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Changes in Impact Fees for Summerhill and Peoplestown from Braves' Parking Money

Changes made to open up funds to more neighborhood development and improvement projects.

The SMP Community Inc. fund, which was created to mitigate the impact of the 1996 Oylmpic Games on the Summerhill, Peoplestown and Mechanicsville communities, is changing how it allocates money to those neighborhoods.

The non-profit fund, which is administered by the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority, gets its revenue via an eight-percent cut of the parking fees collected at the Turner Field lots.

Up until now, the funds have been dispersed 50-50, with the neighborhoods' three community development groups — the Summerhill Neighborhood Development Corp., the SUMMECH Community Development Corp. and the Peoplestown Revitalization Corp. — getting half of the monies generated in a year for economic improvements.

The other half goes to the the neighborhoods directly to distribute for other social and community improvement projects.

But next, year, the fund, which has collected nearly $7 million since its inception, is changing that revenue sharing arrangement.

Under the new setup, 70 percent of the revenue that comes in from the parking lot fees, will go directly to the neighborhoods and the 30 percent going to the development corporations.

"It was changed to allow more community organizations to benefit from the fund," Suzanne Mitchell, president-elect of the Organized Neighbors of Summerhill explained to East Atlanta Patch.

Mitchell made a presentation Monday at ONS' monthly meeting.

Changes to the SMP were not unexpected.

The fund, people inolved in it and some of the development corporations have come under scrutiny over the years.

A main issue is how the money was dispersed and if projects green-lighted by the three neighborhood companies were in the best interests of the three communities.

In 2010, for example, the Summerhill Neighborhood Development Corp. sued its founder, former state Rep. Douglas Dean.

The key allegation of the lawsuit is that promised to back a private developer's bank loans — $2.4 million — using the development corporation's properties. The loans subsequently went into default.

Dean, who denied doing anything wrong in an interview with Atlanta Unfiltered,  also gave himself $470,000 in interest-free loans, using money from the Summerhill Development Corp.

Proponents of the change in how the parking lot money is divideds want more transparency and greater accountability and to avoid repeat situations such as what happened with Dean.

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