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Best effort to boost a community: Year of Boulevard

Staff Pick

For decades, the four-lane stretch of Boulevard between Ponce de Leon Avenue and Freedom Parkway has been synonymous with poverty and crime. Home to the highest concentration of Section 8 housing in the Southeast, the single-name street and its residents have missed out on the prosperity that's popped up in neighboring communities. Rather than holding a ho-hum trash pick-up and letting the problems fester, this past January, Councilman Kwanza Hall and community members proclaimed 2012 the "Year of Boulevard." With the help of the city, neighbors, and local businesses, Boulevard welcomed a new police precinct and community events featuring health and social services, plus internships for young residents. TedX Atlanta, a forum for "ideas worth spreading," donated $50,000 to send area kids to summer camps. Think of it, as CL columnist Scott Henry did, as "urban renewal without the bulldozers" - with the community as a catalyst. The year's not over and fingers remain crossed that the owners of Bedford-Pines, one of the Section 8 complexes, might consider redeveloping the property.

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