Adair Park 

Newcomers rediscover the charms of this southwest hood

Life is changing on the bungalow-lined streets of Adair Park. The rhythmic sound of hammers is replacing screeching police sirens. After years of exodus, young people are moving back into the neighborhood. The relocation to Adair Park is still a trickle, but even a trickle eventually fills a bucket. Perry Thornton and his wife Jackie are typical of the young professionals who have rediscovered the charms of Adair Park. Like many new residents, the Thorntons were encouraged to move to the Southwest Atlanta neighborhood through a program associated with their alma mater, Clark Atlanta University. At first they were a little skeptical about the move, but after seeing the beautiful bungalows, the idea grew on them. "We moved here and made a pledge to stay at least five years," says Perry, "but we will be staying a lot longer."

One of the reasons people have not been flooding into Adair Park is the lack of a high-quality neighborhood school. "We think a school will go a long way in redeveloping the community," says Perry. He is part of a group of neighborhood volunteers who are laying the groundwork for a charter school. So far the group has secured $8.5 million in private funding and hopes to open the school in Adair Park next year.

Along with the ambitious newcomers, Adair Park is populated with many lifelong residents. "This is a community where people don't give up their houses," explains life resident Jeannie Mills, "this is our home, so we stay."

Helping to foster the continued sense of community among old-timers and newcomers is the neighborhood's annual homecoming. Those who have moved away come back to visit friends and rekindle their ties to the neighborhood.

Much of what draws, and keeps people in the Adair Park community, is its beautiful older homes. Most homes were built in the early 1920s and range in size from modest to large. Neighbors also praise the wide curving streets -- 10 feet wider than streets in most intown neighborhoods -- and two beautiful parks. Residents of Adair Park believe, for the money, you can't find a better place to live.

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