Various independent self-appointed guardians of the good
The press: the major media took a negative view of the project before even seeing what was being proposed
The City: decided that since Piedmont Park was a city-wide asset, we should appear before all 28 NPUsinstead of the two bordering units
The Urban Design Commission:did not want parkland used for parking PERIOD! – despite the fact that the new deck would accommodate more than three times the number of cars currently allowable in the park and garden on existing paved land
The Friends of Piedmont Park:essentially opposed any changes to any part of the park and garden
The cyclists, joggers, walkers,disabled community, animal advocates, tennis players, soft ball leagues, and every other constituency - each asked to be heard!
So how were we to deal with these myriad questions and concerns?
our response… Making Contact with any organization who would meet with us was essential – even those who could never be persuaded to our side. The City of Atlanta Mayor’s Citizen Task Force Atlanta City Council Friends of Piedmont Park
our response… Developed Materials/Tools to help sell our story – our most effective tool was a model with movable parts.
our response… Invited every VIP on a site tour/presentation – better explaining our proposal. “We took them on a bus ride to show them congestion points, the hazards and the benefits - arriving at the proposed site as a climax of an interesting journey.”
lessons learned… As early as possible, consult the key opinion makers and authorities that may have influence on your ability to succeed. Practice good communications. Call on the key people in your community to sell them on the value of your project. Invest in good presentation materials. Get the people on your turf. Never underestimate the value of a THANK YOU!