The chair of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods is praising the recently announced leadership shakeup that will more closely align four key business-community organizations, saying it will be a “unified voice” to work with residents.

Buckhead Community Improvement District Executive Director Jim Durrett on June 24 was announced as the new president of the Buckhead Coalition. Both group’s staffs will merge, and combine offices with two other key groups, Livable Buckhead and the Buckhead Business Association.

Mary Norwood, chair of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods.

“The 80,000 neighborhood residents [presented by the BCN] provide a strong voice that, coupled with the new business structure, I believe will take Buckhead to the next level and continue to be one of the Atlanta region’s finest assets,” said BCN chair Mary Norwood in a written statement.

“The collaboration of four important business organizations in Buckhead will provide a unified voice to work with the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods to enhance the quality of life for everyone who lives, works, plays and visits Buckhead,” Norwood added.

The BCN is a coalition of neighborhood associations in an area where residents and business interests have not always agreed, such as road expansion projects. Over the past year, however, the BCN has developed a closer working relationship with the CID and Livable Buckhead, with Durrett appearing at its meetings to provide updates and coordinate efforts.

Norwood had expressed interest in the Buckhead Coalition leadership position prior to the announcement of Durrett’s appointment.

The CID is a self-taxing group of commercial property owners that funds public safety, transportation and beautification projects. The Buckhead Coalition, where Durrett succeeds former Atlanta mayor Sam Massell as president, is an invitation-only community group of 100 members that compiles detailed information about Buckhead, provides donations and volunteers to a variety of programs, and hosts an annual lunch known for news-making speakers. Livable Buckhead is a sustainability-focused nonprofit that oversees the PATH400 multiuse trail, organizes alternative commuting programs, and studies such topics as affordable housing policy.

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John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.