Oakland City is located in the southwest section of Atlanta, Georgia, in Fulton County. Originally settled in the 1820s after the land was acquired from the Creek Indians, Oakland City became incorporated in 1894 when the first homes were developed on farmland for middle-class laborers and tradesman. It was annexed into the city of Atlanta in 1910.
During the first half of the 20th century, there were both black and white families that lived in the area, which included schools, churches, and a large park.
In 1980 after numerous foreclosures, more than 100 Oakland City homes were sold for $1 in an effort to make the neighborhood a viable place to live. Former Mayor Andrew Young developed the program – Urban Homesteading – to sell derelict houses to individuals for $1 requiring the homeowner to repair them and keep a moderate income.
The dawn of the new millennium has brought exciting changes to Oakland City. The neighborhood boasts a new state-of-the-art fire station (Fire Station 14) as well as a new elementary school (William M. Finch). The old Gold Antiques property on Lee Street is now a bustling weekend flea market. There is a community garden as well as a greenspace, both of which were supported by local elected officials and grants from local organizations.
New residents are fixing up properties and are working to make a difference in Oakland City, They join long-time residents in working with the City of Atlanta, local businesses, churches, and other groups to find the best way to address neighborhood issues.
In 1997, the Sandtown and Oakland City Community Development Group was organized by concerned neighbors. By the fall of 1999, that group had transformed into two, reflecting the fact that each community had needs that needed to be addressed separately by residents.
OCCO held its first organizational meeting in 1999, incorporated in 2000, was designated as a tax-exempt organization by the Internal Revenue Service in 2001.
OCCO is organized and operated to promote the common good and general welfare of the community. A volunteer group run for and by residents, OCCO focuses on making our neighborhood our better place to live by addressing issues such as crime prevention, housing and economic development, youth and education, and church/business/government partnerships.
OCCO thanks Cathedral of Faith Church of God in Christ and New Oakland City United Methodist Church for allowing OCCO to hold its meetings in their facilities.
Goals for OCCO include: creating a safer environment for those who live and work in and visit our neighborhood, improving the appearance of our community, bringing residents closer together to restore pride in our community, nurturing our youth, and promoting efforts to bring appropriate development projects into Oakland City.
Since its founding in 1999, OCCO has made progress toward all of its goals. Here is a sample of some of our activities:
- collaborated with graduate students from Georgia State University on efforts to obtain historic designation for Oakland City
- selected as partnering organization for Deloitte Consulting's "Project Impact" event, which brought 600+ volunteers into Oakland City for a day of beautification and restoration projects throughout the community.
- sponsored a Prayer Vigil in which 50 residents, friends, clergy, and political leaders walked through neighborhood streets with drug activity to show our support for efforts to reduce crime
- conducted a Neighborhood Canvas, distributing information about city ordinances and programs for homeowners and tenants to more than 300 properties in Oakland City
- hosted a Community Day at Oakland City park which drew 200 neighbors for food, fun, and information about city programs
- sponsored an 8-session Saturday program for neighborhood children at Oakland City Recreation Center; activities included performing arts and music, crafts, games, and movies
- worked with Councilperson Cleta Winslow to get the Atlanta City Council to impose a moratorium on new building permits in the neighborhood; this action curbed the construction of houses that were incompatible with nearby properties
- sponsored an SAT prep class for neighborhood youth at the Oakland City Recreation Center; attendees included players from the Atlanta Celtics AAU basketball team
- launched a community garden with support from a grant from Catholic Social Services, and created a children's garden club with students from Ragsdale Elementary School
- rallied neighbors to support creation of a local historic district, which ensures that new construction and major changes to existing properties complement the historic features of Oakland City
- provided significant input into the planning process for the Oakland City-Lakewood Livable Centers Initiative, which will eventually result in new development in the neighborhood
- spearheaded the creation of a neighborhood green space at the intersection of Oakland Drive and Merrill Avenue (with financial support from Park Pride, the City of Atlanta, and The Scotts Company)
- led efforts to install street sign toppers identifying the neighborhood as a national and local historic district
- worked with the Atlanta City Council to rezone the Oakland City Historic District in order to promote owner-occupied housing by requiring all new residential construction to be single-family homes
Our meetings are held on the second Saturday of each month from 10:00 a.m until 12:00 p.m. in the Community Room of Atlanta's Fire Station 14 on Avon Avenue at Lee Street.
Meetings are open to everyone, and often feature special guests such as elected and appointed officials, businesspeople, and others.
We also invite you to become a member of OCCO. By becoming a member, you are eligible to vote on issues important to our community, and your dues help pay for community-wide events and activities. Both residents and businesses are eligible for membership in OCCO.
Dues for residents and non-resident property owners are $15/year/person or $20/year/household. Dues for businesses are $50/year.