Source: Maria Saporta, Atlanta Business Chronicle
Central Atlanta Progress, the downtown business organization, will pay tribute to two distinguished Atlantans at its annual breakfast meeting on March 14 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.
Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young will receive the prestigious Dan Sweat Award.
And retired Atlanta Police Chief George Turner will receive the annual Turner Downtown Community Leadership Award.
CAP also will present the Marcus Downtown Economic Impact Award to Georgia State University for its contributions to the central city, including its proposed redevelopment of Turner Field.
“When I think of Andrew Young, this is long overdue,” said Maxine Hicks, who serves on CAP’s board and was part of the awards nominating committee. “He embraces the image of Atlanta.”
Dave Stockert, the former CEO of Post Properties who has been CAP’s chair for the past three years, said it was appropriate to honor Young since we just celebrated the 20th anniversary of hosting the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.
“Ambassador Young’s story speaks for itself,” Stockert said. “From when he was mayor, he’s always had an interest of putting Atlanta on the world map. And that culminated with the 1996 Olympics.”
The Turner award — sponsored by Turner Broadcasting System — will be given to an actual Turner, but with no relation to the company.
“We wanted to honor Chief Turner for what he’s done,” Stockert said. “The police do a tough job, and they have done it well in Atlanta. Chief Turner was born here and he was raised here. One thing we’ve avoided in Atlanta is having trouble between the police and community. I asked Chief Turner about it, and he said it was because the police force reflects the population that it serves.”
Stockert also said that under Turner’s leadership, crime in downtown decreased. And he and the force helped change the perception of crime downtown.
Hicks, who also is a partner with DLA Piper and chairs its real estate practice, praised Georgia State for its role in uplifting downtown.
“It’s rare to have an opportunity to have a transformational project like the redevelopment of Turner Field,” she said. “This redevelopment will have a lasting impact for GSU and also for the city.”
The annual breakfast also will mark a transition of leadership. Stockert will be stepping down as chair, and he will be succeeded by Rich McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons.
“It’s an easy lift because the staff is so good, and they are so passionate about what they do,” Stockert said of his three years as chairman.
But he acknowledged it is bittersweet for him because of the recent merger of Post Properties with Memphis-based MAA.
“I was really happy to shepherd the start of our first real downtown community,” Stockert said. “There’s so much good going on downtown.”