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Community call for enhanced safety measures after accident kills teenager

Center Hill President Rolanda Powell on Fox 5 News
Center Hill President Rolanda Powell on Fox 5 News

For Immediate Release

September 11, 2019

Contact: Rolanda Powell

Center Hill Neighborhood Association, President

Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway safety

Once again, the Center Hill Community is mourning the loss of a young life. Fourteen-year-old Jermaine M. Wallace Jr. was en route to Douglas High School on Thursday morning, September 5, 2019, when he was struck by a car on Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway (DLHPKWY)/State Highway 78. “J.J” succumbed to his injuries the following day. No charges have been brought against the driver.

Center Hill Neighborhood Association (CHNA), the recognized neighborhood association for the Center Hill community is calling for the Georgia Department of Transportation to conduct a swift, yet comprehensive revision to the current safety mechanisms in place for both pedestrian and motoring traffic. This busy thoroughfare is home to a senior housing community, Center Hill Park, zone 1 precinct for the Atlanta Police Department, as well as multiple businesses, churches and MARTA bus stops.

While our community has waged this battle for over ten years, witnessing numerous pedestrian fatalities over this span, we have garnered the support of our elected officials.

City of Atlanta Council Representative Dustin Hillis expressed his concerns regarding the lack of a crosswalk along the entire stretch of DLHPKWY from State Highway 280 (Hamilton E. Holmes Drive) for approximately a mile east.

“I have begged and pleaded to Georgia Department of Transportation to install (or at least allow City of Atlanta Department of Public Works to install) more crosswalks along this stretch to no avail. Felicia A. Moore did the same for many years.” Dustin Hillis.

Mr. Hillis also noted that the previous council representative, Ms. Felecia Moore made a plea to the Georgia Department of Transportation to install at least one crosswalk along the route. The appeal was ultimately declined, and a cautionary sign advising drivers to reduce their speed in front of the park was installed in lieu of the enhanced measures requested. A formal request for assistance has been made to State House Representative, Ms. Sheila Jones (House District 53) and will be made to State Senator, Horecena Tate, District 38.

The Center Hill community was patient, compliant and peaceful, while GDOT completed the required traffic study, yet continuously refused requests for enhanced safety measures. What appears to be an obvious disregard for human life and safety for motoring residents along this corridor is no longer acceptable. Our community is rapidly growing and changing; we must keep up. We welcome productive dialogue and subsequent action on behalf of our residents.


Rolanda Powell

CHNA President

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Leah LaRue, Assistant Director, Neighborhood Planning Units, City of Atlanta

Rolanda has done an amazing job of pulling together her neighbors to form CHNA, and they were directly involved in leading the efforts to bring pedestrian safety to Hollowell.


Alan Holmes, Senior Assistant to Council Member Dustin Hillis
Atlanta City Council, District 9

Rolanda has been a great leader and advocates on behalf of the Center Hill Neighborhood Association. I have worked with her on a few projects and always look forward to doing so because of her creativity, marketing skills, and passion for improving the community.


Najla Slowe, MBA

Working alongside Rolanda at Georgia Tech for nearly two years, I have watched her grow in her craft. She is a visionary and a catalyst in her community. She brings that same energy of wanting future growth and fostering creativity into her profession.