Archive for the ‘norcross’ Category

I was a bit melancholy when a local BBQ joint had a massive fire back in mid-January 2013. Dreamland promises a return to our area this spring.

Image

In reality it’s a pile of lumber, bricks, metal and glass. Put together, these materials make up a building. That very building quickly becomes a fixture to a community. It couldn’t be truer than the old Dreamland BBQ building on Peachtree Parkway. The structure has always been part of the landscape as far back as I can remember over my near 24 years in the area. It wasn’t always Dreamland, but that building was as visually dependable as the nearby businesses, roads and sidewalks to Peachtree Corners. On some subconscious level, there is a thought that a building will always be there in the community as if it were a permanent part of the landscape. It’s somehow taken for granted that the structure is as common as the sky and sun, but of course, we know better. Either Mother Nature’s wrath or human error may demolish the structure at some point. I suppose that’s what insurance is there for at the end of the day, right?

Within recent days, the Dreamland building quickly came down. A chain link fence surrounds the new construction site displaying signs promising its quick return, but in the meantime, one may call in a catering order. Parts of the structure have been salvaged including its barbecue pit. Sure, memories were made in that location and in some respects that is tragic. But one must remember that memories were made in more notorious structures such as New York’s Yankee Stadium, which years ago, seemed unthinkable to demolish.

What’s more disconcerting about the Dreamland building’s demise is that it disrupted many lives since the mid-January fire. Hopefully, all of those who worked so hard in that location for years have been able to find solid, consistent work since the fire – and hopefully they will return when the restaurant is up and running.

Like all rebuilt structures, the new Dreamland building will no doubt be an improvement over the old retrofitted structure which housed other businesses through the years. It’s encouraging to see that the company remains committed to Peachtree Corners in what is honestly a great location.

With an improved Dreamland, new development across from The Forum and hopefully some new businesses in the building which houses Office Max, this area will be in a win-win situation very soon.

Image

March 1, 2013

March 1, 2013

March 2, 2013

March 2, 2013

Welcome to Peachtree Corners. Our community is in unincorporated Norcross, about 20 miles north of downtown Atlanta. Perhaps we are a community very much like yours.

The name “Peachtree Corners” evokes such a clean suburban image. That is why I and scores of other people moved here over the past decade. We are ensconced in what is left of the lower reaches of the Chattahoochee National Forest. Our neighborhood is festooned with tall pine trees and features a gorgeous Methodist retreat known as Simpsonwood, where two dozen deer roam the tranquil landscape and redheaded woodpeckers tap away heartily on whatever their little beaks can find.

In our corner of the world, we have a lot of churches, a YMCA and an elementary and middle school.

As the school day recently came to a close, I noticed something disturbing: a flurry of automobiles idling in front of the schools during the pickup and drop-off periods of the day.

I had a conversation with one of my neighbors over this issue that instigated a rant: “I cannot believe the number of Ford Excursions and Chevy Suburbans that are sitting there each morning releasing toxins into the air!” my neighbor exclaimed. Then he quickly apologized for “getting on his soapbox.”

I was quick to point out that soccer moms are only a small part of our metro air pollution problem. For now, I said, “Let’s forget about the environmental argument over idling automobiles.” We will leave that up to the metro Atlanta politicians. What I see fewer of in our neighborhood are children riding their bikes or walking to school.

We are only minutes from the elementary and middle schools, and how do the students get from point A to point B? Suburbia’s morning cavalry call includes parents who pack the kids into their mini-vans, sport-utility vehicles, station wagons and pickup trucks and pound the tired pavement with a regular drumbeat under the quiet pines.

At pickup and drop-off times, the schools resemble a war zone or media convergence. Enter at your own risk.

But who can blame the kids? It is almost impossible for many of them to walk or ride their bikes to school. Like most suburban areas, we do not have consistent sidewalks. Could these same children share the road and walk or ride with the traffic? Forget it. The posted speed limit is 25 mph, but it is well-ignored.

The result? Children are increasingly out of shape. Quick-fix metro area lifestyles offer very few incentives for kids to exercise each day.

It is a shame we have constructed the metro area as a one-person commuting town with inaccessible shopping strips and malls, fast-food joints and so-called main roads which are highways with few or no sidewalks.

School administrators and families should discuss this issue and come up with creative ways to limit drop-off zones in front of schools. Teachers can possibly reward their students who either bike or walk to school.

Instead of demonizing developers, let’s encourage governments to offer incentives to them in the form of tax credits to build sidewalks and bike paths in and around the areas where they build.

We must find a way to make our neighborhoods real communities again and get more kids moving.