Crowd attends Greater Lithonia Chamber of Commerce’s “Tale of Two Cities” luncheon

January 15, 20205min3281
Mayor & Mayor
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L-R: Lithonia Mayor Shemeeka Reynolds and  Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary


Today (Jan. 15), the Greater Lithonia Chamber of Commerce kicked off its first meeting of the year with a packed house of business executives and community leaders.

Chamber President Kendra Price said she was pleased with the turnout and invited those attending to get ready to roll up their sleeves to work together and build communities.

The luncheon meeting featured keynote speakers, Lithonia Mayor Shemeeka Reynolds, who was recently elected to lead the city of about 3,000 residents after serving eight years on the City Council, and Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary, who was recently re-elected to a second term as the founder, visionary and leader of DeKalb County’s largest municipality with 54,000 residents. Lary told the audience that Stonecrest is the 16thlargest city in the state of Georgia and that he has been asked to be one of five mayors who will soon meet with Georgia’s governor.

The chamber, which billed the luncheon meeting as “A Tale of Two Cities,” gave Reynolds and Lary a chance to discuss their cities’ futures. Both mayors shared their vision for growing and improving the quality of life for their residents, and providing business opportunities, jobs and economic development.

Reynolds, who spoke first at the luncheon, said she planned to work toward improving the entrances to Lithonia and infrastructure and providing more programs to help the city’s elderly and children, while pushing to bring more businesses to Main Street and more visitors to Lithonia’s designated historic and cultural landmarks. Reynolds said the landmarks include Lithonia’s Bruce Street School, the first school for blacks in DeKalb County; the Lithonia Woman’s Club; and the former building that served as Antioch-Lithonia Missionary Baptist Church, which turns 151 years old this year and is the first African-American church in DeKalb County.  The maternal grandfather of Dr. Martin Luther King,Jr.,A. D. Williams, served as a pastor of Antioch-Lithonia from the late 1800s to 1924.

“We have a lot of rich history in the city of Lithonia. Our downtown has been designated by the historical society for grant building…Businesses are coming back into Lithonia and hiring from within,” said Reynolds. “I want to make Lithonia a destination.  I will work with the mayor of my sister city—the city of Stonecrest—and work closely with out local, state and federal partners to bring all of the resources possible to our area.”

Lary said he plans to continue building on the city’s progress during his second term in office. He touted the StonecrestDevelopment Authority’s  recent approval of a $700 million revenue bond, which will pave the way to bring development to a 300-acre tract around the Mall at Stonecrest over the next five years.  He said in addition to new commercial development, Stonecrest and Lithonia are perfectly positioned to bring more commerce through the film industry  because of their  proximity to I-20 and Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport. Several projects have been filmed in both cities.

“You will not recognize Lithonia and Stonecrest in five years,” said Lary. “Where we are today is that the film studios are lined up between our two cities to not only just film but to make sure they film, build and create jobs for Stonecrest and Lithonia

Lary said the city also plans to bring green businesses, warehouses and light industry to Stonecrest, saying city officials would be looking very closely at any operations that could be “toxic” or harmful to residents.


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One comment

  • S

    January 17, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    Hmmm…if those are the businesses that the mayor is proposing,he should keep it. Warehouses is one thing that isnt needed there .

    With the exception of the green businesses, I fail to see the excitement with the others. Technically, you may as well say that some of them are ” toxic” and when it comes to most African American communities,owners/ CEOs don’t mind putting poisonous businesses in them. When you put such businesses such as the majority of the ones listed on here, you’re opening the doors for them doing just that. Evidently,he must not have looked at what’s taking place in Newton/ Cobb Countries with the toxic fumes. A year ago,the people in Union City was pissed after learning that their commissioner ideas of ” constructive ” development on their city equated to boring warehouses being built in their part of town ( Ironically, it too isn’t far away from a movie studio).

    I couldn’t blame the good people of Union City for their disappointment. What kind of quality business warehouses will bring? Absolutely nothing! When I think of businesses I think of retail,technology…jobs that isnt related to Hollywood or warehouses.

    If I or anyone else want to see Hollywood,I could go there myself.From time to time I thought about moving to Stonecrest, Lithonia or Conyers because they feel more down home and family oriented but if Mayor Mary’s s plan to make Stonecrest into Hollywood #6 , I’ll pass.


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