In many cases, income inequality and the forces of gentrification have made Atlanta a virtually unaffordable place to live for working-class people such as fast food employees, teachers, and emergency responders.
Thanks in part to a $4 million grant from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, however, Atlanta Police Department recruits could soon have a convenient place to call home on the Westside.
Planned for 744 North Avenue in English Avenue, a new apartment building for police officer recruits broke ground today, the Blank Foundation announced in a press release.
Part of APD’s Secure Neighborhoods program, the development will aim to “reduce crime, improve community policing, and provide affordable housing so that APD’s finest can live in the city they protect,” per the release.
The project was envisioned by the late John Williams, a revered Atlanta developer and longtime friend of Arthur Blank.
In exchange for the new housing option, recruits will be required to serve as mentors for kids at the At-Promise Center, a nonprofit youth and recreation facility on Cameron Madison Alexander Boulevard.
Expected to be completed late this year, the building would stand in a heavily residential area dotted with single-family homes.
Somewhat ironically, the new police facility will stand just a few blocks from Atlanta rapper T.I.’s Trap Music Museum and Escape Room, which features a game in which people must “Escape the Trap” before police raid a drug den.
T.I.—real name Clifford Harris—also now works as a real estate developer, buying up property in Westside neighborhoods in an effort to revitalize communities scarred by the “crack era.”
In recent years, a couple of dozen new houses for police officers, priced below market rate, have sprung up across English Avenue and Vine City.
As Blank Foundation officials noted during a tour preceding Atlanta’s Super Bowl LIII, not a single APD officer lived in those neighborhoods prior to the arrival of new homes constructed specifically for them.
According to the Foundation, a combination of public and private initiatives has reduced crime in Westside neighborhoods by 43 percent in the past two years.