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Camp Creek Parkway sets path for growth | Business

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Camp Creek Parkway sets path for growth

ATLANTA -- There's more momentum to stimulate growth on Atlanta's south side.

Community leaders have launched an effort to form a community improvement district, or CID, on Camp Creek Parkway, a corridor that developers began to focus on several years ago, turning it into a magnet for new logistics operations and retail projects.

They want the district in place by mid-July.

It aims to stem the tide of fatal car crashes that have plagued Camp Creek Parkway, and it could spur revitalization of the Aiport West Market Area. It also comes as local leaders try to expand the concept of the Aerotropolis, an urban development plan anchored by a major airport -- in this case, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International.

The effort to form a CID includes officials from the cities of East Point, College Park, Atlanta as well as Fulton County, and groups that have a stake in seeing the area grow such as Hartsfield-Jackson, Atlanta Regional Commission and the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Community improvement districts are formed when a group of businesses tax themselves to help fund and accelerate projects to reduce traffic, improve infrastructure and eventually hasten economic development.

Metro Atlanta has 16 such districts operating in the region.

In recent years, the ARC has taken a lead role in organizing efforts to foster greater development around the airport, and ti has created a long-range plan to make it happen. But others are stepping up.

One group is the Camp Creek Parkway Improvement Association. It now has a board of directors. Natalie Martin, senior property manager of Duke Realty, is the board chair.

It has helped raised $95,000 in startup capital from local businesses and stakeholders, including Wells Fargo & Co. ($5,000) and Woodward Academy ($15,000).

In addition, College Park City Council approved $50,000.

"We believe we can make this Georgia's No. 2 port," said Emory Morsberger, an organizer with the Camp Creek Parkway Improvement Association.

The Port of Savannah is the state's largest port -- a catalyst for economic development throughout the region.

But, then again, the airport is an economic engine too.

Hartsfield-Jackson and related industries create more than 50,000 jobs. It's one of the biggest reasons that companies cite for relocating major operations to metro Atlanta.

But officials say not enough has been done to capitalize on the business and residential development around the airport.

The Camp Creek Parkway CID can add a lot of needed infrastructure and aesthetic improvements to a major gateway to the airport, said Doug Hooker, executive director of Atlanta Regional Commission.