Council members passed a motion to table legislation to authorize a ground lease for new police training facility last Monday in an 8-7 vote. The draft for the ground lease is now available for public scrutiny.
ATLANTA — Last Monday, Aug. 16, Atlanta City Council members took a somewhat surprising turn when they voted to table 20-O-0367, an ordinance introduced by Council Member Joyce Sheperd in early June that seeks to authorize a ground lease between the Atlanta Police Foundation and the City of Atlanta for construction of a new police training facility on the city-owned Old Atlanta Prison Farm. That legislation is now expected to come up for another vote on Sept. 7 during council’s next regular meeting.
The draft of the ground lease, which wasn’t previously viewed by even city council members before the legislation passed both the public safety and finance executive committees earlier this month, is now available for public scrutiny following amendments introduced by council members. An internal memo provided to The Mainline showed that council members introduced amendments for the legislation and the lease just days before the full council vote on Aug. 16. City council also introduced a substitute legislation on Monday, which is also available for viewing.
As of right now, it is not confirmed where the amendments introduced by council members came from, however, we have confirmed that none of the amendments stemmed from demands from the Stop Cop City coalition which has been working to raise public awareness and engagement around this issue since early summer. According to core organizers at DARC, city council members have not made any efforts to meet with organizers within the coalition or integrate public input into their decision making in the process thus far.
The city council members who voted to table (or in other words, “hold” or “pause”) the legislation to bide more time for public engagement and consideration were Council Members Natalyn Archibong, Antonio Brown, Amir Farokhi, Jennifer Ide, Andrea Boone, Matt Westmoreland, Andre Dickens, and Carla Smith. Archibong introduced the motion to table while Brown seconded the motion.
The city council members who voted “no” on the motion, meaning they wished to move the ordinance to authorize the ground lease to APF through full committee and onto next steps, were Michael Julian Bond, Howard Shook, Marci Collier Overstreet, Cleta Winslow, J.P. Matzigkeit, Joyce Sheperd, and Dustin Hillis.
We will continue to report on this story as it develops.