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This is Not Your Father's Federation of Neighborhoods

The Federation of Neighborhoods wants every neighborhood in Athens to be involved, and they'll help you.

A rapt audience listens to Herb Gilmore.
A rapt audience listens to Herb Gilmore.
The new, improved, jazzed up and buffed Federation of Neighborhoods took stage front and center on Monday night. It's a new year, so the county-wide group has opted for a new logo, a new meeting place--Cine--and a new group of folks in charge.

Monday, they hosted candidates running to be mayor or a county commission member, along with close to 100 community members in a kind of free-for-all-what's-your-beef session.

The candidates were Mayor Nancy Denson and challenger Tim Denson; three from District 3--Herb Gilmore, Melissa Link and Rachel Watkins; and district 5 incumbent Jared Bailey and challenger and longtime district 5 resident Dave Hudgens; and lone (so far) district 7 candidate Diane Bell. Also present were school board members Carol Williams and Ovita Thornton and commissioners Mike Hamby, Kathy Hoard, who's retiring next year, Doug Lowry and Jerry NeSmith. 

The candidates didn't speak. Nope. They probably won't do that until a forum in May, right before the election. But as the attendees aired their many grievances and gripes, concerns and things they like, many candidates were taking notes. 

So what are people concerned about regarding the local government? or UGA? Here's a sampling, in no particular order:

* low wages paid by UGA
* the fate of the Prince Avenue Corridor Study
* the cable monopoly of Charter
* traffic congestion and pedestrian safety
* safety crossing Prince Avenue
* crime in Chalfont which seems to continue unabated
* UGA's lack of involvement with residents living near fraternities
* since UGA is a land grant school, it needs to be involved with the community, and there seems to be some movement on this
* influx of cars and traffic along Reese, Church and Hancock
* equitable enforcement of local ordinances: everyone needs to be treated the same way
* bike accessibility
* inadequate development regulations and restrictions
* overbuilding of in-town neighborhoods and lack of affordable housing
* accessibility to affordable childcare

The Federation has various programs set up for the coming months, according to president Frances Berry. They would love to hear from you. And your neighborhood.


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