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Fort McPherson Redevelopment

Fort McPherson, established in 1885, clearly predates Sylvan Hills; however, the future of the soon-to-be closed military installation and our neighborhood are very much intertwined. The Department of Defense’s base realignment and closure process determined in 2005 that Fort McPherson will close by September 15, 2011. The closure of this military installation now serving as the headquarters for the U.S. Army Forces Command and other important activities leaves almost 488 acres of land, roadways, historic buildings, recreational facilities, and other potential developmental infrastructure on the western edge of Sylvan Hills.

The McPherson Planning Local Redevelopment Authority was formed in December 2005 as a nonprofit corporation with the mission of planning the reuse and economic development of this valuable and beautiful real estate parcel. The redevelopment authority is tasked with identifying the redevelopment needs of local communities including southwest Atlanta and East Point and devising a comprehensive redevelopment plan to maximize the benefits to the impacted areas.

Public hearings, community meetings, and the comprehensive reuse plan have provided a preliminary vision of the possibilities for the future of Fort McPherson. Single and multi-family housing, medical facilities for veterans, an event space, educational facilities, an employment center and high density mixed use development are components of the vision for the Fort McPherson site, along with significant green space preservation to take advantage of the site’s natural beauty. The site’s proximity to two MARTA transit stations—Lakewood/Ft. McPherson at the southeast corner and the Oakland City station at the northeast corner—provide convenient access to downtown Atlanta and the airport. Future transit plans such as Atlanta’s Beltline project and the proposed Peachtree corridor streetcar will further enhance the site’s accessibility.

Clearly the Fort McPherson redevelopment project has the capacity to transform southwest Atlanta and Sylvan Hills is well poised to directly reap the benefits. The recently incorporated McPherson Action Community Coalition (MACC) is a nonprofit coalition in its organizing stages that will provide another avenue for community input on the Fort McPherson redevelopment. MACC hopes to shape the success of the redevelopment effort as the Northwest Community Alliance did with the Atlantic Station development. More detailed information about the past and future of Fort McPherson can be gathered at http://www.mcphersonredevelopment.com/.