A map produced by Sandy Springs Hospitality and Tourism illustrates one of the problems of promoting Powers Ferry Landing’s business district, located in the lower left hand corner. It’s miles from the center of town.

City leaders say the Powers Ferry Landing’s business district needs more encouragement and attention to get it out of its rut.

Developers say the district has loads of undeveloped potential, but geography holds the area back. Many people aren’t aware Powers Ferry Landing is in Sandy Springs.

“We haven’t done a very good job of marketing this area,” Sandy Springs Mayor Eva Galambos said. “It’s a sleeping giant.”

Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tom Mahaffey summed up the feelings of business owners.

They feel like a “red-headed stepchild,” he said.

I-285 bisects the business district east of Northside Drive Northwest near the Cobb County line and a mile from the Chattahoochee River. It is four miles southwest of the heart of Sandy Springs

Business owners, elected officials and chamber members met at the Wyndham Atlanta Galleria on Aug. 28 for a brainstorming session, searching for ideas that will make their business district a destination point. The beige Wyndham hotel looks inconspicuous along Powers Ferry Road. Across the street a vacant building, formerly a Wendy’s Restaurant, has been on the market for a year.

Sandy Springs Hospitality and Tourism provided a map that illustrated the problem of identifying the district with the city.

The rectangular drawing provided great detail on the traditional heart of Sandy Springs, where I-285 and Roswell Road meet.

Sandy Springs Mayor Eva Galambos, left, Councilman Chip Collins, center and Ron Comacho, right, discuss ways to promote Powers Ferry Landing.

Powers Ferry? It was so far from the city center the tourism board tucked it into the left-hand corner inside a small circular map.

District 3 City Councilman Chip Collins, who represents part of the business district, said business owners in the area feel left out. “I think they don’t feel as connected because geographically they’re on the frontier of Sandy Springs,” Collins said.

Kirk Demetrops, a local real estate developer, said the interstate also provides challenges.

“I think the traffic on I-285 alone caused this area to be more difficult to get to,” he said.

Business owners think they can make coming to the area worth the effort.  Ideas include creating a sense of place by building gateway signs at the entrance roads, decorative guard rails along Northside Drive as it crosses I-285, building more sidewalks and encouraging stylish landscaping.

The business owners briefly discussed creating a Powers Ferry Business Alliance that would be an arm of the Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber.

District 6 Councilwoman Karen Meinzen McEnerny, the other council representative for Powers Ferry said the area has potential.

“You’ve got a wonderful place for live-work, mixed-use, with the parks, the neighborhoods you’ve got the infrastructure,” she said. “Everything is here.”

Rusty Paul, chairman of the Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber of Commerce, leads an Aug. 28, 2012 meeting of Powers Ferry Landing business owners and chamber officials.

Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011 - 2014. He is the founder and editor of Decaturish.com