LaVista Park Civic Association

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Neighborhood News

Spring Newsletter 2011

In This Issue:
President's Message
Patrol News
The Park
Healthy Trees

President's Message
Spring is here in LaVista Park and that means many things; the welcome return of warm sunny days, maybe grilling outdoors, or walking around the neighborhood enjoying all the spring flowers. Spring is also the time for our annual LVPCA membership drive.

The membership committee is hard at work canvassing the Friends of LaVista Park both existing and new. We are grateful to the area businesses that support LaVista Park through the “Friends” program and make our lives more enjoyable and convenient through the services they provide. The April 21 quarterly meeting is our official membership campaign kick-off and the membership committee will provide a membership campaign update at the meeting.  Show your support by signing-up at the April meeting. 
One of our 2011 initiatives is to focus more on our park- LaVista Park. Members of the Citadel Garden Club and other neighbors have formed a park planning committee and have been working on identifying signature park improvement projects that we can all help bring to reality in 2011. The committee is also working on creating regular park work days to clean-up and maintain our park. The park planning committee will be our featured speakers at the April 21 meeting and will share their park improvement project ideas and ways we can all get involved to make our park more beautiful and enjoyable.
There are several opportunities to get involved in the LaVista Park Civic Association .Just a bit of your time can make a big difference!

We are a founding neighborhood member of The Lindbergh LaVista Corridor Coalition (LLCC), a 501c(3) non-profit, comprised of concerned residents and businesses of Lindridge-Martin Manor, Woodland Hills and LaVista Park. LLCC completed a 30-year visionary study and now plans to fund, adapt, and implement certain ideas from the Blueprints for Successful Communities Study. To do this, LLCC is collaborating with the outside expertise of the international urban design firm Perkins+ Will to help develop a strategic plan and urban design guidelines for the community. LLCC’s goal is to have a positive influence on the changes that face our neighborhoods, now and in the future. LaVista Park has one open position on the LLCC board and if you are interesting in serving as a LaVista Park representative, please contact me for details.Our communications/technology committee has room for volunteers.   This committee is focused on making sure we have effective and streamlined ways to best communicate to LaVista Park; including the LVPCA Web site, newsletter, e-mail notifications and social media like Facebook. 

I encourage you to get involved in an area of interest and I know you will feel a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment in giving back to this great neighborhood.

I look forward to seeing you at the April 21 quarterly meeting.

Rock Nelson
404-354-9807 (cell) 

Patrol News
With Spring Break and summer right around the corner, many of our residents will be going on vacation and leaving their homes unoccupied. I wanted to go over a few tips for making your home as secure as possible. Creating the illusion that you are home greatly reduces the chance that a thief will target your house. A thief wants an easy target. If they think that someone is home they are likely to pass by your home.

-          If you have an alarm system, be sure to set it before you leave.
-          Cancel all mail and newspapers (a sure sign you are gone if left to accumulate).
-          Leave a radio playing and lights on a timer.
-          Make sure you advise a trusted neighbor(s) of your vacation, but do not advertise it to those you do not know.
-          Arrange to have someone check on your home and if possible get a house sitter.
-          Turn off the ringer on your home phone or forward your home phone to someone who can answer it for you.
-          Allow a neighbor to park in your driveway as often as possible while you are away.
-          Make sure you maintain the outside of your home by having your lawn cut if you are going to be gone for more than a few days.
-          Unplug unneeded electrical equipment (reduces the risk of fire or damage to computers, etc.)
-          Leave some blinds or drapes open. (Preferably not ones that are near the home's entry points.) If your home appears closed off it looks unoccupied. 
-          Do not leave valuables out in plain view. (We recently had a resident go on vacation and leave some money lying on a table in clear view of the rear door.)
-          If you leave a car at the home, hide the keys or take them with you.
-          If you are a member of the patrol, be sure to fill out a house check request
-          Note any different persons, vehicles, etc. that may be at your home while you are gone.
-          Make sure you have recorded all serial numbers of all items that have one and photograph all jewelry and valuables.

The key to securing your home is to make your home appear occupied while you are gone. Following the above tips before you leave can greatly decrease the chance that your home may be targeted. If anyone has any questions or would like to speak with one of the patrol officers, please contact your block captain or the Neighborhood Watch coordinator.

Sgt. D.R. Brignone
DeKalb County Police
LaVista Park Patrol

LaVista Park – Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
LaVista Park. It’s who we are, or at least where we live and how we identify our neighborhood. But did you know we actually have our own park—LaVista Park?

The four-acre park is bounded by Wild Creek Trail, Brookforest Lane and Beech Haven Drive. In the 1950s, when the neighborhood was developed, the land was left untouched by the developers, probably because of the challenging terrain. The lower portion of the park acts as a catch basin during heavy rains, reducing the flow of potential floodwaters past our homes. 

For many years, the park has been a center of community life. In the 1970s and 80s, the neighborhood marked the end of summer with a cookout hosted at the old pavilion by the Citadel Garden Club. Most afternoons now, children and their mothers can be seen gathered around the playground equipment in the newly-developed upper park area, along the trail that runs from Brookforest to Beech Haven.

