DEAR neighbors and friends of summervile park:

As I reflect on all that we’ve accomplished during the past several months, I am awestruck by the number of people — literally thousands — who worked together to defend our neighborhood. I am writing this note to thank all of you collectively, and to thank as many as I can by name.

I’d like to begin by thanking Penny Evans-Plants who was the first person to bring the hotel issue to my attention, who represented our community in my stead at a public forum, and who worked many long hours to create and maintain our social media accounts. Thank you to Carla Hyde for filming and conducting the interviews from which our powerful videos were created — and to Dr. Sid Bell, Ken and Mary Nance, Bart and Brenda Jenkins, Yvonne Roberts, Mary Bodkin, Cindy Latimer, and Mary Elena Kirk for starring in those videos. Sid gets another special shout-out for filming one of our most-watched videos — his grandson riding down Charlton Street.

Thanks (apologies?) to Sammy Rich, Patrick Eidson, Artagus Newell and Brice Wood for the many phone calls and meetings that they cheerfully accepted on our behalf. Thanks go to Carol Greissinger for encouraging our first appearance before the city commission, and to all of the neighbors and friends of Summerville Park who attended commission meetings in support of our neighborhood. Thank you to all of our SPNA board members (Jackie McDowell, Alice Stevens, Sid Bell, Ken Nance, Julian Weber, Jim Watkins, Susan Daniel, Penny Evans-Plants and Fred Dent) for their time and sage advice, and to Evie McNiece for her council to our board. Thanks in particular to Susan (our board secretary) for delivering our petition and maintaining records of this whole ordeal. In that same vein, thank you to all of the 1,063 signers of our petition against the hotel, to the 686 people who “liked” our Facebook page, to the thousands of others who “liked” so many of the posts on that page, and to the hundreds of friends and neighbors who displayed yard signs in support of our cause.

Thanks go out to my friends Paul Ferguson, Buster Wright and Paul Carter for listening attentively and responding insightfully. Thanks also goes out to Sid Wright for advising us early that our legal options were meager. Thanks to my several brave neighbors who were willing to invest significant sums of their own money to buy the property back (you know who you are!), and to the city commissioner who was willing to contribute a significant amount to that potential purchase. Thank you, Craig McDaniel, for thinking outside the box for potential solutions, and to Bill Collins for the idea that finally did the job. An eternal thank you goes out to Sandra Hudson and the members of her board (Lee Hight, Hilda Curtis, Jim Keaten, Michael Taylor, Lillie Dyar and Mary Helen Heaner) for coming to our rescue when our chances seemed bleak. Thanks, too, to Mr. Patel for agreeing to reconsider his plans, and to the folks at Hardy Realty who helped to make the sale of the property to NWGHA a reality. A huge thank you goes to Doug Walker and John Druckenmiller for keeping our fight in the public eye.

Most especially, I thank Jackie McDowell for her ear, her shoulder, and for her advice, dedicated support, and uncommon patience throughout the most challenging summer of our lives.

Eric McDowell, president

Summerville Park Neighborhood Association

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