Proposed City of Vista Grove moves into next phase

We have some very good news to share - We have moved into the next phase of our efforts to plan for our community’s future.

Georgia House Representative Tom Taylor has introduced a bill that will allow citizens to vote on the creation of a City of Vista Grove.

The Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia recently completed a feasibility study for the proposed city which determined that a City of Vista Grove could operate with an estimated $10-million budget surplus while offering a range of services, including police, planning and zoning, parks and roads.

“If we’re going to meet the challenges of tomorrow in our North DeKalb community, we need the ability to innovate, to plan locally and long-term, and to implement those plans,” says Andrew Flake, one of Vista Grove Initiative’s founding members. “Safe intersections, beautiful and walkable streets, and a vibrant mix of businesses do not happen by accident. We believe a city would give our community the ability to create a smart, comprehensive plan and organize the citizen energy and local resources to support it.”

The proposed city would include interested neighborhoods along North Druid Hills and northward to Gwinnett and is bordered by Brookhaven, Chamblee, Doraville, and Tucker, though its boundaries could be changed by the legislature. The proposed City of Vista Grove map was created with community input, including several community meetings held throughout 2017 and earlier this year.

Under Georgia legislative rules, the citizens of Vista Grove could vote on incorporation in 2019.

We will continue to hold community meetings and neighborhood listening sessions throughout this year to review and discuss services that could be provided by a City of Vista Grove to help prepare our area for the future.

Visit vistagrove.org for more info, including maps, the bill and the feasibility study.

What can you do to help with the next phase of our efforts? 

  • Please donate to help us fund our feasibility study.
  • Encourage your neighbors to sign our petition to let legislators know we want the option to consider cityhood.
  • Volunteer with the Vista Grove Initiative.

Sincerely,

Lara, Andrew, Meg, John, Megan, Simone, and Peter


Designing Our Future

Planning a Better Future for Vista Grove

If we are to meet the challenges of tomorrow in our North DeKalb community, we need the ability to innovate, to plan locally and long-term, and to implement those plans. Safe intersections, beautiful and walkable/bikable streetscapes, an expanding network of parks, greenspace and trails, and a vibrant and lively mix of uses in our commercial areas do not happen by accident. These good things happen when a community has a smart, comprehensive plan, and the citizen energy and dedicated local resources to support it.

In Brookhaven, Tucker, and Chamblee, citizens have provided input to their city governments that is reflected in very specific and comprehensive 20-year plans. Those plans are coupled with budgets and action plans to accomplish those long-term goals —funding additional sidewalks, acquiring additional parks and improving and adapting existing ones, and making public spaces safe, beautiful and vibrant.

Our area (and the proposed City of Vista Grove) is ready for that kind of vision and dedicated long-term planning. We understand that the wonderful aspects of our community require our volunteer efforts and engagement, and require sustained attention. Doing nothing, and simply allowing ad hoc uses, does not work. For instance, visitors to certain portions of the Clairmont Road area just off I-85 near Briarcliff see cracked asphalt lots, shuttered businesses and junked cars instead of the sidewalks, trees, restaurants, and stores that such a key corridor should support.

Similar unrealized potential is replicated across our footprint. Sustainable and smart development for Vista Grove will require dedicated, locally-specific planning — a civic platform that will help us implement our own 20-year plan and vision in the way that Chamblee, Tucker, and Brookhaven are showing us can be done very effectively.

We are a vibrant community, and we need a built environment and infrastructure that reflects that. While physical blight and neglect can creep in over years, change and revitalization can happen quickly. But change requires a smart plan that is tied to an overall vision for Vista Grove as a progressive, smart, and sustainable community inside of the metro region. The time to begin in earnest is now.

How would you like to see Vista Grove connected and transformed? What improvements to parks, trails, road, sidewalks, and public spaces are important to you? Let us know at info@vistagrove.org. With your help, we can start planning a better future for our community.

Sincerely,

Andrew, Meg, Lara, John, Megan, Simone, and Peter

If you share our vision for a cohesive community, here’s how you can help:

  • Please donate to help us fund our feasibility study (underway right now).
  • Please contact your elected representatives and let them know you want to preserve the opportunity to vote on a City of Vista Grove.
  • Encourage your neighbors to sign our petition to let legislators know we want the option to consider cityhood.

