The Buckhead community continues to “progress and prosper” as evidenced by a number of key developments over the past year, the prominent head of a civic organization and the unofficial mayor of Buckhead said Thursday.
Sam Massell, a former mayor of Atlanta and the founding president of the Buckhead Coalition, told the Buckhead Business Association (BBA) “there’s a great deal to be proud about in Buckhead.” Massell, 87, served as Atlanta’s mayor from 1970 to 1974, the 53rd mayor in the city’s history.
“Step by step, area by area, idea by idea, Buckhead continues to progress and prosper,” Massell told the audience. “It’s a very healthy community of which you can all be very proud. I love this community, and I challenge you to see the value in it day in and day out and remind you that you are ex officio caretakers. This community is successful because of people just like you.”
Some of the highlights from the past year Massell mentioned during his remarks include:
- Last year’s removal of the toll on Ga. 400, a 50-cent toll that had been in place since the highway’s extension opened. “It’s a big improvement now that you don’t have to pay to come into Buckhead,” Massell said.
- The opening of new ramps connecting Ga. 400 south with Interstate 85 north and Interstate 85 south with Ga. 400 north. “Either way, it not only improves the flow of traffic and decreases pollution and accidents, but it also reduces the congestion on the surface streets,” Massell said.
- The World Trade Center Atlanta relocated to Buckhead. The Center was previously in Downtown Atlanta for 32 years, Massell said.
- The first phase of PATH400 Greenway trail opened. The trail connects parks, schools and neighborhoods to Buckhead’s urban core and will eventually link with the Atlanta BeltLine.
- The Buckhead Coalition’s effort to provide trauma kits to Atlanta Police Department officers. The Coalition has distributed more than 500 kits, which will help officers injured in the line of duty.
- The opening of Buckhead Atlanta, which revitalized a roughly eight-acre plot of land along Peachtree Road in the heart of Buckhead into an upscale shopping and dining destination.
Massell was tapped in 1988 by a dozen business leaders to start the Buckhead Coalition, an invite-only civic organization comprised of local CEOs.
As mayor, Massell is credited with establishing many of the icons and assets that helped Atlanta grow into the city it is today, from the Omni Coliseum to Woodruff Park to the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) to Buckhead’s Charlie Loudermilk Park. He is also credited with opening City Hall opportunities to minorities.