By MARY MACDONALD, DOUG NURSE The Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionPublished on: 11/29/07
It's been an action-packed year for new cities on the Northside, especially for Johns Creek and Milton.
Both became officially functioning cities on Dec. 1, 2006, and had to deal with the challenges of jump-starting a municipality and coping with all the details involved. And after one year, both cities have achieved varying levels of success in different arenas.
Sandy Springs, which opened for business in 2005, marks its second birthday Saturday, without much fanfare planned.Here's a look back at some of the key events over the past 12 months.
• Accomplishments: Founded a police and fire department, revamped zoning rules, beefed up code enforcement and, most recently, authorized a dog park. In September, approved a master plan for what officials hope will become a signature public space — a linear park along Abernathy Road.
• Biggest challenges: Creating a tree ordinance that could satisfy environmental concerns and respect individual property rights. Many residents were disappointed in the result. Continuing to make headway in what many residents say are backlogged needs, such as code enforcement, road repaving, parks improvements and traffic relief.
• On the agenda for 2008: Carrying through with the promises of a new comprehensive plan. Moving ahead in creating greenspace along Abernathy Road. Creating a dog park at the Great Park at Morgan Falls.
• Population: About 87,000, making it the seventh-largest city in Georgia.
• Square miles:37
• Median household income: $77,800.
• City employees: 350.
• Anniversary celebration: A low-key affair of cake and punch and a video of key moments at City Hall, 5-6 p.m. Tuesday, before the City Council meets for a regular session.
What they're saying: "Despite some disappointments, the city's transition to independence has been smooth. Overall, particularly considering what we were trying to accomplish, it's been incredibly painless." LARRY YOUNG, President of the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods.
• Accomplishments: Founded a police department, fire department, municipal court, planning and zoning and code enforcement and passed a $17 million budget.
• Biggest challenges: Balancing growth and keeping the rural feel of the community; locating and building a new City Hall; and acquiring land and improving parks.
• On the agenda for 2008: Developing a comprehensive plan, a roadmap for virtually all future development; traffic congestion.
• Population: 20,000
• Average home price on the market: $800,000
• Square miles: 44
• Sworn police: 21
• Firefighters: 38
• Anniversary celebration: Held in September
What they're saying: "I'm looking forward to a better 2008 than we had in 2007. We had kind of a rocky start with the missed deadline that cost $900,000, and the City Council arguing rather than doing anything. But they did get the city up and running. I've had to call [city hall] and ask questions before and the city is very responsive and they're very friendly. It's night and day with what we had before." CHRIS CUPIT, Golf course owner.
• Accomplishments: Founded municipal court, planning and zoning and code enforcement and passed a $44 million budget.
• Biggest challenges: Building up the reserves for favorable bond ratings; acquiring land and developing parks; traffic congestion.
• On the agenda for 2008: Launching police and fire departments; developing a comprehensive plan, a roadmap for virtually all future development; traffic congestion.
• Population: 63,000
• Average home price on the market: $400,000
• Square miles: 32
• Sworn police (starting in April): 56
• Anniversary celebration: Founder's Day, Saturday
9 a.m. —11Alive anchor Karyn Greer and U.S. Marines kick off celebration at State Bridge and Jones Bridge
10 a.m.—Parade starts west on State Bridge Road to Kimball Bridge Road; includes floats, Shriners, high school marching bands, antique cars and Santa
1-3 p.m.—Barbecue, face-painting, gymnastics demonstrations and Santa at Newtown Park
3:30 p.m.—Tree planting at City Hall, 12000 Findley Road
5-7:15 p.m.—Music and lights performances by high school students Lights at City Hall, and Technology Park-Johns Creek at West Johns Crossing; birthday cake and hot chocolate
What they're saying:"They've done a lot of stuff. A lot of basics have been taken care of. They haven't addressed transportation although they've started to address police and fire. The greenway is an important issue that hasn't been funded. I have my aggravations but things are being done slowly." DAVID KORNBLUH, Software developer.