July 2015 Around Town 3


Kathleen Bertrand Retires 
from ACVB

After 32 years of dedicated service to Atlanta’s hospitality community, Kathleen Bertrand, senior vice president of community and governmental affairs at the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB), is retiring.

Bertrand has held several leadership positions at ACVB and her tenure has been marked by decades of successes. She has played a major role in steering ACVB’s involvement in community and government issues. Bertrand was also the driving force behind the development of ACVB’s diversity marketing program, which positioned Atlanta as the top destination for African-American travelers.

One successful career would be enough for most. However, Bertrand is also a well-known jazz recording artist and writer. She has five CD’s to her credit and has performed for dignitaries including mayors and presidents, and at events ranging from worldwide Jazz festivals to the Olympic Games. She plans to release another music album this year.

“I’ve had a ride of a lifetime with ACVB and I’m so grateful for the outstanding support I’ve received through the years. There’s no doubt that I love this city, this industry and the people, both across the country and here in Atlanta, that I’ve had the opportunity to meet and to work with along the way on behalf of Atlanta,” says Bertrand. “But now, after 32 years, I am excited about exploring other roads in life, through my continued work with BronzeLens Film Festival, as well as through my music performances, travel, more family time and writing.”

Fort McPherson Redeveloped as a New Studio for Tyler Perry

The 486-acre Fort McPherson military post closed in 2011, and the state-formed Redevelopment Authority, also known as MILRA, has been working tirelessly to finalize a deal in which Tyler Perry Studios will purchase 330 acres for a new television and movie production studio. The transaction will enable the Redevelopment Authority to redevelop the balance of the land – an area as expansive as the region’s largest revitalization projects.

Perry has met with members of the neighboring communities and is committed to ensuring the new facility catalyzes job and economic growth in the area. Over the first 10 years after completion of the deal, 3,900 – 8,300 permanent, contract production and construction jobs could be created. The studio’s total investment in land and construction is planned to exceed $100 million, creating an increase in property tax revenues for the city, county, and school system. In 2014, an average production that sought Georgia’s movie production tax credit spent $9.5 million. Tyler Perry Studios expects to have 10 to 20 such productions underway at any given time.

The Redevelopment Authority is partnering with some of the brightest minds in the planning and development industries to determine the highest and best use for the remaining 144 acres. An Atlanta Regional Commission grant will enable a comprehensive economic development and land use plan for the post and surrounding areas. An Urban Land Institute Technical Assistant Panel will also work with the Redevelopment Authority. These and other partners will help ensure the future development of Fort McPherson responds to the needs and aspirations of the community around it.

SFL in the Community

South Fulton Lifestyle publisher Michelle Willis attended the welcome reception for Taifa Smith Butler, the new executive director for the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. Butler will lead the nonprofit think tank into its second decade as Georgia’s leading authority on state budget and tax policy. Since joining GBPI as deputy director in 2011, she led a team of analysts and introduced a deeper and more strategic approach to the organization’s policy research efforts. Speakers at the reception held at the Commerce Club included Milton Little of the United Way of Greater Atlanta, Ann Cramer, and chair and vice chair of the GBPI Board of Directors, Eliot Robinson and Kathy Ashe. In all, nearly 75 guests joined the celebration.

Michelle Willis was also recently spotted at the South Fulton Road Race and  taking the Chick-fil-A Backstage Tour.

Congrats to Yoshina Colbert, the winner of our Facebook sweepstakes! She was awarded an American Express gift card at the Camp Creek Marketplace location of Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt. Like our South Fulton Lifestyle facebook group for more contests and valuable info.

Do you know about a good thing that is happening in South Fulton? Please don’t hesitate to share the good news with your neighbors by emailing our editor, Erikka Mitchell at emitchell@lifestylepubs.com. Your neighbors would love to patronize your business! Contact publisher Michelle Willis at michelle.willis@lifestylepubs.com for advertising prices and more opportunities.