District 3 Atlanta City Council member Ivory Lee Young Jr. passed away peacefully Friday at a local hospital. He was 56 years old.
Funeral services for the longtime council member will be announced, according to a statement from the Atlanta City Council. Young’s family has asked for privacy at this time.
“(My husband) Derek and I offer heartfelt condolences to the entire Young family,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who also served on the Atlanta City Council alongside Young. “(Young’s) love of God, family, and community was evident in his word and deeds. I was privileged to call Ivory a colleague and friend and am eternally grateful for his love and devotion to our city.”
Having served on the council since January 2002, Young had been elected to a fourth term last fall. His district was comprised of several communities on the west side of Atlanta, including English Avenue, Washington Park, and Vine City.
At the time of his passing, Young was also serving on the Atlanta City Council’s City Utilities and Community Development/Human Services committees as well as the Committee on Council. During his tenure, he served as a member of most of the council committees, including serving as chair of the Zoning Committee.
“Our hearts are deeply saddened by his death as we send our prayers and unwavering support to his wife, Mrs. Shalise Steele-Young, and family,” said Felicia Moore, president of the Atlanta City Council. “Councilman Young fought as hard for his constituents as he did for his own life, during a long battle against cancer.
“May he be remembered for the measurable accomplishments he made on behalf of citizens in Southwest Atlanta and most of all, for his indomitable human spirit,” she continued.
According to his staff, Young had been on leave since early September to undergo a stem-cell transplant.
“My faith has never been stronger,” Young said before undergoing treatment. “The grace and mercy of Jesus Christ have been with me from the moment of this diagnosis.”
When asked what message he wanted to share with constituents in his absence, Young said, “Atlanta City Council District 3 is alive and well. We have challenges that we have to overcome in the city… (but) we’re excited about the future.”
During his council tenure, Young’s strong leadership and collaborative problem-solving skills resulted in adopting policies with long-term positive impact on the city.
With support from former Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration through the Department of Planning, Young successfully completed “Westside Revive,” an unprecedented initiative that created redevelopment plans for neighborhoods that had not benefited from traditional economic opportunities.
An avid Atlanta Falcons fan, he helped oversee the completion of the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, also located in District 3.
Young’s active role in the redevelopment of the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive corridor resulted in more than $65 million for the completion of the Historic Westside Village project that served as a catalyst for continued investments.
Young lent his legislative support for the creation of the Atlanta Citizens Review Board and abolished the Disorderly Conduct 6 statute that unfairly profiled citizens in underserved neighborhoods, after the shooting death of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston by Atlanta Police.
He also supported the funding of police and fire equipment to enhance public safety throughout his district, including infrastructure improvements and cameras.
A native of Butler, Alabama, Young earned a Bachelor of Architecture from Hampton University. He played trumpet on The Marching Force. He was also a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA, for which he once served as vice president of the organization’s Atlanta chapter.
Young grew up wanting to be an architect and worked in that industry for more than 30 years.
“I really love construction,” Young once said. “When I was younger, I spent many summers with my uncles doing construction projects. That experience really gave me a love for the built environment and being able to shape things from ideas and concepts.”