There has been a collective sigh of relief now that Morris Brown College is on a stable road to recovery. Next month we will learn when the college will regain its accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The restoration of accreditation for the college is a vital step in turning the school around and bringing back the thousands of students that once swarmed the campus. Morris Brown needed only to ensure its' financial future was secure and that the college would resolve any outstanding debt in a responsible way in order for it to receive accreditation and the host of federal funds that come with it. The step to reorganize and restructure the debt and avoid foreclosure is a major step in the right direction.
So now what? Major upgrades and restorations on Gaines Hall and Fountain Hall will be needed before either building can be occupied. But these will be done and restored to the glory they once knew; fresh and alive with the noise and life that students bring. But the changes to the campus are just the beginning for Vine City and the surrounding communities.
By the end of this year, an announcement will be made on the future home of the Atlanta Falcons. A new, potentially $1 billion stadium with a retractable roof could sit squarely on the corners of Northside Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. There is growing support to build the new stadium at that location and once the stadium is complete, you can start printing the 2017 Super Bowl LI (51) in Atlanta T-Shirts.
Connected to the stadium deal are rumors of a new Falcons training camp site, utilizing the stadium on the Morris Brown campus. But those rumors would not, no could not be entertained if something bigger were not in the works; something I mentioned in my last blog.
Big change is coming to Vine City, the Historic West End and to all the surrounding communities. As far south as Lakewood, home to Tyler Perry Studios (http://tylerperry.com/studio/), over to Fort McPherson, home to the new Georgia Science and Technology Park (http://www.mcphersonredevelopment.com/index.aspx), through the communities that will find new life because of the Atlanta Beltline Project (http://beltline.org/), Change is coming and it is rushing upon us much faster than you might wish to believe.
As the cities and communities on the north side of Atlanta begin to pull away and form their own cities, they take away from the tax pool of Fulton County and the City of Atlanta. In order to replenish those funds, growth NEEDS to occur in areas with enormous potential. With depressed property values, easy access to major highways and downtown, not to mention the GWCC, the Dome, the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, CNN Center, even Atlantic Station, Vine City is the glass slipper that fits perfectly into a city planners' dream.
All along MLK Jr. Drive, from downtown to Westview Cemetery and beyond, change will occur. Mosley Park, Ashview Heights, Washington Park, Pittsburg, Adair Park and all points surrounding will become the "new, chic place to live", as the homeowners become younger and younger and less and less black. Unless we learn how to profit from it, others will only profit from us.
The future of our community is upon us. Things will only change at a faster pace from this point on. We need to embrace it now, prepare for it, understand how it will impact us and learn to profit from the progress so we aren't left alone while everyone else finds a way to earn money from the progress. What happens from this day forward is a direct result of the effort you put into making something happen for you! This is not the time to turn a blind eye to progress. If you find yourself alone and left behind it will not be because you did not know. I'm telling you three years in advance. If you find yourself alone and left behind, it will only be because you chose to let it happen.
Be a part of a rich, thriving community. Get involved, stay involved and make something happen.