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Destination South DeKalb

(Last Updated On: February 11, 2015)

The Dekalb County community of Metro Atlanta has a lot going on right now as it fights to revitalize itself after several battles of corruption within its local government.  Because of these two Northern DeKalb communities have incorporated to become their own government entity: Dunwoody, Brookhaven, and many more are currently in the process of trying to become their own entity as well.

Over the past year and a half, interim CEO, Lee May, has been working tirelessly to regain the people’s trust of Dekalb County and reestablish the once thriving county to what it once was. May has recently announced plans to incorporate a segment along Memorial Drive close to I-285 into a “Downtown Dekalb” area. This area will house several government offices and be the foundation for encouraging new residential and commercial development along Memorial Drive, a corridor that May says that has been long forgotten for decades.

Then there is the newly proposed city of, “South DeKalb,” by Concerned Citizens for Cityhood of South DeKalb (CCCSD) and led by Georgia State University’s Dr. Kathryn Rice. Rice is leading a movement that will incorporate the entire unincorporated borders of the South DeKalb County into a new city of Georgia. This particular area of South Dekalb has long been known as the city of Decatur, but actually is not. Because this unincorporated area of DeKalb County does not have a city name, it uses the city of Decatur’s name for postal and many other reasons.

During the 90s and early 2000 Dekalb County was known as the country’s most affluent county among African-Americans, but in recent years, many African-Americans have relocated to neighboring counties such as: Rockdale, Henry and more. South DeKalb County continues to be one of the metro area’s largest community of African-Americans, but is becoming a popular destination for other cultures and nationalities to call home as well.

As CCCSD pushes forward with their cityhood initiative.  Many South DeKalb residents are complaining that the initiative has not been publicized properly enough to keep South DeKalb residents informed of their cityhood movement. For those that are aware of the movement, mixed feelings are amongst them all.  Many residents oppose it because of the possibility of tax increases, many residents rather see South DeKalb annexed into either the city of Atlanta or the city of Decatur, some residents rather not see the unincorporated South DeKalb become anything at and then there are the residents that doesn’t want to go by hearsay and just want to get official information about the South DeKalb cityhood movement and how would they be affected if it moves forward.

CCCSD previously has been having town hall meetings at selected locations around South DeKalb to speak with the general public about the movement.  Their website can be found at: http://southdekalbcityhood.blogspot.com/

Partnership in Action for Healthy Living, Inc (PAHL) and a number of other community residents is working together to inform South DeKalb residents of the movement to turn South DeKalb County into a city, and how the incorporation can affect you. On Tuesday, February 10th, PAHL is sponsoring a Cityhood Meeting called, “Cityhood in South DeKalb 101.”

State Representative, Karla Drenner, will be attending the meeting to talk about the process to become a city, impacts and current cityhood movements in South DeKalb.  Meeting will be held at the Midway Recreation Center at 3181 Midway Road, Decatur, Georgia 30032.

PAHL’s mission is to empower South DeKalb County residents to make healthy choices that support their best quality of life. We do this by increasing access to healthy food and active living opportunities and by promoting community building and environmental changes that sustain a culture of health.  PAHL can be reached at (404) 996-6324 or by email at: info@pahlga.org.

A.T.L. Webmag is a South DeKalb based company in the community of Belvedere Park.  We have extensive reports on the South DeKalb cityhood movement as they become available.  We can also be reached by phone at: (404) 913-7005 or by email at: info@atlwebmag.com.


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About Miles J. Edwards

Founder of A.T.L. Webmag. Belvedere Park resident and downtown Atlanta enthusiast.

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  1. Why does the Greenhaven sky line logo look like the New York sky line. The new city of South DeKalb want ever look like New. However came up with that logo is hallucinating or psychotic. The logos for Dunwoody, Brookhaven and the other cities are more realistic.

  2. The residents are being held with a gun barrel pointed at our head. The tactic is fear. We are being told that we will have to pay more taxes than the others in the county if we do not form a city. I say take the issue to court.

    What are the options in south DeKalb? Create a city, create multiple small cities, or maintain the status quo. The new south DeKalb city as proposed by the Concerned Citizens for Cityhood in South DeKalb would be smaller in land size than the city of Atlanta, and would include approximately 300,000 residents. The city would be approximately 90% African American. It would be largest in DeKalb by far, and it would be the second largest city in the State of Georgia. But this city, which would encompass most of unincorporated South DeKalb County, would be the second largest in Georgia with nearly 300,000 residents. The proposed map would include everything in DeKalb south of U.S. 78 up to I-285, excluding a proposed city of Stonecrest, and everything south of Memorial Drive on the other side of 285.
    The largest city in DeKalb is Dunwoody and Brookhaven which has 46,000 and 49,000 residents, Both Brookhaven and Dunwoody already had significant economic development in their communities prior to their becoming cities in their own right.

    The annexation laws should be made stricter, alternative forms of quasi-governmental communities should be considered, private residential associations communities and special districts could also be alternatives to cityhood.

    The CCCSD main rational is economic development, avoiding higher taxes and protecting assets. How is the CCCSD defining economic development, is it tax reduction? How will it achieve the economic development that it is portraying in their vision? The elephant in the room that some people want to ignore is that business investments tend not to be significant in areas that have a population of color over 65 percent. New municipalities can impact taxes, school districts, land-use, growth control, environmental regulations, elected representation and public utility services. New municipalities can lead to fragmentation and competition for financial resources between local governments.

    The process of forming cities should require a petition before an organization or person can represent themselves as speaking for the community or in the name of the citizens.
    There are a lot of unanswered questions that citizens in South DeKalb do not know about in terms of the form of government the new proposed city will have. What kind of mayor or city manager will this new proposed city have? Will the city council be strong? What kind ethnics review will be in the charter?

    There should be a way for citizens in South DeKalb opt out of the new city if it does not want to be a part of the shot gun city.
    The citizens of DeKalb would be better served if the CCCSD would file a court case against the county and the other cities in regards to the tax liabilities and pension obligations that are not being shared by all the property owners of the county. How can a new city such as the city of Dunwoody or Brookhaven not be equally responsible for pension and bonds that were already obligated prior to their cityhood make no sense.

    It would be equally appropriate if our political leaders in DeKalb ask the State Legislators to amend the annexations and consolidation laws to prohibit hostile takeovers, without the consent of the governed. Some states have laws that require the cities to make up for the lose revenue of the county.

    It seems that shotgun cities are appearing all over the DeKalb County. Who will pay the county bills once all the local communities become cities? The state Legislature stop this cityhood movement in the county. The county needs leadership on this issue. The citizens should not remain silent on this issue.

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