DUNWOODY, Ga. — Community leaders reflected back on the city’s history at the Dunwoody Homeowners Association’s annual meeting Jan. 26. 

Founded in 1970, this year is the 50th anniversary of the organization. DHA President Adrienne Duncan said the group is focused on many of the same efforts as it was decades ago, like improving quality of life for residents and energizing Dunwoody Village as the center of the community. 

“The value in the overlay district is not in the styles themselves, but in the very act of defining this place as special,” Duncan said. “Dunwoody wants to remain a small town, no matter how big metro Atlanta becomes. The new heart is worth sweating the small stuff and getting the details right.”

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Dunwoody Homeowners Association President Adrienne Duncan speaks on the community’s history and new challenges Jan. 26 at Dunwoody United Methodist Church.

Duncan also spoke of new challenges, warning that political polarization, poor communication and mistrust have the potential to tear the community apart

“Trust is the foundation on which the rest of our quality of life is built,” Duncan said. “When you’re trying to propose policy for a diverse community with a wide range of needs or solve a problem that’s been festering for years, compromise is the only way forward … without compromise based on trust and the goodwill of citizens, there will be no improvements.”

The annual meeting is a time for the homeowners association to acknowledge exceptional Dunwoody residents. This year the Community Service Award went to Despina Lamas, Michelle Fincher and Leah Marques, the founders of the public-school advocacy Facebook page “Educate Dunwoody.”

Duncan lauded the women and their social media campaign for bringing sustained attention to overcrowding, questionable finances and poor transparency in the DeKalb County School District. 

Fincher said they were just three parents who continued to send emails and show up to meetings. She spoke about lessons learned and successes from their first six months operating the page. She also echoed Duncan’s sentiment of compromise. 

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From left, Despina Lamas, Michelle Fincher and Leah Marques speak as the founders of the public-school advocacy Facebook page “Educate Dunwoody” on Jan. 26 at Dunwoody United Methodist Church. The trio was awarded the Dunwoody Homeowners Association’s Community Service Award for their work to improve public schools.

 

“We wanted to be clear our page is nonpartisan,” Fincher said. “In fact, the three of us have very different political views, and we believe that’s one of our greatest strengths.” 

Also this year, for the first time, the association awarded the Dick Williams Citizenship Award, named after the longtime editor and publisher of the Dunwoody Crier. Selected by Williams, the first recipient of the award was Bill Robinson, vice chair of the Dunwoody Development Authority. 

Duncan praised Robinson for his work on the July 4th parade, Veterans Day memorial ceremony and other community initiatives. 

City Councilwoman Pam Tallmadge announced that this year’s July 4th Parade will be “Honoring the Greatest Generation,” and the grand marshals will be World War II veterans. 

Other speakers at the event were State Sen. Sally Harrel, DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox, Dunwoody Nature Center Director Mike Cowan and Perimeter Community Improvement Districts Director Ann Hanlon. 

The annual meeting is also when the association elects members of its executive board. Gerri Penn was reelected, and Debbie Montgomery was elected to succeed Kerry De Vallette and will serve as secretary. 

For more information about the Dunwoody Homeowners Association, visit its new website at dunwoodyga.org

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