If you haven’t visited the park in a number of years, you ought to stop by, especially during our lovely Atlanta spring weather. You’ll be surprised by the improvements that have been made, thanks to the combined efforts of dedicated and persistent volunteers from our neighborhood and the DeKalb County Parks and Recreation Department. Take a ten-minute walk along the new, rubberized pathway from one end to another, stopping along the way to admire the many native species of plants.

LaVista Park will be the topic of discussion at the next quarterly meeting of the LVPCA on April 21. Ken Duke, president of the Citadel Garden Club, will talk about the park’s history as well as current and long-term plans for park improvements. This year the Garden Club is developing a plan for color beds (annuals and perennials) at the two park entrances and next to the overlook platform on Wild Creek. These flowerbeds should increase the park’s “curb appeal” for both drivers and pedestrians and hopefully, encourage them to visit the park.

Ken will also talk about the need for us as a community to help with park maintenance; cutting back English Ivy, pulling up invasive, non-native species, clearing away deadfall and so on. With the county budget being drastically cut back in all areas, if we want to keep our neighborhood park attractive, we’ll have to pitch in and do more ourselves. The next opportunity to enjoy fresh air and friendship while improving nature will be Saturday morning, May 7, from 8 to 12. 

Over the long term (the next 10 years), having the park as a great natural resource, we may be able to plan, fund and build enhancements such as a waterfall and pond at the upper end and a bridge over the stream that runs through the center of the lower park. We could have a neighborhood center that can compete in beauty and enjoyment with Ansley Park and John Howell Park in Virginia Highlands.

Large trees are one of the most enjoyable and characteristic parts of our neighborhood. We have some very big ones, and some very old ones. And, after several years of drought, some very stressed ones. Unfortunately, taking care of or removing these trees can be very expensive.

Many of us have, or know someone who has, a tree that's dead or dying. Most of us have seen the damage that falling trees or even large branches can do, but due to the trouble and expense involved, we often postpone taking care of our trees. So many trees in LaVista Park currently need trimming or removal that the civic association has made a full-fledged project out of it.

We took the first step last summer and fall by soliciting the names of arborists and tree-removal companies that residents used and were happy with. As a result of your input and the Healthy Trees Committeeresearch, we identified a total of 18 tree companies, who responded to a request for services. The committee went through a process that ranked them based on five categories:

1. Professionalism
2. Experience and references
3. Breadth of services offered
4. Price
5. Dependability, resources, bandwidth

In general, it's difficult for the tree companies to give a bulk discount or fixed price on tree removal as circumstances will always be unique depending on the size of a tree, location of the tree, severity of disease, etc. Our goal is for these companies to be able to schedule a consolidated block of work in LaVista Park, more or less camping out here for a couple of weeks and, because of the volume of work, give neighbors a nice discount in exchange.

The top three full-service companies identified are:
Tree Crews – 770-479-9611
Boutee Trees – 404-799-5472
Tree Cowboy – 404-423-8733

The top four mid-service companies identified are: 
DeKalb Tree Service - www.dekalbtree.com770-652-4216
Steve’s Tree Service -  770-474-5565
911 Tree Service - www.gunnisontree.com404-304-5466
Atlanta Tree Arbors – www.atlantatreearbors.com770-256-4599
If you are in need of tree removal/trimming services during the next 60 days and want us to help, we encourage you to email on or before April 30, 2011 with a brief summary of the work needed, including your name, address, telephone, and email contacts. We’ll compile the list and submit to the tree companies to determine a potential bulk rate discount. If you have an immediate need or an emergency situation, we encourage you to contact any of the above tree companies, or another company of your choice directly for an individual bid.
The Healthy Trees Committee believes there is some “real life” experience and history with these companies. We will be able to identify the top two in each of the full and mid-service categories for on-going work. Your future input and feedback will ensure that the companies are providing the level of services desired and/or reflect a need to re-evaluate and re-rank the companies from time-to-time. Developing these contacts and building relationships with the list of tree companies will be invaluable for emergency situations like we had during the ice storms a few years ago that caused several trees to fall, damage homes and block streets. This project will be a work in progress, which we believe could ultimately benefit all neighbors who participate.
Removal of trees should be done in accordance with DeKalb County code requirements:
If you have suggestions for how to improve the Healthy Trees Initiative program, we welcome your ideas. If you want to help work on the project, even better. Please email
If you have an established agreement with an existing company and want to keep it, great. If you want to try companies other than the ones listed above for whatever reason, no problem. What the committee hopes to accomplish is that by having a "preferred" service agreement in place and generating enough volume to make the arrangement mutually satisfactory, neighbors can get discounted pricing, the service company gets to know the needs of the neighborhood and how highly we value saving our trees whenever possible and in the advent of a city-wide storm, we would get preferential emergency service.
The committee volunteers who have coordinated this project are Patrick Campbell, Kevin Rowland, Ken Duke, Donna Newman, Steve Patrick, and Dave Lushbaugh.
Thanks for your input and participation!
Donna Newman
LaVista Park Healthy Trees Initiative Chair
LaVista Park Civic Association Inc. makes no representation or warranty of the services offered. All participants should investigate any services to their own satisfaction.

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