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Forest Park resident urges positive programs

FOREST PARK — Ann Keith did a good-natured about-face at Monday night’s city council meeting by urging the board and her fellow residents to support positive programs in Forest Park.

Keith attends most council meetings and is well-known for speaking her mind, even in opposition of leadership. Mayor David Lockhart has, more than once, admonished her during council meetings.

“I’m tired of whining all the time,” said Keith, drawing laughter from residents. “I want to do something. Are you in? Are you all up for it?”

Keith spoke during the 3-minute public comment portion of the regular meeting. She said she wants to see more residents, including herself, involved in events that reflected positively on the city.

“I think there is an opportunity for us to do something instead of always relying on council,” she said. “I was thinking of the fountain and how beautiful it is. We could do a ‘meet me at the fountain’ event. We could get a group together to help elderly residents take care of their yards. We can be mentors, volunteers.”

Other issues that concern Keith included mass transit, improving the appearances of businesses and the ubiquitous noise of jets passing over the city. Forest Park is four miles from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and planes fly over the city every few minutes all day, every day.

“I know I signed in the 80s for them to have the rights to go over my property but I think we need to go back and have the sound or noise reassessed,” she said. “They continue to run air control over our heads and I know they have no rights on the south side of Forest Park.”

Yasmin Julio also spoke during the same portion of the meeting. She said now that the Forest Park Police Department is providing public safety at the State Farmers Market, they need smaller vehicles to maneuver through the busy property.

“The police are still driving full-size vehicles,” she said. “I think we need to look at specialized vehicles like bikes or something. It gets very busy in there on weekends. When I was out there, I saw a police officer stuck behind several vehicles. They barely have room to get around.”

Julio suggested getting a grant to fund alternative vehicles to be used not only at the market but once the Main Street project is finished.

Lockhart told council that, because September has five Mondays, he wants to have another town hall-type meeting Sept. 30.

“I want to invite local businesses and residents as we embark on phase two of the Main Street project,” he said. “It won’t be long before we’re done with the sidewalks and we need to decide what’s next.”

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m., possibly in the recreation gym next door in anticipation of large crowds, he said.