Oh and one more thing: considering the penal system budget woes that we have in this city/county/state, I'm certain that a ticket would be more than sufficient to punish a street musician. It costs $75-100 per day to keep someone in jail. The panhandling ordinance was supposed to be a solution to protect our local tourism and convention industries, which was ALLEGEDLY in jeopardy due to aggressive panhandling by vagrants.
When I visualize a vibrant, unique urban core, street music, locally commissioned public art, and street food are very much a part of my idea. A friend of mine moved here from Chicago, and she pointed out that Atlanta lacked culture in her opinion. I had to agree. And this is why. I NEVER in a million years imagined that the panhandling ordinance would be used in this manner. Have any of you been so blessed to hear the frail, humbly dressed woman sing opera gospel hymns outside of Peachtree Center MARTA entrance? She's amazing. I would walk that way at lunch just to hear her. She calls herself Pastor Pearl and she does solicit money for her amazing talent. Haven't seen her in a while. I guess I'll do some asking around today. Her regulars might have to bail her out!
The problem with revitalizing downtown, in my nonexpert opinion, lies in the lack of any real collective effort to attract residents to that area. The idea of building all of these grand amenities and THEN getting residents to the area is obsolete. No, I believe that there should be an effort to attract a defined mixture (by income) of residents to the downtown area. Yes you want higher income, moderate income entry level professionals, and low income (students included) to LIVE in the central downtown district. With a focus on creating a cohesive community including the existing corporate and university presence, the amenities that support such a unique community would happen. It would happen. Planning is necessary, yes. But we DO need to stop trying to replicate other cities and let it happen. The spirit of ATL is very unique and beautiful wherever we've been able to just let it happen.
Creative Loafing Atlanta
Powered by Foundation