The Little 5 Points Community Improvement District represents a natural step along the path that L5P has trod for four decades. The CID reflects the district it grew out of. It’s intown, very grassroots (composed of small businesses and engaged neighbors), artsy and … definitely unique. It’s unlike any other CID in Georgia, because it represents a relatively small commercial district, dominated by community advocates and oriented toward improving public, walkable spaces more than commerce. It’s more about community than business.
Over the last 45 years, L5P has helped to birth a uniquely Southern counterculture — a spirit that is central to the region’s current urban reinvention.
Just consider how much has happened near the intersection of Moreland, McLendon and Euclid avenues. Among many other things, the district has been home to several of the metro area’s premier music venues, three theater companies, Atlanta’s most prominent record-swap shops, the metro area’s defining health food coop and its first true espresso bar. The culture of iconoclastic disruption spawned in Little Five Points is a foundation for Atlanta’s intown revival.
If the Atlanta of tomorrow will be built on entrepreneurship and innovation, it owes a great deal to the spirit of cultural creativity for which Little Five Points has served as a Mecca. L5P leaders — many of whom were involved in the district’s earlier establishment as the Southeast’s counterculture capital — are now committed to figuring out how the district can play the kind of defining role in Atlanta’s future that it has in the recent past and as it does in the present.
Quite appropriately, it was established through the work of a non-profit planning firm — Commons Planning — and that non-profit firm continues to support the CID’s initiative.
As a small organization, the CID has limited resources. So it relies on strong strain of volunteerism. And it turns out that that volunteerism also strengthens the CID by building broad grassroots support for the district’s activities.
The CID provides a framework to help L5P deal with challenging issues. Its formal role is very similar to that of other CIDs — albeit on a smaller scale: How to deal, for example, with traffic and parking. How to encourage biking and walking. How to ensure that public spaces are safe and attractive. How to encourage a mix of development that will strengthen the district, as a whole.
The CID is a bit like Little Five Points: Its participants are contributing to a broader reinvention of a form of governmental agency much as Little Five Points has contributed to the broadening of Southern culture.