Big turnout for launch of SDIA
Ken Watts | 10/28/2013, 9:32 p.m.
Nearly 90 enthusiastic residents flocked to a Saturday morning meeting on Oct. 26 at the Berean Community Center for the first public appearance of the newly-formed South DeKalb Improvement Association. Seven board members told attendees they are hoping to reverse decades of decline in the quality of life in South DeKalb and promote its economic development.
Leaders said the meeting was intended as an introduction to the organization and its goals.
The board members are:
- David George, Chair of SDIA and board member of Wesley Chapel Curb Appeal Task Force, retired Greyhound Bus driver, first described SDIA’s mission in the Oct. 19 edition of CrossRoadsNews.
- Dr.Kathryn Rice, founder of SDIA and past president of Hidden Hills Civic Association
- Greg Van Buren, lives in unincorporated Clarkston, IT specialist
- Kevin Chapman, President, Snapfinger Manor Homeowners Association, President Wesley Chapel Curb Appeal Task Force. Works at nEducational Opportunity Office-GSU
- Robert Douglas, Creekwood neighborhood, teaching assistant
- Peggy Hobdy Board secretary, Retired IT specialist,Coca-Cola
- David Brice. Acting Treasurer of SDIA, President Hidden Hills Civic Asociation, retired Lt. Col. U.S. Army.
- Board member Ken Taylor, of the Eagle Ridge Neighborhood, did not attend but appeared in an informational video.
George, who first described SDIA’s vision in the Oct. edition of CrossRoadsNews, said the organization hopes to mobilize dissatisfied residents to achieve real and permanent improvement.
“The whole thing is to get the message out to concerned people that care about the community and have them join a strong team, that’s our aim. That’s what we want to accomplish.” said George.
Rice said the new group has studied and learned from past efforts in South DeKalb.
“If there’s one thing that you take away from here today please know that we are very, very determined to make a change in this community,” Rice told the crowd. “It’s been said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. We’re not going to do the same thing that’s been tried before.”
The SDIA is planning to attack the long-standing South DeKalb problems of blight, slack code enforcement, declining home values and lack of quality business development with a fresh approach.
Rice said the SDIA’s methods will differ from previous efforts in three ways.
First, the organization is borrowing a page from the customer research techniques of retail giant Walmart by dividing South DeKalb into zip-codes.
“And for each of the zip codes there is a person who is responsible for that area,” said Rice. “We call them “zip captains,” short for zip code captains. They’ll be the liaison between the SDIA and the people who live there and they’ll be responsible for reporting on the problems and needs of their areas.”
The second way the SDIA hopes to distinguish itself is by appointing “topic captains” who will monitor government activities for information about impending decisions of the Board of Commissioners and other agencies that will affect the community.
“By the time we find out about stuff it’s been done approved and it’s gonna happen whether we knew about it or not,” Rice said . “We’re not there either because they hold the meetings in the day when we’re working or because we’re trying to survive and we just can’t make all the meetings that people have out there”