Technology upgrades and commute times were on Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul’s mind when he spoke March 25 at the High Point Civic Association’s annual meeting.
Sandy Springs officials are working with the Internet company after the recent announcement that Sandy Springs is one of 34 cities in the country in the running for Google’s fiber optic network.
“If Google doesn’t come, we’ll find somebody else to come in,” he said.
Paul also said business owners and city officials must find ways to shorten commute times, he added.
“We need more people who work here to live here,” he told the about 150 people attending the gathering at the Church of the Atonement. “We’re not going to be able to build our way out of it.”
He said housing incentives were one way to keep workers in the area. Paul specifically referred to hospital employees, police officers and firefighters. He said he is working with hospitals in the area to come up with housing incentives for employees to help shorten commutes. “We’ve got to rethink how we deal with problems,” he said.
Besides housing incentives, he said he would like to see employers promote using MARTA and to think about staggering commute times. “We’ve got to think in different terms than we ever thought of before, or else we’ll just be sitting in our cars,” Paul said.
“I need your help in how we go through this and think through the process,” Paul told members of the High Point association, the largest civic association in Sandy Springs. It represents about 4,000 homes in neighborhoods in the High Point area.
He told the group that it should be a model for the city. “You’ve done something here,” he said, by creating a larger community from smaller neighborhoods.
City Councilman Tibby DeJulio, who represents the High Point area, told association members that a Windsor Parkway/Roswell Road realignment should be started by the end of the year. The roadwork was required by the Georgia Department of Transportation as part of the future Gateway mixed-use development project, which the HPCA publically supported.
The development will bring in new apartments and retail space, while dilapidated apartments are being torn down. DeJulio said that while some homeowners were concerned that the project is bringing in more apartments, the units have fewer bedrooms than before, which translates to fewer residents.
“Demographics of the apartments are changing,” he said. He said larger one- and two-bedroom apartments “are attracting one and two occupants, instead of five and six and seven occupants, in the apartments.”
–Ann Marie Quill