Jul 26, 2014

Midtown is a Verb. An Action Item.

Greg Guhl, president of the Midtown Neighbors' Associations, speaks about community.

Midtown is a Verb. An Action Item.

In this age of community branding, building awareness and attracting commerce, we have seen many attempts to paint a pretty picture of a community, only to see the results drop as a sun sets in the sky.

Some communities have appeal. Others don’t.

What makes Midtown special?  Why is a strong sense of community so important?

I recently met with a high school friend of mine, Terrence Burns, president of Helios Partners. He and his partners helped Russia win the bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

Terrence knows branding.

He knows every city, country or municipality has its own image, something that makes it uniquely special –- a certain identity. He told me branding an individual community is very difficult (this didn’t surprise me). 

Communities grow, evolve and develop over time. It’s like aiming for a target that is in constant motion.

    So who is Midtown really?

    Trying to paint an image of Midtown with just one color (sorry, I couldn’t resist) just won’t work.

    Midtown is a leader in diversity in the Southeast. More than black or white, gay or straight, conservative or liberal, I am talking true diversity. Our community includes an abundance of residents and business owners from across the globe.

    Diversity extends to our professional careers, economic backgrounds and education. We have college students mixing and mingling with professionals, entrepreneurs and families. We have people from all walks of life enjoying our neighborhood together -- artists, lawyers, doctors and executives.

    We have neighbors experiencing the woes of the economy. Walking in the park with people who travel the world, we develop a special camaraderie.

    The depth of Midtown’s diversity is significant. It extends beyond business to students and professors at Georgia Tech who are leaders in technology.

    And just down the block people are pushing the limits of creativity at SCAD. Don’t forget Midtown is a hub of arts and culture with the High Museum of Art, The Alliance Theatre, ASO, MODA, countless art galleries, live comedy venues and the Center for Puppetry Arts.

    The passion and drive within the people that live and work here also makes us special. 

    Midtown is a verb. It’s an action item.

    More about MNA

    Midtown Neighbors’ Association (MNA)… I had to mention MNA sooner or later… has created community events like the Tour of Homes and Midtown Atlanta Shop and Dine Week.

    MNA hosts community forums to introduce neighbors to candidates for public office.  Recently, our organization gave participants an opportunity to get to know Midtown (and our City Councilmen) by taking part in the Midtown Scavenger Hunt.  Our Education Committee developed and hosted “I ART Midtown,” an art contest for students from local schools.  All original events, created and implemented by volunteers. All giving back -- supporting the police, fire fighters, education, arts, our neighbors and the community. 

    A group of enterprising residents planned for well over a year to create and implement the Midtown Festival of the Arts. The group of volunteers successfully closed Peachtree Street to showcase visual artists, vendors, musicians and culinary artists. The event gave the community an opportunity to raise money for safety measures and other causes. 

    Why? Because that’s the way it should be.

    Do good things, for the right reasons.

    -- Greg Guhl, president of the  Midtown Neighbors’ Association

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