Legislative Track - Moving Forward!

Legislative Track Moving Forward — Continue to Call and E-mail Legislators

Thank you for your continued interest in improving our amazing community. With your help, we can move forward with the next steps of our effort: the release of a feasibility study and the introduction of a bill in the General Assembly to permit citizens to vote on making Vista Grove a city.

The bill will be comprised of the city charter and a map, developed logically with your support and community input. The map will generally track the boundaries you see on our website, with some variation because the legislature builds maps with a special format (combining individual census blocks, which does not permit the fine-grained precision of a block-by-block parcel map).

We expect to have a completed feasibility study available in under two weeks. Based on what we know about the strong tax base in our region, we anticipate that the analysis will confirm that a City of Vista Grove is not only feasible but economically strong and able to support a range of services. We want our local legislators to know that, and to support and co-sponsor the bill.

In the meantime, it is very important that our legislators continue to hear your support through e-mails and calls. Those contacts make a difference, and we have seen that in response to your actions already this past week. Please continue to call and e-mail, and make sure you tell your friends and neighbors that, if they share our vision of a vibrant and connected Vista Grove, they should call and e-mail too.

Our legislators want to hear from you so that they have a clear sense of community support. Please tell them how important it is to you that we stay connected as citizens, have a voice for our community at a regional level, and have a civic platform to accelerate the improvement of our infrastructure (including beautiful streets, sidewalk, and bike trails). Take a moment now to call and e-mail if you have not already done so.

Aside from contacting your legislators, here’s how else you can help:

  • Please donate to help us fund our feasibility study.
  • Encourage your neighbors to sign our petitionto let legislators know we want the option to consider cityhood.
  • Volunteer with the Vista Grove Initiative.

What are the next steps? With a bill introduced this year, the legislature’s rules pertaining to city creation provide for a default two-year process. That would mean that a vote by the citizens of Vista Grove would occur in 2019. Also, with your support and participation, we will continue the community meetings and neighborhood listening sessions that have been so helpful. Reviewing and discussing the services that might be provided by a City of Vista Grove will help prepare our area for the future. If you would like someone from Vista Grove to visit your neighborhood or civic association, please let us know. We would love to visit, meet you, and discuss the Vista Grove vision.


We live in Vista Grove!

Research and our own experience tells us that being part of a cohesive community makes us happier and improves our quality of life. Part of that cohesion comes from having a civic identity, from being citizens of Vista Grove.

Defining the place itself is certainly part of that. We share a community built around shared school, church, and recreational activities but can’t easily answer the question, “Where do you live?”

Rather than mentioning a street, intersection, or vague geographic descriptor (“North Decatur area, near Mercer, around Lavista,” etc.), we know from friends in neighboring cities about the pride and sense of belonging that can come from having a defined name.

“We live in Vista Grove!” — and with that, we evoke the social trust associated with a community that is connected.

A connected Vista Grove ensures that we know each other, that we have places to get out and enjoy this community, and that we strengthen our relationships and opportunities for family and economic development for years to come.

If you share our vision for a cohesive community, here’s how you can help:

  • Please donate to help us fund our feasibility study (underway right now).
  • Please contact your elected representatives and let them know you want to preserve the opportunity to vote on a City of Vista Grove.
  • Encourage your neighbors to sign our petition to let legislators know we want the option to consider cityhood.

With your help, we can create a brighter future for Vista Grove.

Sincerely,

Lara, Andrew, Meg, Megan and Peter


Happy New Year Vista Grove!

Hello Vista Grove Friends! We hope your holiday season has been a joyous and meaningful one. At our December 21 town hall meeting in Embry Hills, we had a terrific group of friends and community members come together, sharing their ideas, hopes, and vision for the future. And as a means of furthering this vision — of connecting our community and energizing citizen participation — we’ve continued to receive very positive support for a potential City of Vista Grove. Here is a short distillation of thoughts on the topic, based on feedback we’ve received to date.

 

 

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Hello Vista Grove friends and happy summer! With your help, we've continued to be very busy since our last round of town hall meetings and gatherings listening -- listening to your stories about what the Vista Grove area means to you; listening to the kinds of community services you'd like to see improved local government offer; and listening to your ideas about how we work together to keep this incredible community safe and strong now, and for many years to come. Here's what's next...

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