Every other Wednesday, AHA meets with its partners to shape the future of the neighborhood around the former University Homes.
It’s a big job. Along with The Integral Group and Urban Collage, AHA will use the recently awarded Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant as the springboard to breathe fresh life into this area adjacent to the Atlanta University Center.
The groups next meet on Wednesday, Aug. 3.
AHA anticipates a 12-month planning timetable that includes planning meetings with the Promise Executive team, neighborhood asset mapping, resident and community involvement workshops, and housing metric assessments.
Along with the Morehouse School of Medicine, which was awarded $500,000 through the Promise Neighborhoods Planning Grant from the Department of Education in September 2010, the plan is to improve educational and development outcomes for children and youth by building holistic, community-centered continuum serving children and families.
The ultimate vision for the community is still being developed, according to James Talley, AHA Senior Project Manager. However, components include high-performing schools from birth to college, a modernized infrastructure, improved public safety, vibrant and active park spaces, high-quality retail and commercial services, well thought-out transit-oriented development, access to quality healthcare options, mixed income, and high quality/high performing sustainable housing options.
Ultimately, Talley says, the goal is making the neighborhoods within the Choice Neighborhoods boundary places that people from any socioeconomic background would proudly choose to live.
AHA's immediate goals are making sure everyone is on the same page with respect to data gathering and sharing, Talley says, adding that cross-pollination between the working groups is not only essential but required.
“We also want to determine what model communities we want to invest time in investigating,” Talley says.
Is there a specific neighborhood model that the group likes?
“The neighborhood/community that immediately surrounds the University of Pennsylvania is a very strong candidate,” Talley says.
The site of the former University Homes is a mixed-use, mixed-income community from Integral, CollegeTown at West End.