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Myrna Fuller & Emily Giordano On Development in Atlanta's West End

Kevin Wilson presented Myrna Fuller, longtime director of the Hammonds House Museum and major operative in the West End Merchants Coalition (WEMC), and Emily Giordano, of the City of Atlanta Department of City Planning, as our weekly speakers. Myrna and Emily teamed up to provide a sophisticated presentation to show business and community development in the West End. The WEMC has a 190-year history evolving from a fully segregated ‘whites only’ past to a racially integrated and diverse membership that is shepherding much of the social and economic vibrancy for West End’s future business development. The WEMC and the City of Atlanta Department of City Planning are using  federal and state funds to support storefront redesign. Good portions of the work derive from carefully constructed annual work plans. These plans ensure access to participation and accountability for results. Myrna and Emily tout this as A Partnership with a Purpose. Forty years ago the National Trust for History Preservation created The National Main Street Center. Then came Georgia Main Street and in 2016 the National Main Street Center launched Urban Main to support older but under resourced commercial districts like the West End. A first step in the Work Plan centers on the creation of a council, which is comprised of West End Neighborhood – WEND, Community Improvement District - CID, Neighborhood Planning Unit T - NPUT, and Our West End Newsletter – OWEN. From that eventually comes marketing and rebranding campaigns with a reliance on social media to draw attention to opportunities through West End merchants. Main Street Advisory Board is developed as a part of WEMC. The big goal is to operationalize a West End Alliance, which Myrna and Emily see as essential to establishment of a Unified Progressive West End with a Revitalized Business District. A major factor affecting the business district and the West End in general is the West End Mall, described as the potential major economic power source for the West End. Added to physical improvements, there is envisioned a marketing initiative. Given the depth and breadth of the presentation and its full focus on the West End by its nature, President Kimberly observed that WEMC and COA Department of City Planning reside at the core of much of what Rotary Club Atlanta West End Rotary does. With that she urged Myrna and Emily to return with more details and ways for AWER to participate in their work.

Posted by Neil Shorthouse
October 23, 2020 2:00pm

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