Forum update: An educational opportunity in Avondale, Ridley forum scrapped

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt October 6, 2015
Photo obtained via the city of Avondale Estates website.

Photo obtained via the city of Avondale Estates website.

This story has been updated. 

A group promoting smarter development in Avondale Estates will hold a Q&A with candidates on the opportunities and challenges facing the city’s downtown.

Meanwhile, a candidate forum in Decatur planned by City Commission candidate John Ridley has been called off. He said the League of Women Voters is considering sponsoring a forum in Decatur.

The municipal elections in Decatur and Avondale Estates will be held on Nov. 3.

The Avondale forum will be held Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Avondale Estates Community Club, located at 59 Lakeshore Drive, Avondale Estates. The forum is called “Avondale’s Opportunity: Creating a Great Downtown.”

But “forum” may be a misleading term, according to one of the organizers, John Threadgill.

“I guess we could’ve chosen to call it a conversation because that’s really what it’s about,” Threadgill said.

According to a press release, the forum will start off with a presentation by three experts in development and planning.


Ken Bleakly, president of Bleakly Advisory Group, an expert in creating Tax Allocation Districts, a tool that cities use to spur redevelopment. He helped create Avondale’s TAD.

Pratt Cassity, director of the Center for Community Design and Preservation in the College of Environmental Design at the University of Georgia. Pratt is also part of the Downtown Renaissance Partnership, a collaborative effort between the Carl Vinson School of Government, the Georgia Municipal Association and the Georgia Cities Foundation. The group provides support to cities looking to revitalize their downtowns.

Jack Honderd, a developer who has experience with mixed-use projects. His company is NewStreet Development and has designed projects in Brookhaven and in Decatur. He’s currently overseeing a project on Talley Street in Decatur.

David Sacks, another organizer of the Second Century event, said it’s an opportunity to educate City Commission candidates, particularly with the Euramex mixed-use development on the horizon.

“Basically I think the point of the forum is to try and engage the community and our city leaders in discussion about the great opportunity we have for downtown, hence the name,” Sacks said. “Because we think it’s really kind of a golden opportunity right at this moment and time to create a special kind of destination downtown. The challenge is how do you get from vision to reality?”

As for Ridley forum in Decatur, the candidate tells Decaturish the League of Women Voters is considering a forum in Decatur. A new date and location has not been announced. Ridley said he is not involved in planning that forum, but would participate along with the other candidates.

Here is the flyer for the Second Century Avondale event:

Forum Flyer_v3 (1)

Correction: An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information about the details of a proposed League of Women Voters forum. This story has been updated with the correct information. 

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