Wow Lourdes! You're playing the race card, the God is on our side card, the hundred years card. I am not a yuppie, I am an African American woman and I moved to Old 4th Ward in around 2005, so I'm not an old-timer. It is mean-spirited of you to put your parking needs above the quality of life for people who have made their biggest investment in the blighted neighborhood surrounding your church, and how long they have lived there should have nothing to do with it. Now that the presence of fussy new neighbors has made the area a little safer, cleaner, and more attractive, with little legwork from the Lourdes' adminstration or parishioners, you want to talk about your history in the neighborhood. Whatever the outcome of all this, you have not used the situation to create a good name for yourselves. My family attends Saint Anthony's across town, and the church manages to get along with the neighbors and find places to park their cars, without name-calling (yuppie, newcomer, haughty, etc.) and bad blood. Shame shame shame on you. Examine your conscience...
Lourdes parishioners: NOBODY WANTS A HUGE PARKING LOT ACROSS THE STREET FROM THEIR PRECIOUS HOME - PERIOD!!! There has GOT to be a better solution, so please call on all of your creative juices to come up with an equitable solution. Nobody needs their property value to go any lower, especially the condo owners who live across the street from this site. I'm pretty sure that a parking lot across the street from a residential property can only lower property value. Why not build the sanctuary on a section of the large lot and do something else more neighborhood friendly with the rest? Why the battle? I no longer live in the area, but all though many of the other churches in the area had regular representation at the neighborhood meetings, I don't recall Lourdes being one of them. Why show up now in a contentious battle, rather than sow the seeds of goodwill and possibly increase membership?
The land in question is across the street from one of a few well-maintained residential developments in Old 4th Ward south of Edgewood Avenue on Daniel Street. Daniel Street has so many vacant lots (not least of all is the infamous overgrown weed-choked vacant lot where a woman lost her life during a long-overdue and poorly executed demolition resulting from an in-rem lawsuit) that residents were once told by APD that there were not even enough occupied properties there to introduce an official Neighborhood Watch program. Residents want to see the construction of nice new properties on that site to take the place of the dilapidated properties that have been torn down. People who have moved to Daniel Street in the last decade or so were lured there by promises of improvements that would result from the construction of the Beltline: Mixed-use properties, pedestrian-friendly destinations, etc. A massive asphalt-covered parking lot that concentrates heat, noise, and exhaust fumes all in one place has never been on the wish-list of any neighborhood stakeholder (other than the administration of the Church, apparently). If the majority of Our Lady of Lourdes' parishioners are actually members of the neighborhood, why do they need so much parking lot? Sundays bring dozens, maybe hundreds of people from all over Metro Atlanta and beyond, judging from the license plates, and when services are over they go back to their neighborhoods, which probably don't have parking lots sitting in the middle of them. I think Lourdes should think about building up on its existing lot instead of spreading out (sprawl), or as Councilman Hall has suggested, create parking partnerships with existing businesses. That would be the progressive thing to do.
Creative Loafing Atlanta
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