What happens to good city planners?

They become Master Chocolate Bar Wrappers!!


Three generations in the craft chocolate business.

Here’s Tom Weyandt …  “When I am working at the chocolate counter, and I talk to people about chocolate, they smile at me.  This has usually not happened in my career.  I have worked for three mayors – Maynard, Shirley, and Kasim. (I did not work for Bill Campbell.)  Unlike many city planners, I was able to stay in my city and watch forty-five years of change.  I started at the bottom and worked to the top.

Now at the end of the day, I can see what I have done—two or three hundred very well wrapped chocolate bars. That instant gratification didn’t happen often at all in my planning career. Let me just say that planning takes a while.

For instance,  in the early nineties, Maynard asked me to go with him to see President Carter out at the Carter Center where Maynard  was trying to explain to  President Carter that the city wasn’t going to build the road the president wanted us to build to the Carter Center. And President Carter was trying to tell Maynard that the city had to build exactly that road to the Carter Center.  President Carter became very emotional about the perils to the Carter Center if the road wasn’t  built, and Maynard just kept saying again and again, “President Carter, the city is not going to build that road.” All this time, Mrs. Carter was sitting there with the lemonade and cookies. I said absolutely nothing and kept my eyes sort of lowered.  It was an extraordinary and intense meeting.

On the way back we were passing by the old Sears building, and Maynard glanced over and said “I want you to buy that for me.”  And I said, “Why??”

Well, all these years later the old Sears Building, after many iterations, has turned into fabulous Ponce City Market.  And the road that President Carter wanted was not built, but a much better, less neighborhood-disrupting road was built—Freedom Parkway.


And me, I’m babysitting and I’m a master chocolate bar wrapper at Matt and Elaine’s store in the  also fabulous Krog Street Market.”

The thing that is interesting about planning is it takes a while. And masterly chocolate bar-wrapping does, too.  Thanks, Traffic Wise Man Tom.

Martha +








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