Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Five Points plaza

While I didn't make it to Tech or the AUC like I intended, I did walk down to the Fulton county Courthouse Friday morning. I decided to cut through Five Points plaza.

Five Points plaza struck me as being in better condition than last year. It is always worse in the summers, but last year I remember being awestruck at the transformation from winter/spring to summer. What was a basically a dirty, run-down plaza became a regional epicenter for the homeless and for drug addicts. Anyway, Five Points wasn't awful Friday, but that is a relative statement. I would have been horrified probably if I didn't know what to expect.

There is something about Five Points ... there are plenty of homeless folks at Woodruff Park next door, but it doesn't get to me there like it does at Five Points. Maybe just the existence of greenspace makes a difference, it doesn't make everything feel as dirty. I think the "chess court" tables help a lot, although when I walked by last week there were a bunch of tables free and several groups of folks playing cards on the low walls next to them.

Realistically, I think Five Points plaza will be the last place in Downtown to turn around. All the positive movement is happening on the peripherals - Castleberry Hill, the Allen Plaza and 12 Centennial stuff at the north side of downtown, Integral Group's stuff on Auburn and even Capitol Gateway. That is a lot of housing to absorb, but if it can happen, then it will start bleeding into the real core of downtown, which has always been Five Points. I don't think GSU will build their dorms at Underground any time soon, so these areas are going to have to be the driving forces that eventually squeeze Five Points and put enough pressure on things to force changes.

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