What are your priorities?

I want to hear what your priorities and concerns are for our city. Attend one of my “Meet and Greet” sessions or, if you prefer, communicate via email and/or set up a time to chat in person or via phone. dee4avondale@gmail.com; 404.423.5393

01 transparencyThere are two ways city government can be more transparent. One is by giving residents more notice before significant meetings are held and having a strong process for meaningful input before decisions are made. The other is to establish guiding principles that are used to consistently direct all negotiations. As your city commissioner, I would work strenuously to bring you both.

02 fiscal winnerEverybody likes the idea of being fiscally responsible, and so do I. I like going one step further – to be a fiscal winner. A fiscal winner invests so that debts are paid back easily and equity compounds. Investing in infrastructure will pay for itself in multiple ways – we build a better downtown, we get substantial new tax revenues from the commercial district, and we reduce the tax burden on residents (who currently pay nearly 90% of Avondale Estate’s property taxes).

A great example is the Madison Town Park. The City of Madison invested $5.5 million ($1.4M for land acquisition, $3.1M for construction) in their Town Park. The tax base of near-by properties grew from $2.1M in 2004 to $21.3M in 2008. That is an increase of 914% in just four years.

03 downtown masterOur city has adopted a thoughtful master plan for our Downtown district. The plan tells us what elements we need to incorporate to realize our vision, but does not include infrastructure guidelines designed to encourage those elements. That currently makes it too easy to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’ on our city’s vision when development occurs. 

Answering questions of how streets can be connected, how buildings interact with those streets, and how public open space is created together set a framework for design and development. Within that framework, each new and separate project contributes to a sense of a greater “whole” – and helps us move toward our adopted vision.

We will not get what we want in our downtown by leaving all development decisions to investors and waiting for them to tell us what they want to build. If we hope to realize our vision for our downtown, the city must invest in its streets, sidewalks and greenspace and leverage those investments with clear expectations from private development.

As your commissioner, I will use my extensive experience to help us, as a community, articulate our expectations and help developers align with our vision of a city that is walkable, inviting, green, and vibrant.

04 01 town greenStrategic development builds infrastructure that adds to property values, strengthens our negotiating position with developers, and attracts the kind of commercial neighbors that we want. My strategic development plan would include:

A Town Green - Our downtown needs a civic heart that draws us to a common public place. A town green with informal lawns, places to walk, sit, eat, play, celebrate and people watch not only creates a place to meet our neighbors and hold festivals, it can dramatically increase the value and desirability of nearby property. See Avondale Estates Town Green Project.

Downtown infrastructure - Today our downtown streets are disconnected and too often lack sidewalks, shade trees, seating and parking. A pedestrian-friendly connected street grid will significantly improve the character, function, and desirability of our downtown. See Avondale Estates Comprehensive Plan.

05 traffic calmOur wide residential streets invite speeding and crossing 278 to our downtown continues to be harrowing.

Traffic calming measures such as traffic circles, narrowed vehicle lanes, four way stops, on-street parking, bulb-outs (curb extensions designed to reduce the distance people are exposed to active traffic lanes), raised cross walks, street trees and dedicated bicycle lanes create a safer environment for drivers, bikers and pedestrians while discouraging cut-through drivers.

06 stormwaterUpfront planning that includes an attractive wet pond, canopy trees and rain gardens can reduce the need for pipes and storage structures – and increase property values.

At the same time, it can save time for permit reviews and decrease the overall cost of development.

Growing better together