Name: Peggy Still Johnson
What is your relationship to Fort Mac?
I am thrilled and honored to be part of the redevelopment team as Macauley’s Art and Philanthropic Director helping and guiding the arts, outreach, events and philanthropic fundraising for Fort Mac. I feel as if all my life and career experiences has led me to Fort Mac and I am so excited this redevelopment is finally being done.
What excites you most about the redevelopment of Fort Mac?
This will be the first development with inclusivity focusing on the needs of the community. When approached by the Macauley team to work on this redevelopment, I immediately said “yes, and it’s about time this was done!” I have been thrilled about the growth of Atlanta since I moved here 32 years ago from San Diego but not thrilled that with growth, the arts and those in need have not been properly served. We have a housing, poverty and arts crisis in Atlanta, meaning not enough support for such, and we want Fort Mac to be the model for other developers and communities to follow. It will truly be the first inclusive development with supportive programs – transitional, affordable, and market housing all in one development with social services/programs, job training, education, energy efficiency, gardens/greenspace, retail, restaurants and more – all infused with arts and culture throughout the entire 145 acres. Aspects of this idea have been done in other communities but not to the extent of what we are working on for Fort Mac.
What would you most like to see happen with the redevelopment of Fort Mac?
I would like to see all our plans of inclusivity with infusion of arts and culture become a success at Fort Mac to become a model for other communities to follow. Most importantly I would like this to be a development that stays true to the promises we are making to the community and not change like in so many other developments.
From your experience, what has the response from the community been?
The response has been excitement and apprehension…Southwest Atlanta and frankly most of Atlanta has been promised many things only to find out those in leadership and authority do not follow through with their promises. I am involved because I believe in the Fort Mac redevelopment leadership, know them personally, and Fort Mac’s immediate and ongoing success for communities of Southwest Atlanta is the most important part of the model they are trying to create – a model that can be replicated.
For those who are not as engaged as you are, is there anything you would encourage them to do? Anything you’d like for them to know?
Please attend the Fort Mac LRA Community Engagement meetings, upcoming events, tell your friends about Fort Mac – Believe this time it will happen… Fort Mac will become the hub of all things inclusive and hopefully a much needed hub for the arts in Atlanta.
I am humbled to be working with a world-class team. We are all in and believe this redevelopment is the answer of inclusivity and support to what many of us have been looking for. As an alum of Leadership Atlanta and Leadership DeKalb, I personally have been studying the problems with gentrification and have been very saddened by what has happened in many of our communities in Atlanta. Though I have been excited about the growth of Atlanta in business and entertainment, there have been key things that have been missed or no lasting solution found. I wake up every morning so excited to be working on this project. I look forward to what we envision and plan becoming a reality and soon.