by Robin Kemp

UPDATE TUESDAY, 4/6 10:22 a.m.: The Forest Park URA changed its meeting date and time to Friday, April 9 at 10 a.m. The Clayton Crescent has asked the city what prompted the change to the published agenda and meeting schedule.

1:30 p.m.: City Clerk Sharee Stead said the meeting was rescheduled “so that the City attorney and financial advisor for the URA could have more time to review the bond documents.”

Good morning from the road, where we’re keeping an eye on big things happening this week! Redevelopment is the watchword of the week as both Forest Park and Jonesboro take on large projects. Jonesboro’s City Council is taking up a plan for a new City Center Mixed-Use District, which the city says will “facilitate creation of a vibrant zone, or hub, with an intelligent mix of quality commercial, institutional, and residential uses that, through thoughtful planning and quality design guidelines, will improve the viability of this strategic area of the City and complement the Jonesboro City Center. The residential component of this District will help development a more diverse range of quality housing to supplement the City’s aging housing stock.” Jonesboro broke ground on its City Center on the last day of the Georgia Assembly’s 2020-2021 session, naming the atrium for longtime Mayor Joy B. Day. Forest Park’s Urban Redevelopment Association is poised to approve over $42.1 million in bond financing for its own municipal center, which would combine a new City Hall, police, and fire station, a project that the previous URA refused to approve, resulting in its dissolution.

One day before the URA signs off on that bond issue will be the first Forest Park City Council meeting that is physically open to the public since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Citizens can attend in person but you must wear a mask and maintain social distancing, which could affect the number of people allowed inside council chambers. The Clayton Crescent has fought for the public’s right to attend those meetings in person and to ensure that teleconferences of those meetings are both visible and audible to the public. Other governing bodies’ meetings in Clayton County have remained open to the public under CDC guidelines. Forest Park reopened City Hall on April 1.

Here’s what your elected officials are doing this week:

MONDAY, APRIL 5

  • April 5-9 is Spring Break for Clayton County Public Schools.
  • 6 p.m.: The Forest Park City Council holds its work session, followed by the regular meeting at 7 p.m.–the first that will be open to the public since the COVID-19 emergency declaration over a year ago. Masks and social distancing are required. See the full agenda packet at https://bit.ly/31MFKbt. You also can watch the meeting online via Zoom at https://bit.ly/3dPKUt5 or call in by phone at (301) 715-8592. Enter the meeting ID 812-4453-2106 and passcode 083434 when prompted. You also can watch livestreamed and previously-recorded City Council meetings at https://bit.ly/3c28p0A, the City of Forest Park’s YouTube Channel (subscribe for notifications). Get your public comments in by 4 p.m. at https://bit.ly/2PXZbLE.
  • 6 p.m.: The Jonesboro City Council holds its work session. See the full agenda packet at https://bit.ly/3umowOh or the clickable agenda at https://bit.ly/3dFivG1. Watch the meeting online via Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/2148237355 or call (929) 205-6099 and enter the meeting ID 214-823-7355 when prompted.
  • 6:30 p.m. The Clayton County Zoning Advisory Group holds its meeting Monday evening. Register in advance at https://bit.ly/3wv9Dva for instructions on how to join the meeting.

TUESDAY, APRIL 6

  • 10 a.m. The Forest Park Urban Redevelopment Authority is holding a special called meeting to approve bond financing for its proposed Urban Redevelopment Plan, to include a large chunk of downtown and Starr Park. The project will create a “City Center” with a new City Hall, fire and police headquarters, and a fire station, as well as streetscape improvements on Main Street, the Model Mile multimodal trail from Starr Park to the State Farmers Market, Starr Park renovations, and new early-warning sirens.
  • 6:30 p.m.: The Clayton County Board of Commissioners holds its regular meeting. See the companion story for details of this meeting. Read the agenda packet at https://bit.ly/3wwry4q.

THURSDAY, APRIL 8

  • 4 p.m.: The Forest Park City Council will hold a special called meeting to discuss an intergovernmental agreement and related documents for financing capital improvements, as well as an executive session.

FRIDAY, APRIL 9

  • The Forest Park URA changed its previously-scheduled special called meeting from Tuesday, April 6 to Friday, April 9. According to City Clerk Sharee Stead, “The URA meeting was moved to Friday so that the City attorney and financial advisor for the URA could have more time to review the bond documents.” The special called meeting is to approve bond financing for its proposed Urban Redevelopment Plan, to include a large chunk of downtown and Starr Park. The project will create a “City Center” with a new City Hall, fire and police headquarters, and a fire station, as well as streetscape improvements on Main Street, the Model Mile multimodal trail from Starr Park to the State Farmers Market, Starr Park renovations, and new early-warning sirens. The meeting is being held by teleconference only at https://bit.ly/3sTNvII on Zoom and (312) 626-6799 by phone. The meeting ID is 9472-839-9462 and the passcode is 599229. You can read the agenda packets here:

Old Agenda Packet

New Agenda Packet

SATURDAY, APRIL 10

  • 9 a.m.: Commissioner Sonna Singleton Gregory holds her monthly Second Saturday meeting via Zoom for constituents in District 1. Register in advance at https://bit.ly/2R9tNus for details on how to join.
  • 11 a.m.: District 4 holds its monthly Community Town Hall Meeting. Register in advance at https://bit.ly/3dB6Wzt for details on how to join.

Throughout the month of April, the Clayton County Humane Society is hosting a fundraiser called “Match Game 2021.” Every dollar CCHS receives up to $10,000 will be matched “by a very generous anonymous sponsor”–meaning that, if CCHS raises $10,000, it will get $20,000. (It costs about $16,000 per month to care for the animals.) Visit claytoncountyhumane.org to donate.

Also, starting Monday, April 5 and running through December 31, the Clayton County Library System and Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department are teaming up for a Walk and Read program. The idea is get young children into reading, exploring nature, and getting physically fit by looking for posted storybook pages on select walking trails. Look for them at Reynolds Nature Preserve in Morrow, Jester’s Creek Trail in Jonesboro, Clayton County International Park in Jonesboro, and Gerald Matthews Park in Lovejoy.

As always, if you see an important city or county event that we’ve missed, let us know and we’ll add it!