Year of Boulevard brings positive change - CBS46 News

Year of Boulevard brings positive change

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The Year of Boulevard initiative spearheaded by Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall brought positive change.

It was sparked after CBS Atlanta reported on challenges along the thoroughfare, highlighting filthy living conditions, crime and the need for accountability.

The stretch covers the largest HUD housing area in Georgia, called Bedford Pines.

Hall reflects on the past year, and how an idea, brought change for an area known to be plagued by crime and haunted by its reputation.

"Surely for us the Year of Boulevard 2012 has been nothing but success. We met all of our benchmarks, and we delivered what we promised," Hall said.

Hall saw the initiative as a way to clean up and re invest in the area and the people living in the Section 8 HUD housing.

"We opened the new mini-precinct here, as well as a community resources center. We have doubled the number of summer camps from two to four. We've doubled the number of young people who are in those camps from 200 to 450," Hall said. 

He points to permanent trash cans on the street, which help keep Boulevard clean. The stretch of road runs through the heart of Atlanta from Ponce to Atlanta Medical Center. CBS Atlanta reported extensively on the issues plaguing the area.

"Thank you to you all at CBS Atlanta, because if it were not for your story to kind of tee us up and to get the ball rolling, you acted as a catalyst, unexpectedly so thank you. It was a blessing in disguise to us," Hall said.

Michael McGraw takes the Year of Boulevard to heart. Once a week, he picks up trash along the corridor.

"Just clean up the roads and the streets because it will bring people's morale up. If the streets are clean, it will make them feel better about where they live, so in turn, it brings peace and happiness," McGraw said.

People who live in the area notice a difference.

"All those things have made a big impact on the community as far as the kids being able to get about," Latayna Hood said.

"I believe the police presence has made a big difference in this area and they'll continue to clean up and they're making a positive change in this area," Bryant Marshall said.

Tiawania Davenport lives at Bedford Pines and said she still sees problems.  She thinks more needs to be done.

"Cut back on drugs and other crime. Every night you hear gunshots. Why? Because people don't have anything better to do with their lives," Davenport said.

Hall knows the change he ultimately wants to see doesn't happen overnight and he's committed to seeing it through.

"This is something we know will not be solved in just one year. It's going to take many years of work, but we're setting goals that we can achieve and working as a collective to do that," Hall said.

Hall will kick off what he calls Mo' Boulevard for 2013 on Jan. 10, with new initiatives and partnerships announced.

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