By: Johnna Goodmark, Deputy City Attorney, City of Atlanta.
Atlanta’s Westside neighborhoods were home to many of the civil rights leaders and their families. This historic and once prosperous area of Atlanta has been in decline for decades. The Westside Future Fund is a non-profit comprised of Atlanta community leaders committed to revitalizing the historic Westside neighborhoods.
During the CREW Atlanta’s March luncheon program, John Ahmann, Executive Director of the Westside Future Fund, and Tommy Holder, Chairman and CEO of Holder Construction Co. and a member of the Westside Future Fund Board of Directors, discussed the mission and innovative work of the Westside Future Fund.
The Westside Future Fund is currently focused on four neighborhoods facing the greatest needs: English Avenue, Vine City, Ashview Heights and Atlanta University Center. We know communities thrive when people feel safe and secure, are educated and trained, and have access to resources that improve health and well-being. Accordingly, the Westside Future Fund’s initiatives and partner projects target four impact areas: (1) mixed-income communities, (2) safety and security, (3) cradle-to-career education, and (4) community health and wellness.
In recreating a mixed-income community, the Westside Future Fund focuses on mitigating resident displacement and developing high-quality affordable and workforce housing. The Anti-Displacement Tax Fund Program, developed in collaboration with the City of Atlanta, ensures that current residents are not displaced due to rising property values from new investment in the neighborhoods. The Westside Future Fund’s Real Estate Investment Fund allows the Westside Future Fund to purchase and develop property for affordable housing, which ensures long-term affordability options for residents.
Partner projects with the Atlanta Police Foundation, Pulte Homes, and The Arthur M. Blank Foundation are addressing safety and security in the Westside neighborhoods. These projects include providing homes for police officers to live in the English Avenue and Vine City neighborhoods, and the creation of security patrols to increase police visibility.
Partner projects supporting cradle-to-career education include the YMCA’s Center for Leadership and Learning, the Westside Works job training program, and the Hollis Academy, the Westside’s newest school, which features a STEM-focused curriculum created in partnership with Georgia Tech.
Finally, new park spaces in Vine City and the Rodney C. Cook, Sr. park support community health and wellness.
To learn more about the Westside Future Fund visit their website at www.westsidefuturefund.org.
Johnna Goodmark is currently a Deputy City Attorney at the City of Atlanta Law Department where she manages the Infrastructure and Real Estate Practice Group. As Deputy City Attorney, Ms. Goodmark is the primary in-house attorney responsible for managing the City’s major infrastructure and real estate transactions. She provides advice and counsel directly to the Mayor’s office, City Council members, and heads of City departments on complex infrastructure, transportation, and real estate transactions. Ms. Goodmark regularly works with the City’s partners including the Atlanta Housing Authority, Invest Atlanta, Atlanta Beltline, and MARTA on major transactions.
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