Defeated, not deterred: Supporters of failed annexation, cityhood efforts plan for 2016
Together in Atlanta didn’t get anywhere with its proposal to annex Druid Hills into Atlanta, but the organizers say they’ll be back.
Ditto for the proposed cities of Greenhaven and Stonecrest.
While the proposed cities of Tucker and LaVista Hills will head to a vote this November, the groups behind the unsuccessful movements are optimistic about their chances next year.
Tucker would have a population of around 33,000 people. LaVista Hills would have a population of over 65,000.
Stonecrest and Greenhaven promoted similar plans. Stonecrest’s population would’ve been 50,000. Greenhaven, if it had been successful, would’ve become the second-largest city in Georgia behind Atlanta, with a population of about 300,000.
Concerned Citizens for South DeKalb President Kathryn Rice, the group behind Greenhaven, said, “We are disappointed in the results but plan to continue moving forward.”
Stonecrest commented on the defeat of its cityhood bill using its Facebook page.
“Stonecrest came close to success; it was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate, but ran out of time before it could get a House vote before the end session,” the cityhood group’s statement says. “However, the Stonecrest bills, SB 208 and HB 539, will retain their present status into the next session of the General Assembly. Our bills are not dead, but merely delayed. We aren’t going anywhere except forward! Stay tuned for next steps.”
Stonecrest and Greenhaven rallied around the need for better government and economic development.
Together in Atlanta’s primary focus was education. While TIA members have consistently distanced themselves from the failure of the Druid Hills Charter Cluster movement, it was the rejection of that idea by DeKalb County Schools that gave the Atlanta annexation proposal its momentum. The initial TIA proposal would’ve taken Druid Hills High and two of the schools that feed into it: Briar Vista and Fernbank Elementary schools. That idea created controversy because it would’ve forced students in other schools that feed into Druid Hills High, like Druid Hills Middle and Avondale Estates Elementary schools, to attend another high school.
That concept expanded and by the end of the session the map had been redrawn “to include nearly 70 percent of the students attending the Druid Hills High School feeder cluster,” according to the group’s Facebook page.
Still, it was not enough to keep the annexation bill alive.
“Though this legislative session has come to a close, our hard work will continue,” TIA said. “We are pleased with the momentum we have built, and we will continue to investigate the different avenues for annexation that may allow us to formally become part of the world-class city that is our hometown of Atlanta.”
The 2016 session will likely see the return of these proposals, as well as proposals for annexing unincorporated portions of DeKalb County into Decatur and Avondale Estates.