Sunday, October 30, 2011

Trick Or Treat! [Oct 31]

MANA-ical fun awaits...

This is but a sampling of what's out there. Be afraid, be veeery afraid.

See the flyer for details.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Laurel Ridge Elementary Fall Festival [Nov. 5]

Laurel Ridge Elementary's Fall Festival is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 5.
11am - 3pm
1215 Balsam Drive, Decatur GA 300033

This link has information as well as a registration form for vendors.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Firework alert (Diwali) [Oct 28]

A neighbor has alerted us that there will be fireworks at Patel Plaza on Friday night. These are part of the celebration of Diwali ("festival of lights").

Those with sound-sensitive pets may want to take note.

Transportation SPLOST meeting [Nov 14]

November 14, 2011  6:45 pm
North Decatur Presbyterian Church

This meeting will inform the community about the Transportation SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) to be voted on in July 2012.

Click to enlarge, or download the flyer (pdf format)
If you have questions,  please contact Rebecca Watts-Hull at

As usual, please refrain from parking across the street (Natural Buzz, Relish Salon) so as to not interfere with their client parking.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Clifton Corridor Transit Initiative

These are exciting times for our neighborhoods... In addition to recent Suburban Plaza news, we are also hearing about The Clifton Corridor Transit Initiative proposals to improve public transportation.

For more info on this initiative, see Facebook as well as the MARTA.

If you'd like to talk to representatives, you may attend their final meeting today:

Tuesday, October 25 · 5:30pm - 8:30pm

Silverbell Pavilion at Emory University Conference Center
1615 Clifton Road, NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30329

Suburban Plaza Development: Info Meeting [Nov. 2]

click to enlarge
One of the items discussed at our community meeting this week was the redevelopment of Suburban Plaza.

Because so many people stand to be affected, an information meeting has been set for November 2. This meeting is open to all. We expect representatives from Suburban Plaza, Walmart, and local government. We ask that folks refrain from parking in the lot across the street from the N. Decatur Presbyterian Church (i.e., Relish Salon, Natural Buzz, etc.) as this interferes with their business. Thank you in advance for being neighborly :)

MANA representatives (as well as other stakeholders in the area) have met with Suburban Plaza representatives. Here are the highlights of what we know so far:

- that the developer is very interested in working with the community: they want this project to be a success for everyone involved. They have requested and accepted feedback about the appearance of the site, also, about the community being extremely concerned about "look" of the site fitting into our neighborhood. They are aware that we are interested in a walkable intersection and in making the area around the Plaza safe for pedestrian, cyclists and drivers. They have shared this concept for the site:
Suburban concept: click to enlarge

- Selig (Suburban Plaza's owner) has ordered a traffic study (on its own dime). The intersection is problematic (as we all know!) and the county has expressed interest in improving it. But note that this intersection involves county and state roads, which complicates the process somewhat. MANA volunteers concerned about cut-through traffic and congestion were already conducting an online survey and if you are a MANA resident, we encourage you to fill that out as we ponder the future of the Medlock/Scott/N. Decatur Road intersection and traffic in our neighborhood.

- As you can see, the footprint would change. The Walmart would occupy the space (and much of the parking area) currently occupied by the thrift store and the discount mattress store. The Walmart would feature 500 underground parking spots; Walmart would pay for this. The store would boast 147,000 sq. ft. of space; approximately 40,000 sq. ft. would be dedicated to groceries. Because groceries are a big part of the plan, other groceries would be excluded from the Plaza in the foreseeable future. 

-  In addition to adding Walmart, Selig would also reface all other buildings in the plaza, for an updated and unified look.

- Selig has spent the last 6 years trying to develop Suburban Plaza. Other plans have not borne fruit. Trade Joe's was NOT interested in this site. Walmart has been the only vendor with the desire and funds necessary for this redevelopment.

- There is concern about some of the businesses already at Suburban Plaza and nearby. Will they be able to stay? How will Walmart's presence affect them? We do not have full information on this. Some stores have leases in place. Others are doing very poorly financially and are not paying rent but rather, a percentage of their profits. MANA representatives have voiced these community impact concerns and Walmart has responded positively. For example, the store would not feature a garden center (this was a concern for Ace Hardware fans) but will offer some hardware (not a big concern--we know that the shopping experience, advice and help offered by Ace Hardware staff is beyond comparison and will continue to bring costumers in). The Walmart would not feature an auto center. The developer is also interested in attracting "junior anchors" i.e., smaller stores. There is no information as to who these stores might be; MANA has argued for restaurant space and outdoor seating if possible, and also for smaller rental space to attract local businesses. Your feedback is welcome!

