Anne Wainscott-Sargent, Strategic Storyteller with nearly two decades of experience as a professional interviewer & writer, just published a helpful book about livable communities in Atlanta called Moving to Atlanta: The Un-Tourist Guide available now! I am proud to say that Oakland City is featured with the following excerpt. I am excited to see our neighborhood get some press!
Check out the Moving to Atlanta website HERE
Join the Moving to Atlanta Facebook page HERE
Intown Southwest – Oakland City, Ft. McPherson, Adair Park and Sylvan Hills
Many expect the next Atlanta area to see dramatic growth and development is in the historic neighborhoods around Ft. McPherson, site of the new Tyler Perry Studios. The main communities include Oakland City (including Murphy’s Crossing), Adair Park and Sylvan Hills. Adair Park already has seen a lot of real estate activity, as has Murphy’s Crossing, with its proximity to the Atlanta Beltline.
“Murphy’s Crossing is already being inhabited by artists – that’s a sign that things are changing there,” said Bill de St. Aubin, CEO of Sizemore Group, the architectural planning firm that is reimagining how to redevelop 147 acres in Ft. McPherson retained by the city. Sizemore Group projects that eighty new homes in the area will be occupied for renovation or adaptive reuse in the next five years. As for the area around Ft. McPherson, plans are in the works to build a community theatre that will be owned by Perry but will be open for public use, too.
“We believe, Ft. McPherson will become a combination of retail, townhomes and apartments and it will have a little historic district, too. The project has the potential to be a movie town, and have places that show up in Tyler Perry’s movies similar to how the BlueBird Café is now a recognized place in Nashville,” said de St. Aubin of an existing venue made more famous as a key location in the ABC drama “Nashville.”
Nearby Oakland City already has a Hollywood claim to fame – the house of grandma Medea, who Perry plays in several of his movies. Oakland City has two other assets – it is right on the Atlanta Beltline and has a MARTA station, de St. Aubin said. Already developers are submitting proposals to redevelop part of the Oakland City MARTA station parking lot into condos and a mixed use development.
Amy Johnson, a registered storyteller and 25-year resident of Oakland City, expressed excitement for the coming of the studios and what it will mean for her neighbors.
“The energy around all the potential development is really important for us right now. We’re feeling it, loving it and doing what we can to support it,” she said.
Historically, Oakland City was its own city from 1894 until 1910 when it was annexed by the city of Atlanta. The community of 1,400 homes is located a mile north of the former base. Johnson volunteers at the local elementary school and chairs the Friends of Rev. James Orange Park. The park recently received $2.5 million in city funding for a new playground and neighborhood pool. This past summer Johnson brought the Mayor’s Summer Reading Program to the community, with twenty-five children participating in a reading program that featured two storytellers who helped the children develop their own stories about African-American heroes.
Eight neighborhoods have come together under the name, Intown Southwest, and are working together to give tours to potential investors and show support to existing businesses, Johnson said, adding that Atlanta Technical College in Sylvan Hills is looking to bring in a technical program tied to the film industry.
“Those 147 acres hold a lot of promise and we are not ignoring that,” she said.
To keep abreast of happenings in the community, check out resident Veronica Squires’ frequently updated blog, Life in Oakland City, at: https://lifeinoaklandcity.wordpress.com/.