The Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods is entering a new year with a new leader willing to focus on issues like neighborhood safety – without making a choice in the battle for the city.

Debra Wathen, a native of Atlanta and a resident of Paces, heads the influential coalition of neighborhood and condominium associations after more than a decade of engagement, including as vice chairman. She replaces Mary Norwood, who this month began serving as a new member of District 8 Atlanta City Council.

“I believe strongly in the Buckhead Council because I believe that all neighborhoods need a vote,” Wathen said in a recent interview. “I feel ready and prepared. … I just have the feeling that the organization is on good, solid ground at this point in time. “

Wathen was born in a public house on Luckie Street while her father was attending Georgia Tech. He later became an architect specializing in public housing. She grew up in Brookwood Hills when the area …

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