- {Edit to original post} Suburban Plaza is already zoned C2 which allows for big box stores. Selig will be requesting a variance for parking.  They plan to file this request in late November and could be approved before the end of the year.  The earliest this project would start would be spring of 2012.  Selig estimates that the contrstruction will take 18-24 months to complete.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact

MANA Community Meeting (Oct. 24) summary

We had a fantastic meeting last night, with a packed agenda.

The South Fork Conservancy presented its plan for a 31-mile trail connecting our area creeks.

We heard about DeKalb County's CERT program that trains citizens to safely respond to emergencies and disasters.

We also heard about the Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) and its project to replace aging pipelines in our neighborhood. This project replaces their transmission lines (the ones that move gas from one area to another), not our distribution lines (the ones that bring gas to our homes). Those living near affected areas have been contacted. As we get closer to the start of the actual project, AGL representatives have offered to visit us again to share information and answer questions. If the previous gas replacement projects (a few years back) left your curbside in an unsatisfactory state, contact and share your name and address and we'll relay that information to AGL.

We had an update from the Neighborhood Watch. To join the neighborhood watch e-list, email

The MANA treasurer reported on finances and membership. 104 individuals paid membership dues since last June (that is both new members and renewals)!

We had a reminder that Halloween is coming next week!

We had a brief discussion about Medlock School building. Nothing new to report--ICS and DCSS are ironing out the final details.

We elected new officers. Kathryn and Pat have stepped down and Sharon and Lynn have stepped in. A hearty thank you to Kathryn, Pat, and all the board members who give so much of their time and energy to keep our neighborhood wonderful.

We had a zoning report by Teresa, focusing on the redevelopment of Suburban Plaza.

Sharon reminded us that there are pros/cons to voting yes on the education SPLOST this coming November 8. And that MANA residents will vote at the North Decatur Presbyterian Church (but check your voter registration cards!). This is different from the transportation SPLOST coming up in the summer of 2012.

Friday, October 21, 2011

PATH update

Update: Oct. 24, from the Path Foundation website:
The last section of trail between Mason Mill Tennis Center and Medlock Park is installed. PATH crews are finishing up grading, landscaping and site amenities. You can use the trail on weekends and afer hours; be careful in areas where work is still in progress.
DeKalb County is planning a grand opening later this fall. Watch this post for details.
We are almost there: today (Oct. 21), the work crew is pouring the last segment of the path connecting to the Mason Mill park. Walker, joggers and cyclists be advised that in order to go that way, you will need to go all-terrain, along the just-poured sections, and it's pretty muddy and uneven.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

MANA Halloween 2011 [Oct. 31]

The MANA Halloween route began many years ago as a way for Trick-or-Treaters and their families to easily identify homes participating in this tradition. To serve those who felt disappointment that Trick-or-Treaters never visited their streets, or who were not on the route (i.e., to protect dear neighbors from the dangerous task of gobbling down pounds of unclaimed candy), the organizers decided to set up a trick-or-treat station at the elementary school. And so the MANA trick-or-treat route tradition was born, enhancing safety, neighborly interaction, and health for all.

This year, based on volunteer input, the route changed to include additional streets. The Medlock gathering has remained popular, offering adults and pets a chance to dress up in their spookiest best.

MANA also sponsors a neighborhood-wide home decorating contest. Judging will take place on the 30th, and winners will be announced on the 31st via Facebook and our e-newsletter. Make sure to include those homes in your fright maps!

Click here for trick-or-treating maps and Halloween home decor contest and Medlock bash information.

We would like to thank Adrianne, Carla, Ruby, and Kathryn for answering MANA's calls for volunteers, organizing the routes (3 this year!), and creating maps. If you would like to volunteer for next year's Halloween activities, or any other MANA activity, please email

Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve Harvest Festival [Oct 22]

Saturday, Oct. 22
4 - 8pm

The Annual Harvest Festival will include craft stations for kids, nature walks around the Preserve's volunteer-maintaned paths, live music, a campfire, and smores! Bring your own chairs and blankets.

A $5 donation is kindly recommended. This is also a perfect time to bring over any tools you'd like to donate, as the Preserve rebuilds its tool supply following the lightning strike that destroyed the shed.

