Recap: DeKalb Advisory Roundtable with Mayor Beverly Burks, City of Clarkston

DeKalb Roundtable Recap
February 1st, 2024
Speakers: Mayor Beverly Burks, City of Clarkston

On Thursday, February 1st, 2024, the Council for Quality Growth welcomed Clarkston’s Mayor Beverly Burks to its DeKalb Roundtable. Thank you Mayor Burks for your time, Southwyck Homes for sponsoring, and Druid Hills Golf Club for hosting the meeting.

In eastern DeKalb County, the City of Clarkston has emerged as a “medium city full of vibrancy,” said Mayor Beverly Burks. A population of 14,537 in 1.5 square miles makes Clarkston the most densely populated city in the state, with 7,997.8 people per square mile. The community is incredibly diverse — 80% of businesses are immigrant-owned — and young — over half of residents are under the age of 18.

Mayor Burks is addressing public safety through innovative initiatives. The city is embarking on the Safe Streets for All Safety Action Plan (SS4A) and the Community Violence Prevention Project (CVPP). These projects, backed by a $400,000 grant, aim to modernize crime-fighting and emergency response systems, utilizing technologies like FUSUS and strategically placed security camera systems to swiftly respond to incidents and identify potential suspects.

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is spearheading efforts in urban development. Through multifamily rental dwelling inspections and zoning updates, the city is working to ensure code compliance and mindful development. Notable changes include the creation of the CLEMSIL Overlay District, allowances for Quadruplexes in NR3, and zoning adjustments for various businesses.

Burks’ other initiatives focus on quality of life. The Clarkston Greenway Feasibility Study aims to introduce environmental benefits, provide public access to natural land, and enhance cultural vibrancy. The study also envisions a “smart” trail, incorporating proven technology to create an equitable and socially relevant space for all residents. The Georgia Economic Placemaking Collaborative (GEPC) marks the city’s foray into public art with its first sidewalk mural, adding a touch of creativity to the urban landscape. Lastly but most importantly, Clarkston is committed to education, particularly for its young population. Learning centers are available downtown, and TOTS Town Hall meetings, held quarterly, educate youth (and parents) about democracy and civics.