I understand that the taxpayers of Fulton County recently approved a continuation of a one-cent sales tax to fund a new capital program that focuses on the renewal of existing Fulton County school facilities and includes replacement of some of our oldest classrooms in the East Point and College Park areas. I also recognize that the new buildings will not only operate in a more cost effective manner, they also will provide children the latest in design and technology integration in our classrooms. I do NOT agree, however, that in order to implement this redevelopment effort, that land acquisition should be necessary. This is NOT how the bill was written nor intended when voted on.
Land acquisition will gravely impact homes on Stone Road and will equate to:
- Elderly people (most on a fixed income) will be displaced and do not have viable or affordable relocation options. One home owner has been in her home for over 45 years!
- Due to the current economic status, families will lose their homes to a market that will vastly under pay what they have put into them.
My recommendation is that Fulton County Schools work to find a solution that will NOT displace any home owners. It is my hope that the school be rebuilt either:
1) On the existing sites (on the land the school already owns and can be adapted to accommodate a multi-level design)
2) That considerations be make for the land at the end of Briarwood Drive – land that Fulton County currently owns AND was a site of a school.
With these options, no homeowners would have to be driven from their homes. As you should be aware, In 2004, 15 homeowners on the opposite side of the street on Stone Road were displaced as a result of Eminent Domain by proxy of rebuilding Woodland Hills Middle school. The remaining neighbors are now facing the same possibility and this is unacceptable. The homeowners that I am familiar with have taken great pride in their homes and are not interested in selling, being forced to sell or being displaced. I realize that you are still in the midst of your exploratory phase, but I also understand that the Board aims to have this effort underway in short order. As such, I wanted to ensure that you heard from the community and I URGE you to reject a proposal that would include any privately-held land acquisition.