Clarkston paves roads and makes Juneteenth plans

Clarkston Mayor Beverly Burks, second from left, dances with members of Manga African Dance during the city of Clarkston Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 26, 2021. File photo by Dean Hesse.

This story has been updated.

Clarkston, GA — The Clarkston City Council discussed road improvement projects and allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds among other city business at its regular meeting May 3.

Council member Debra Johnson reported that Clarkston is well into preparing for its annual Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 18. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Market Street in downtown Clarkston.

The council discussed the possibility of going back to in-person meetings with an option for community members to attend via Zoom, but ultimately voted against it.

Georgia law only allows public meetings to be conducted virtually during a state of emergency, but municipalities or other jurisdictions may declare a state of emergency whether the Federal or state government has done so. During discussion, Council member Laura Hopkins stated that local COVID-19 cases have risen 5% in the last week.

The council approved some changes to road projects funded with special purpose local option sales tax money, like Rowland Street road projects, along with new sidewalk and paving projects through the Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant.  Paving of Vaughn Street and Clarkston Industrial will include driveways, and the one-way flow of traffic from Norman Road to Market Street will be reversed. Additionally, chicanes will be removed, and speed tables installed at Rogers Street.

Eyasu said that he felt it was confusing to add items to SPLOST projects that were actually funded from other sources.

“I think that in the future, rather than adding things onto SPLOST projects, we should create a new project and approve the funding for that,” said Eyasu.

The city approved several allocations of American Rescue Plan Act funds:

– $100,000 will be used for a city resident home repair and weatherization program.

– $39,193 will go to the Veterans and Community Outreach Foundation for veteran assistance programs.

– $42,000 will go to the Amani Women’s Center to provide COVID-19 emergency assistance navigation services.

A request for three staff positions to administer ARPA grants that have already been allocated was approved.

In other news, the council rejected a conditional use permit for a place of assembly at the property located at 4320 East Ponce de Leon Ave. It was requested by Robert Allen Chambers D/B/A All Nations Society of Atlanta. Discussion revolved around possible unforeseen future consequences. Hopkins expressed opposition because conditional use permits stay with the land indefinitely, while All Nations Society has a two-year lease.

“This is beyond ‘til death do us part’ in terms of a commitment from the city,” said Hopkins.

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