The Buckhead Community Improvement District on Nov. 29 announced the members of a steering committee formed to advise an organization that would operate the proposed park over Ga. 400.
The steering committee has been launched to support and advise a nonprofit organization the CID is creating to manage the fundraising, operation and construction of the proposed park, which would cap Ga. 400 between Peachtree and Lenox roads, provide green space and bring a redesigned Buckhead MARTA station. The CID will have no formal position on the committee, Jim Durrett, the executive director of the CID, said at the Nov. 29 board meeting.
“We really want to take [the park] from the CID to the community,” Durrett said.
Nine community members have so far accepted the CID’s invitation to join the committee, including several CEOs of local companies and major corporations, the dean of Morehouse School of Medicine, and the former CEO of MARTA, Keith Parker.
They are: Parker, now the CEO of Goodwill of North Georgia; Paul Brown, CEO of Arby’s; David Cummings, CEO of Atlanta Tech Village; Raj Deshpande, CEO of Pulseworks, LLC; Lane Moore, managing partner at QuarterMoore and co-founder of Rubicon Global; Valeria Montgomery Rice, president and dean of Morehouse School of Medicine; Robert Sheft, CEO of Installation Made Easy, Inc.; Larry Smith, former general counsel of The Home Depot; and Carol Tomé, chief financial officer and executive vice president of corporate services at The Home Depot.
Jim Durrett, the executive director of the CID, said they are still looking for other prospective members. At least one person asked to join the group has declined. Sam Massell, the president of the Buckhead Coalition and a former Atlanta mayor, previously said he declined because he thinks the park is beyond the scope of what the CID is tasked to do.
The park concept was created by the CID and it has so far overseen the proposal, but the CID is now turning it over to the steering committee and the new organization. The full transition of power to the organization will be completed by the end of the year, Durrett said.
The CID has submitted paperwork to create the new organization that would operate the park if it is created, and it is working to have it designated as a nonprofit, Durrett said.
Two consultants are overseeing the creation the new organization, Dentons and Bruce Bowers of Baker Donelson. The consultants are being paid with outside funding, according to Durrett.
Some members of the steering committee could become members of the new organization once it is created, Durrett said.
Although it was previously considered, a CID staff member will not have a position on the steering committee, Durrett said. CID board Chairman David Allman, the owner of Regent Partners, said he would provide informal guidance and “stay engaged” with the committee, but would have no formal position on the committee.
Durrett will be involved with the possible funding the CID would contribute to the park. The funding amount has not been determined, he said.
“We really want to transition this away from the CID,” Durrett said.
A team of consultants that has been providing periodic phases of studies to the CID will present its last update at the board’s January meeting, Durrett said.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that incorrectly that the CID has hired the two consulting firms to create the organization. The firms are being paid using outside sources, not CID funds, Jim Durrett, the executive director of the Buckhead CID, said.