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'Year of Boulevard' Part II Debuts, Then ... Gunfire

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Boulevard, the street and subdistrict of the Old Fourth Ward, has been labeled "one of Atlanta's most notorious streets" by Atlanta magazine and the "Last Hood Standing" by one brief YouTube "documentary" — and the difference illustrates a divide in viewpoints on the important intown thoroughfare. In any case, city councilman Kwanza Hall's "Year of Boulevard" campaign in 2012 was an admirable initiative to clean up the community, which many eastside Atlantans view as a downtrodden anomaly and breeding ground for nefarious activity. Longtime residents have applauded the councilman. And "Year of Boulevard: The Sequel" premiered last week before a packed, gleeful Baptist church, the magazine reported. But just when things are looking up, a gunfight breaks out Monday night at Boulevard and North Avenue, injuring two, killing one. Atlanta police believe at least 20 shots rang out. Is this acceptable?

At the "Year of Boulevard" part II launch, Hall highlighted the positives from last year. Among them: a new APD precinct on Boulevard, community cleanups, summer camps, programs for seniors, a $50K donation from the Atlanta Hawks to spruce up nearby basketball courts and that big block party a few months ago, the magazine wrote. Problems on Boulevard can be traced back a century, and many ascribe the community's plight to landlords who are wont to let go of profitable government housing in the area. Last week, Hall said jobs are key, especially for the 700 families in Bedford Pines. Jamestown Properties, the Ponce City Market developer, has committed to hiring from the community, and other job-placement and hiring agencies have also vowed to help, the magazine reports.

Still, violence of that magnitude stings. Here's to hoping it doesn't deflate what seems like true momentum on beleaguered Boulevard.

· Year of Boulevard: The Sequel. Notes from the 2013 kickoff meeting [Atlanta magazine]
· One man dead, another wounded in Atlanta shooting [AJC]
· A "Living Laboratory": Can Kwanza Hall's project transform intown Atlanta's most notorious street? [Atlanta magazine]
· Year of Boulevard brings positive change [CBS Atlanta]