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Year of Boulevard Continues into 2013

Councilman Kwanza Hall promises new initiatives, partnerships to continue revitalization efforts on Boulevard corridor.

OLD FOURTH WARD — Pledging to continue the momentum started last year under his Year of Boulevard initiative, Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall launched the 2013 edition of the program.

The initiative aims to revitalize the Boulevard corridor, particularly the stretch that includes the Bedford Pines Apartments off Winton Terrace.

If the Martin Luther King Historic District is the heart of the Old Fourth Ward, then Boulevard is its spine, Hall told East Atlanta Patch in a wide-ranging interview on the Boulevard focus.

"The spine is Boulevard and we've got to do some things, some chiropractic work on that spine to get it right," Hall said.

The Boulevard efforts last year included tackling public safety, unemployment and job skills training and community beautification.

On Thursday, Hall, speaking at the Forth Ward Alliance's January meeting held at the Tabernacle Baptist Church, pledged to double down on those efforts.

Citing continued efforts to focus on the 700 kids and teens who live on and just off that stretch of Boulevard, he announced several new partnerships designed to expand their educational experiences.

Among them, a five-year program with the Children's Museum of Atlanta that includes the Renaissance Learning Center, Premier Academy, ABC Child Care Center, Hope-Hill Elementary School and Intown Academy.

The initiative grants kids from those schools free admission and transportation to the Children’s Museum and gives parenting classes in all Old Fourth Ward early child care centers.

He also announced an internship and job training for teens project with the Greater Atlanta Economic Alliance, which will provide internships and job training for those Boulevard teens who are interested in aviation-related careers.

Other initiatives include partnerships with Microsoft, which is donating computers to Martin Luther King branch library and will offer free computer and app development classes for Boulevard teens at the Microsoft Store.

The Black Girls Code, focused on the development of young ladies, will create a "technology day" program designed to showcase and spark interest among girls on Boulevard in the tech fields.

The efforts also include an expansion of summer camp offerings such as the Museum of Design's Atlanta Robotics Summer Camp, which will include scholarships for Boulevard teens and the VSA arts of Georgia and the Creatives Project, a photography camp for Boulevard kids.

But the efforts don't stop with kids or young adults, Hall said, adding the Boulevard initiative has been broadened to include seniors and increased beautification and preservation efforts.

To that end, he announced a Black Vintage movies series geared toward Boulevard's senior citizens and projects with a slew of preservation groups including the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation aimed at developing empty or dilapidated lots in the residential and commercial districts of the greater Old Fourth Ward.

Here is the list of the full partners committed to the initiative in 2013:

The Children’s Museum of Atlanta with partners at Renaissance Learning Center, Premier Academy,
ABC Child Care Center, Hope-Hill Elementary & Intown Academy

Chris H January 11, 2013 at 03:48 PM
It was a packed house last night for the meeting. Was great to see first hand how happy the people of Boulevard are for the positive changes happening. I'm looking forward to getting more involved with my O4W neighborhood and continuing this great work!
Chris Murphy January 12, 2013 at 12:02 PM
That's what it takes, getting involved, and staying engaged and active.

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