway.

Groundbreaking for Historic Fourth Ward Park

· Wednesday, October 15th at 10:30 a.m.
· The future site of Historic Fourth Ward Park (approx. 695 North Avenue, 30308), behind City Hall East

BeltLine 5K and West End Trail Community Celebration and Ribbon Cutting

· Saturday, October 18, 2008. Ribbon Cutting/Check-In at 8:30 a.m.; 5K starts at 9:30 a.m.; Community Celebration follows 5K and goes until mid-afternoon
· Gordon-White Park , at the corner of Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. and White Street (approx. 1302 Ralph David Abernathy, 30310)

NE Transit Corridor Clean-Up

· Saturday, November 8th from 8:30 a.m. until 12 p.m. with a picnic to follow.
· On the BeltLine between Piedmont Park and North Highland. Register at

For more information on the Atlanta BeltLine Project, please visit

Center for Civil & Human Rights

Last month, the Center for Civil and Human Rights (CCHR) moved one step closer to completion thanks to the generous land donation from The Coca-Cola Company. The Center will be located at Pemberton Place, adjacent to the New World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium, and will contribute to the continued revitalization of Atlanta’s downtown core. The donation is not only a significant milestone for the Center, but also a significant contribution toward our goal of opening the Center debt-free. When complete, the Center will provide a forum for ongoing dialogue, study and potential resolution of current and future freedom struggles for all people. More information about the Center for Civil and Human Rights, please visit

New Panhandling Initiative

In early September, the City of Atlanta in partnership with Central Atlanta Progress (CAP), the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB), other public certified law enforcement jurisdictions, and the private sector joined together to announce a new comprehensive campaign to convince residents, employees, customers, students and visitors that giving money to panhandlers is not an authentic act of charity, and to make panhandlers aware that their actions are against the law.

We encourage you to invest in long-term solutions by providing financial support and volunteering your time to help local organizations and service providers such as the Regional Commission on Homelessness or the Gateway 24/7 Homeless Services Center. We have also installed special “Giving Meters” downtown to deposit change you might ordinarily give directly to a panhandler. It’s a better way to help. All proceeds will be given to agencies that provide comprehensive services for those who are truly in need. For more information on this initiative, please visit or call the Ambassador Force of Downtown Atlanta at 404.215.9600.

As Mayor, I want to thank each of you for your continued support and input to making the City of Atlanta a better city for all of us.

For additional information on any of the programs in this letter, please visit

Shirley Franklin

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