By Robert M. Sarwark
In separate special meetings, the general bodies of all three neighborhood associations within Neighborhood Planning Unit W — EACA, GPNA, and SAND — have agreed on a resolution to oppose the construction of a police and fire training facility at the site of the Old Atlanta Prison Farm, also known as the Honor Farm. The proposed $90 million project, supported by the Atlanta Police Foundation, lies not within NPU-W but next to it, between Key Road, Constitution Road, and Bouldercrest Road (see map).
The Atlanta City Council voted on August 16 by a narrow margin (8 to 7) to table their consideration of the proposal. The Council will have taken up the issue again after this paper goes to press (September 7).
The verbiage for the resolution was proposed by the non-profit Nature Conservancy and is as follows:
[Neighborhood Association], comprised of residents of the City of Atlanta, resolves to reject a proposal by the Atlanta Police Foundation to locate its proposed public safety training facility at the site of the former Honor Farm (aka Old Atlanta Prison Farm). [Neighborhood Association] supports the site’s conservation in-perpetuity for passive greenspace, natural habitat restoration, and future public recreation uses, as promulgated in the Atlanta City Design, and adopted into the official city charter in December 2017.
[Neighborhood Association] further resolves that we recognize the need for the highest standards in readiness and tactical training in support of all City of Atlanta and metro-area public safety officials and first-responders. As such, [Neighborhood Association] supports a thorough and transparent public-interest review of the place-based needs and objectives for such training. This includes performance of a qualified and transparent feasibility study, aimed at identifying existing available facilities; their capabilities and conditions, as well as siting any such newly proposed facilities at a location(s) compatible with such training requirements while being sensitive to land use planning and especially to minimizing adverse effects on stakeholder communities, whether they are inside or outside of the incorporated limits of the City of Atlanta.