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March Newsletter

DeKalb Bicentennial Celebration

Happy 200th Birthday DeKalb! On Thursday, March 23, CEO Michael Thurmond and the DeKalb County Commissioners joined the DeKalb Delegation in the Rotunda of the Georgia State Capitol for a bicentennial celebration. I was honored to represent District 2 and look forward to working with fellow commissioners and state representatives to address our community’s issues and concerns.

“It’s been a great honor to work with the commissioners,” remarked Senator Kim Jackson, District 41, as she welcomed the CEO and Commissioners at the celebration and congratulated all on the passage of HB 431.This bill removes the restriction limiting what capital outlay projects DeKalb can spend SPLOST funds on, and allows us to use SPLOST funds, with the approval of a voter referendum, for all items that any other county in the state can. We look forward to hearing next steps from the administration on the development of a project list followed by a robust community input experience. A SPLOST Committee of the Whole (COW) is scheduled for April 20 at 9 am.

Pendergrast Park Ribbon Cutting

The weather could not have been more perfect for the Pendergrast Park ribbon cutting on March 30! This has been a long time coming – over 10 years due to delays related to construction and the pandemic. Special thanks to Paige Singer and Marvin Billups with DeKalb RPCA, Randy Roosa with Friends of Pendergrast Park, former Commissioner Jeff Rader, Callie Pendergrast, and all the neighbors who helped make this dream a reality.

BOC Action on D2 BOARD APPOINTMENTS

In March, I submitted reappointment agenda items for the SPLOST Oversight Committee and the District 2 Community Council.

Nancy Love will continue to represent District 2 on the SPLOST Oversight Committee, and Ted Daniel, Tim Miner, Jim Smith, Bruce MacGregor, Mary Hinkel, and John Turner will all continue to serve on the Community Council. Their service is invaluable, and we truly appreciate their service to DeKalb County.

The Healing Power of Parks

22nd Annual Parks & Greenspace Conference hosted by Park Pride

On Monday, March 27, Park Pride hosted the annual Parks and Greenspace conference at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Each year, Park Pride brings together leaders in the Atlanta community and across the United States who work and volunteer in parks. This conference highlights the importance of protecting parks and this year presented many resources demonstrating the healing powers of parks.

In January 2023, Park Pride announced its largest slate of awards with $2.5 million for 35 communities, including unincorporated DeKalb County, for park improvements. Park Pride continues to educate the public on best practices to improve and expand parks while focusing on the individuals who work to improve our parks across the county. District 2 was honored that one of our own, Valerie Boss, was awarded the 2023 Inspiration Award for her dedicated service over many years to the Ira B. Melton Park. Congratulations, Valerie!

Women’s History Month: Women Leaders of District 2

This month, we honor past DeKalb County Commissioners of District 2: Liane Levetan, Sherry Sutton, Gale Walldorff, Judy Yates and Kathie Gannon. These ladies began their careers volunteering on important issues they cared about deeply.

Liane Levetan, the first woman elected to the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners in 1975, served as the first female Chief Executive Officer of DeKalb from 1993 to 2000. She fiercely advocated for tax breaks for DeKalb property owners and worked tirelessly to pass and implement the first Homestead Option Sales Tax. “I was inspired to run and make a difference and I thank my husband for believing in me while I worked to represent District 2,” shared Levetan.

Sherry Sutton, a resident of District 2, served as DeKalb District 2 Commissioner from 1985-1992. She vacated the seat and Gale Walldorff was elected in 1992 to finish out Sutton’s term.

 

Walldorff initially volunteered with CAUTION (Citizens Against Unnecessary Thoroughfares In Older Neighborhoods) to stop road construction through her neighborhood of Druid Hills. “Being a community activist and taking a stand to stop construction of a highway through my neighborhood inspired me to run for office.” Walldorff served for 14 years as District 2 Commissioner.

Like Walldorff, Judy Yates also volunteered with CAUTION, and then she became D2 Planning Commissioner for Commissioner Sutton. Yates later served as Super District 6 Commissioner from 1993 – 2004.

When the Super District 6 seat became vacant, Kathie Gannon ran and was elected, serving from 2004 to 2020. Gannon had volunteered with the Druid Hills Historic Preservation Commission and also worked with Court Appointed Special Advocates.

As we end March 2023, we are grateful for the leadership of these women who served DeKalb County. DeKalb has a long history of strong female leaders who work hard to improve their neighborhoods and our county.

I am proud to stand on the shoulders of these women and thank them for standing up and answering the call to serve.

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