Last week, Larry Young, President of the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods, encouraged residents to get involved in the downtown planning process.
City Council members agree citizen involvement is essential, particularly since the new City Hall location has not been decided.
“I’m excited about getting fresh eyes on this and getting new people in our community that maybe haven’t been speaking out,” said Dianne Fries during a City Council retreat on Tuesday.
“I want to hear from those quiet ones,” The Councilwoman added.
Goody Clancy, the master planning firm selected to develop a concept for a new downtown area, intends to meet with business owners, and neighborhood and community leaders on April 23 and 24.
A new downtown area would include a mix of retail, greenspace, and livable communities with a library and City Hall building said David Dixon, Principal in Charge of Planning and Urban Design, at the master planning firm.
Dixon said he is counting on community interest and participation. “We need to [understand and] know what you know about this place and how it looks to you,” he said, referring to residents.
Public meetings and community workshops will be held starting May 8th. Marketplace opportunities and challenges, transportation issues, parking ideas, and environmental issues will be a part of the discussion.
During the daylong City Council retreat in the new Heritage Hall, at Heritage Sandy Springs, Dixon emphasized that a walkable community is essential to economic growth. Many well-educated younger households want a walkable environment, he said, adding that today workers follow lifestyles, not jobs.
So if Sandy Springs attracts young people who have embraced its brand and lifestyle, businesses will likely follow.
He added that Sandy Springs has work to do on the transportation front. Traffic congestion is rising more in the Atlanta metro area than other places, and increased congestion means a loss of jobs.
Fast Facts by Dixon
- Sandy Springs has a higher concentration of older singles and couples households.
- Sandy Springs has higher housing values than other communities.
- Sixty percent of all households in the Atlanta area are singles and couples.
- Married couples with children are less than 22 percent of households.
- Non-family households outnumber traditional families in the suburbs.
- Traditional one-worker families are less than 10 percent of households.