SUMMECH CDC was founded
by the late Rosa M. Burney and J. Lowell Ware to support the
revitalization of the Mechanicsville neighborhood. Mechanicsville
is located immediately south of downtown Atlanta and bounded
by I-20 to the north, I-75/85 to the east, and the Southern
Railroad to the west and south. Mrs. Rosa Burney was a long
time resident of Mechanicsville and a community activist committed
to the rejuvenation of a socially and economically depressed
neighborhood that was once healthy and vibrant. Mr. Ware was
co-founder of the Atlanta Voice Newspaper, moved to an office
in the Mechanicsville neighborhood in 1972. Mr. Ware and Ms.
Burney watched the neighborhood undergo many changes during
the 1970’s and 80’s that left the community nearly crippled. As a result, population declined and the neighborhood continued to spiral downward to a state of economic distress and physical blight.
SUMMECH laid the foundation for successful revitalization in Mechanicsville by organizing an effective and active neighborhood association, the Mechanicsville Civic Association (MCA). SUMMECH and MCA became effective partners at working together with the City of Atlanta to develop the Mechanicsville Community
Redevelopment Plan. SUMMECH was instrumental in the City’s success in attracting $5.65 million dollars in EDI/108 Funds for the redevelopment of Mechanicsville. SUMMECH was also effective in working with the City of Atlanta to designate a targeted section of the neighborhood as a Housing Enterprise Zone, which provides a ten-year abatement of real estate taxes and impact fees. In 1994, Mechanicsville became one of 13 Atlanta neighborhoods designated an Empowerment Zone. The work prepared the way for rehab and new construction projects in Mechanicsville.