OP-ED: Eastside Tax Allocation District
As a practicing real estate and finance attorney, I understand the value of Tax Allocation Districts (TADs) and the economic support they provide to our communities all across Atlanta. In fact, as a member of City Council I created four of the city’s ten TADs to spur revitalization in underdeveloped communities.
There is currently a debate at City Hall on whether to close the Eastside TAD. Some argue the TAD has run its course and is no longer needed. While I believe there should be a finite life span for TADs, now is not the time to end the Eastside TAD.
First, it is important to note that the name of the TAD is somewhat misleading. The “Eastside” TAD is not just the Old Fourth Ward east of Boulevard. It covers the Historic Auburn District to the west and the most of south Downtown. Without question, these areas still need strong economic revitalization, opportunity and partnership.
As such, I strongly support the continuation of the Eastside TAD so that we can fully achieve our goal to bring economic opportunity, affordable housing and job growth to the city’s epicenter. This area represents Atlanta’s heart and soul where Dr. King’s family lived and worshiped, businesses thrived on Auburn Avenue, banking and finance converged at Five Points and the seat of local and state government ushered in civic activity and investment.
We must continue to attract new residents and new businesses to our downtown core. The Eastside TAD will do exactly that.
I applaud Invest Atlanta for financing a record number of developments that will add a significant number of jobs and affordable housing units. Job growth is an indicator of strong economic investment on the part businesses, both large and small. Housing affordability is especially important for me because we must make Atlanta livable for young families that want to prosper in place and seniors who deserve to age gracefully in place.
In addition to business growth and new affordable housing, the Eastside TAD will help us improve our neighborhoods, streets, sidewalks, parks, public safety and will spur more commercial and residential development.
Finally, the Eastside TAD gives the City leverage to make certain that developers and others are including affordable housing as part of their projects. It is a much-needed tool to ensure that, as Atlanta continues to move forward, we will leave no one behind.