A gentle reminder on... doggy poop

A MANA resident writes:
Hi - not sure if this is happening to anyone else in the neighborhood, but twice now I have had bags of dog poop left in my yard by the front curb. This last time, the person actually took pine straw to try and cover the TWO bags of poop they left in my yard. 
Although I don't have a dog, I love having dogs in the neighborhood and seeing neighbors out walking their dogs, but this is just disgusting. Maybe we could send a gentle reminder...
Ah, yes... with the many joys of dog ownership also comes the issue of responsibly disposing of an awesome amount of poop (hereafter referred to as "it").  Many dog owners struggle with the odoriferous paradox of grabbing a biodegradable object, wrapping it in plastic, walking with it for half a mile or more, and sending it to the landfill. But there are good reasons to do so, and many alternatives.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Suburban Plaza Update

At a county community council meeting earlier this week, Scott Selig, the owner of Suburban Plaza, presented to the neighborhood representatives a redevelopment plan. ...
See the CHCA site for a full update.

Coyote sighting @ Gaylemont

A neighbor reports
I was walking along Gaylemont Circle around 6:25am and saw two coyotes standing under the streetlamp. Seems to me one was darker and the other one lighter in color. They were facing my way and not moving when I noticed them. I slowed down and stomped my feet loudly and they turned into the small trail on the side of the school and disappeared into the woods.
Another reminder to all to keep small pets safely indoors. See this AJC article for more information on urban coyotes.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

PATH update

Tim at CHCA alerts us that
The cement sections are finished from the old stone bridge to the dirt road at the end of McConnell Drive.
Check the CHCA site for recent photos!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Electronics recycling [Oct 29]

In case you still have some old electronics sitting around after the yard sale, here's two ways to send them to a better place:

Keep DeKalb Beautiful's electronics recycling program has two year-round drop-off locations. Visit their website for details.

Items NOT accepted by DeKalb include: televisions, vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, washers, dryers, freezers, de-humidifiers or humidifiers, and gas-powered equipment
If you prefer a more festive "recycling day!" atmosphere, try the City of Decatur's Electronics Recyling Day on October 29. Decatur advises that
Almost anything with an electrical cord can be recycled at the event EXCEPT microwave ovens, furniture, light fixtures, household appliances, lamps, vacuum cleaners. ... We will recycle television sets for $10 exact change.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

DeKalb Co. Animal Services Task Force Survey

The DeKalb Co. Animal Services Task Force is reviewing its practices and seeking community input. Although they already held a meeting in August to announce preliminary findings, the survey is still open and they continue to collect feedback, so please visit their website and complete their brief survey.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Medlock Elementary update

The DeKalb County School System and the International Community Schools (ICS) are in talks over a lease that would bring ICS to our neighborhood. ICS is a chartered elementary school that offers an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program.

Per this report on the AJC

Nicole Knighton, the DeKalb district’s director of government relations and special projects, said after a letter of intent is signed, lease negotiations will begin to allow the International Community School to move into the old Medlock Elementary School facility.

The board will vote on the letter of intent next week and will vote to approve the lease in November.
MANA continues to monitor the situation and will post updates as information becomes available!

DeKalb Neighborhood Summit and Green Expo [Oct. 29]

Residents of DeKalb County, Neighborhood Organizations, Homewoner Associations, Businesses, Faith and Civic Groups

An exciting community gathering that brings together DeKalb neighborhoods to share ideas, participate in workshops, connect with resources, and engage with their government.
*Back by popular demand!! - DeKalb County Services Showcase

Saturday, October 29, 2011
9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Decatur High School Performing Arts and Sports Center
310 N. McDonough Street
Decatur, GA 30030

The summit is held in conjunction with the Green Commission's Green Expo, which features local green businesses demonstrating eco-friendly products and services. Attendance is free, but due to limited space, registration is encouraged.


MANA / CHCA yard sale = a great success

Kris (one of the yard sale organizers) writes:
It seems like the Yard Sale was again a big success, with the emphasis on "big". I don't think we expected this many participants. Another first this year was that Clairmont Heights, Tuxworth Springs condominimums, and the North Decatur Presbyterian Church were involved or interested and this allowed more dialog between MANA and those groups. In many areas, lots of neighbors were walking around from place to place. One area I saw where there were several participating homes near each other it seemed like those neighbors were meeting each other and talking.
I was able to to go to 16 homes that participated. Had hoped to go to more, but got in good conversations along the way. Introduced myself and asked how things had gone. (OK, yes, I also bought stuff.)...
The yards sale team is putting together a feedback form to hear how the yard sale went for sellers and neighbors. Look for that link here in the near future!

Trunk sale @ Medlock, early birds

More trunk sales @ North Decatur Presbyterian church
More loot!
Catfish mailbox, anyone? 
Get a bag... then fill 'er up.
Photos courtesy of Bev.
A hearty THANK YOU to our tireless organizers and all those who participated!