As people file into a nondescript room on the third floor of a bureaucratic-looking building, they sign their names and addresses on a spreadsheet.
Then they take a seat on white folding chairs, the kind you might find at a picnic. As they wait, folks make small talk: about their vacations, their dogs, their work. The kind of friendly chatter that’s typical among neighbors.
Which this group of people is. They’re residents of Atlanta’s Summerhill neighborhood.
First on the docket: roll call. Each of the more than 40 people who have gathered on this Monday evening takes a turn saying their name, which block they reside on and how long they’ve lived in Summerhill.
One woman says she’s a 42-year veteran of the neighborhood, and some in the room let out “oohs” and “ahhs.” When the introductions reach a sharply dressed, young professional seated near the back, he introduces himself as Jack Murphy.
When Turner, who is the president of the neighborhood group, prompts him in a light-hearted tone, “You’ve been here … ?”
“I’ve been here five and a half years,” he replies.
But Murphy isn’t a resident of Summerhill. He’s a developer.
Murphy, and the two colleagues seated beside him, are here on behalf of Carter & Associates. It’s the development firm that, along with Georgia State University, is responsible for the change that is quickly unfolding just up the street from this meeting.
Click here to red the entire story, or listen to the story as it was told on WABE August 20, 2019.
By Courtney Kueppers at WABE