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A Vision for SAND

By Michael Snyder, SAND President

As we exited 2023, the new South Atlantans for Neighborhood Development (SAND) leadership had gathered on a few occasions to introduce new officers and discuss what we want to accomplish in 2024. It may seem unnecessary as SAND has a 50-year history of progress, but this is important because our goals need to adjust to a new reality. I would like to share with you my thoughts about our future.

As described by Paul and Riki Bolster, two of SAND’s longest members, SAND was founded in reaction to the need for development in southeast Atlanta; hence the name South Atlantans for Neighborhood Development. Its six neighborhoods had lost population, services, and real estate value. Houses sat empty for months or years as residents had moved to the suburbs. The end goals of SAND’s founders were to persuade new residents to be willing to move south of I-20, to work for better city services, to support integrated public schools, and to create a vibrant community. 

Times have definitely changed as our neighborhoods are now in high demand. Where homes were stretching to reach four- and five-digit prices when SAND was founded, homes are now selling for well into six figures and above. Businesses have also sprouted from Glenwood Park to Benteen Park and everywhere in between. Developers have begun to recognize SAND neighborhoods as a destination of choice bringing commercial and residential projects like The Lodge and Halidom to our area. And SAND will continue to do the work of guiding the development of our built environment, but with the need to enhance demand for our housing solved, we need to revisit how we foster the other parts of “Neighborhood Development.”

For this next chapter, SAND will prioritize the community building part of neighborhood development. Community building is enhancing parks and community spaces. We will be working diligently with the city and other stakeholders on with the vision for Red’s Farm. We will continue to work with our neighbors at Tapestry to preserve the greenspace and with the city and other groups to promote and develop the PATH along Intrenchment creek. We will also continue to work on pedestrian improvements such as sidewalks and Hawk signal crossings along Moreland Avenue. 

Community building is also connecting with the people that occupy those buildings and parks.  We will be working diligently to help residents get to know their neighbors, both old and new. SAND will continue to enhance our TWO successful neighborhood festivals in The Ormewood Park Makers Fest and the Benteen Park Fall Fest. We will continue to use the funding from these events to further community with grants to neighborhood-based non-profit programs as well as a new Neighbor in Need program we are working to establish in 2024 to assist our legacy neighbors. 

For more direct face time, we have begun to work on a hybrid option for our monthly meeting with a great learning experience at our January meeting. We will be implementing what we learned at our February meeting.  Over the next year it is also my hope that SAND is able to sponsor and host more social activities in more parts of the neighborhoods as well. Ideas so far include outdoor movies, art shows, game nights, block parties and maybe even a field day! We are excited to hear more ideas too!

It is my hope that you will join us in this endeavor as we look forward to growing the SAND family! Please feel free to reach out to me at or visit us at our website and tell us what your vision is for the future of SAND.

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