Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Who Are We?"

The title of this post gets its name from a fair question posed by a member of the audience at Monday's cityhood meeting at the Oak Grove United Methodist Church.

Before we could begin to know whether cityhood makes sense, we have to know the area(s) that might be considered to create a new city.  So, folks, "who are we?"

Post your maps, drawings and written suggestions for which areas make the most sense to you as the boundaries of a new city.

While you're at it, why not share your reasoning?  Is it a strong community of interest?  A strong mixture of commercial/industrial and residential property in a contiguous and reasonably shaped area?  What makes sense about the boundaries you chose?

Ask yourself: "Who are we?"


  1. Having this question at the forefront of your effort is encouraging. The qualifiers indicate you're willing allow this thing to emerge as patiently as need be.

    The organizing committee that resulted in a "Northlake Community Alliance" initially had one entire "Aspirational" (like "Inspirational") with about 150 people attending that asked "What is Northlake"? Took place at Hendwerson Mill Elementary School.

    Fascinating that the conversation turned (paths of least resistance and conflict) much more on the characteristics of the area in general, what residents and businesses have in common, what we like and don't like. The boundaries of someplace called "Northlake" were never considered a priority. For instance, people had feelings about being associated with an Atlanta address and some said they liked the quaintness and history of a locale--Tucker.

    NCA may still have its notes--quite revealing.

    Another: since we made the effort to invite large commercial property owners, long-time merchants (some who live here) and civic leaders (Rotary, Kiwanis, local bankers, church leaders)--I believe we got a much more valid picture.

    Naturally, because your mission has been defined as inquiring about a fixed entity called "city", you'll have to have boundaries.

  2. When I think back on growing up in this community, there are so many shared experiences that spring to mind -- birthdays at Monterrey, trips to the Fernbank Science Center, baseball at Medlock Park, story time at Avis G Williams... What stands out most of all, though, is that this is a community that has always valued education, and that is centered in and built around its schools. Long before I was of high school age, and well after I left for college, Druid Hills and Lakeside were more than just a place to study. Much like our respective houses of worship, they were the places where families gathered to keep abreast of what was happening, to have fun, and to pitch in. In my experience, these schools were and are a source of pride and identity, and the cultural and institutional center of this North-Central DeKalb community.

    Although the attendance zones for Druid Hills and Lakeside have changed somewhat over the years, I wonder if the unincorporated areas in the current zones might be a logical starting point for a definition of this new city. I can imagine a coherent and stable City of Druid Lakes, to include substantial commercial property: Toco Hill, Northlake, the south side of I-85, Suburban Plaza, and North Dekalb Mall. Thinking broadly in this manner may also stem further annexations by already-existing cities. It also comes to mind that although local school control is not on the table, if in some distant improbable future it were, such a city -- defined by its schools -- might be ideally suited to manage them.

    This is just one idea of what I hope will be many. I look forward to hearing others' thoughts and observations.