Since March 13, the coronavirus pandemic has imposed an historic metamorphosis on Emory Village. Once well-worn sidewalks pave the way to temporarily closed restaurants and stores, and vacant parking lots leave only the bravest cars to bake under Georgia’s summer sun. Occasionally, village-goers simply walk up to the doors of their favorite restaurants, toting children and over-walked dogs, and remember what once was—all of the Mother’s Day brunches at Rise-n-Dine, the before-school excursions to CVS to pick up that gift card for that friend’s birthday you forgot, and the weekends spent lounging in Ali’s Cookies.
But today, within the pandemic plagued Village, the “palpable impact of COVID-19 is the economic devastation of the businesses.” says Todd Hill, chair of the Emory Village Alliance. EVA remains loyal to the struggling enterprises. “We are patronizing the businesses ourselves,” Hill says, “and are encouraging the broader community to do the same.”
Hill reports that EVA has shifted to online monthly meetings and is working to improve the Village on behalf of all of its users “by work days, lighting the roundabout trees, keeping the plaza fountain clean and operational, maintaining the streetscape plantings, working with the county to install a pedestrian crosswalk signal, and our upcoming streetlight banner campaign.” Among EVA’s recent successes was a salute to local graduates’ with a drive-through celebration. “EVA posted a banner celebrating the spring graduates, and Emory Villagers and neighbors cheered on the parade of graduates as they drove through Emory Village.”
Despite the ongoing health crisis, Hill reports that EVA still plans to host the annual Open Streets event. “The 8th Annual Open Streets Emory Village will be a hybrid series of activities held both virtually and in the Village,” Hill says. “EVA is considering a fundraising effort that would be associated with the Open Streets Emory Village event and may benefit businesses.”
EVA plans for a host of village-life improvements demonstrate that it’s definitely not giving up on Emory Village. “As we continue to live the new normal,” Hill says, “we will seek ways to help businesses and keep the Village a vibrant community center—including more social media outreach, focused highlights on specific businesses, and acknowledgement of the healthcare providers in our community.”
—By Megan Walter, EVA high school intern
Emory Village Alliance is on Instagram: Feel free to post your photos using the hashtags #emoryvillage or #myemoryvillage.