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WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Georgia Aquarium and Point Mallard Park

The opening of the Georgia Aquarium later this month in downtown Atlanta illustrates what makes some cities great.

They keep reinvesting in themselves.

As traffic became a nightmare, people began looking for excuses not to go downtown. But, Atlanta makes it difficult for people to stay away. With Centennial Olympic Park, the Georgia Dome, and the CNN Center, downtown still draws.

But its attraction will broaden when the world's largest indoor aquarium opens Nov. 23 in the park.

It may draw 2 million visitors in the first year.

A new World of Coca-Cola will open there in two years and become another magnet that lures tourists back to Atlanta, even as its traffic grows more unwieldy.

Gee, you might say, having the aquarium as a gift from The Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus made redevelopment easy. Coca-Cola, born and bred in Atlanta, made the museum a natural for the city, too.

Both corporations are part of a philosophy of giving back to the community that built Atlanta and now helps to overcome white flight.

Mr. Marcus said the museum is a "thank you."

Thinking of the world's largest aquarium that's about to open isn't a long leap to thinking about Decatur's Point Mallard Park and the opportunities we have here.

Decatur doesn't have Home Depot and Coca-Cola as benefactors, but it has people who still believe in the city's future. Vibrancy requires renewal through private/public partnerships. But they are yet to catch the imagination of most local investors and City Hall.

Point Mallard could draw thousands of vacationers each year if we were to take advantage of the Tennessee River. The challenge is something to consider as the city struggles to keep its job base.

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