ATLANTA -- For 30 years, Warren Bruno made Atlanta a better place for those he knew. On Wednesday the Virginia Highland community leader and restaurateur died of complications with cancer.
Bruno was a visionary in the Virginia Highland neighborhood.
In 1982, Bruno bought the Atkins Park Tavern on North Highland. But at the time -- the neighborhood was in poor shape and the street was downtrodden.
Homes in the area were inexpensive and the neighborhood was struggling. However, Bruno saw something else.
He was a pioneer of a new urban life -- he foresaw what the Virginia Higland neighborhood would come to be. Bruno was the first stone in rebuilding Virginia Highland.
Hip dining, fancy drinks, expensive clothes and pricey hair cutting.
It wasn't that way in 1982 when he first came on the scene. Without Bruno, maybe revitalization would have been delayed; he helped raise money for the Atlanta police, he found dollars for Morningside Elementary and he created something called Summerfest, which has grown into an annual Midtown event that draws nearly 100,000 people into the Virginia Highland neighborhood.
During his time in Atlanta, he ran for city council and almost won, and served on the city liquor control board, but his contributions to the Virginia Highland neighborhood will be remembered the most.