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ARC’s State of the Region Explores Key Issues Through Theme of ‘Owning Our Future’

Atlanta — Oct 28, 2022

About 1,400 leaders from across metro Atlanta gathered today at the Atlanta Regional Commission’s 2022 State of the Region to take stock of metro Atlanta and explore key regional challenges, through the theme “Owning Our Future.”

In her State of the Region address, ARC Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Anna Roach urged attendees to work together to address the key issues that will define the Atlanta region for decades to come.

“To own our future, we must be decisive about our direction forward and make the investments that set us on the path to success,” she said. “To own our future, we must dream big, and imagine ‘what’s possible’ if we put our minds to it.”

Roach outlined the regional priorities that she and her leadership team have identified: housing affordability, climate change and resiliency, equity, infrastructure, and workforce development.

Regarding climate change, Roach said “it’s time that we place even greater emphasis on this topic, perhaps the defining issue of our time. We can’t credibly claim to be working to enhance quality of life in our region without addressing climate change head-on.”

‘Own Our Future’ video featured at State of the Region

ARC Establishes ‘Atlanta Regional Infrastructure Consortium’ to Best Position Metro Atlanta to Compete for Federal Infrastructure Grants

ARC Executive Director & CEO Anna Roach announced the establishment of the Atlanta Regional Infrastructure Consortium, which brings together transportation planners, elected officials, and other leaders from across metro Atlanta to identify and coordinate regional grant applications that are best positioned to compete for funding through the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The infrastructure law, approved by Congress in November 2021, significantly increases funding for transportation projects while also providing funding opportunities in areas such as water, energy, and broadband. The majority of the grant programs are competitive and give priority to collaborative applications that cross city or county lines and provide regional solutions.

The effort has two main elements:

  • An Infrastructure Consortium made up of representatives from the ARC’s regional Transportation Coordinating Committee, which includes transportation planners and experts from local governments and transportation agencies. The consortium will also include staff from agencies in metro Atlanta who can provide technical and regional perspectives on water, energy, and broadband programs. The consortium will meet on a regular basis, with frequency to be determined.
  • An Infrastructure Caucus that includes members of the ARC Board to guide ARC staff and approve recommendations from the Infrastructure Consortium.

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Regional Excellence Awards

The agency presented the 2022 Regional Excellence awards, which honor innovative projects, places, and planning initiatives. This year’s winners are:

  • Visionary Planning: The City of Doraville was recognized for its code changes and implementation of a Sustainable Doraville. The changes are designed to support community members with limited access to vehicles, preserve the city’s natural ecosystem, and create a vibrant economy through walkable places.
  • Innovative Development: Columbia Ventures and MARTA were honored for the Edgewood Park Transit-Oriented Development, a vibrant mixed-use development at a former parking lot at the Edgewood-Candler Park MARTA station.
  • Livable Center: The City of Stockbridge was honored for the Stockbridge Amphitheater and Park, which has helped transform the downtown area into a vibrant community hub.
  • Great Place: The City of Avondale Estates and the Avondale Estates Downtown Development Authority for the Avondale Estates Town Green, which has created a multi-generational, sustainable, and inclusive development that will help catalyze downtown Avondale.

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Harry West Visionary Leadership Award

The 2022 Harry West Visionary Leadership Award was presented to former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, in recognition for serving the community with incredible dedication and tenacity, with a vision that made the region stronger.

As Mayor, Franklin is best known for repairing the city’s dilapidated water and sewer system and for her popular Pothole Posse program. She also worked to create the Gateway Center to house the city’s homeless population and led the 2005 effort to save the papers of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from the auction block and donate them to Morehouse College.

After two terms as mayor, she was instrumental in the early work of the East Lake Foundation and the national organization it spawned, Purpose Built Communities. She currently chairs the board of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and earlier this year was named a Georgia Trustee by Gov. Brian Kemp and the Georgia Historical Society.

The award is named the late Harry West, a former executive director of ARC whose visionary leadership left a mark across the public, private, and university sectors. Each year, ARC presents this award to a leader who exhibits a similar vision and passion for our region. The physical award, a magnificent Red “Leopard” maple bowl, crafted by renowned wood turner Philip Moulthrop, is passed from one recipient to the next.

Unsung Hero Award

ARC presented the Unsung Hero Award to Philip and Gail Ross for their work to change the lives of young people in their northwest Atlanta neighborhood. The couple run Bright Futures Atlanta, a nonprofit organization that operates a private school, an after-school program, and a summer program for middle and high school kids in the Bankhead and Grove Park neighborhoods.

Bright Futures was born out of a need. The Rosses realized that too many young people in their neighborhood lacked a safe place to go after school. They needed an alternative to the streets, and to the lure of gangs.

They began providing prayer and meals in their living room after school and have expanded to offer year-round programs. The centerpiece is Bright Futures Academy, a private school for grades 5 through 12. Tuition is free, and they boast a 100% graduation rate.

Bright Futures also provides after-school arts education and tutoring, and an eight-week long summer program with weeklong trips to the mountains of Virginia.

Contact Name: Paul Donsky
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