The new City Springs logo as revealed at the Sept. 20 ceremony. (Photo by Phil Mosier)
The new City Springs logo as revealed at the Sept. 20 ceremony. (Photo by Phil Mosier)

“City Springs” is the new name for Sandy Springs’ massive new downtown-district redevelopment and its surrounding neighborhood, Mayor Rusty Paul revealed in a public ceremony Sept. 20.

“Welcome to everybody’s neighborhood—City Springs,” Paul said, unveiling a blue-green, fountain-like logo to a crowd of around 100 residents.

The ceremony for the project formerly known as City Center was held on the enormous, 15-acre construction site where Mount Vernon Highway and Johnson Ferry Road meet Roswell Road. The $220 million, public-private redevelopment underway will include a new City Hall, apartments, commercial space, and concert and theater halls. When it is finished in late 2017, it is expected to anchor a downtown district that city officials believe will unify the city.

“This is Sandy Springs’ gift to itself,” Paul said of the City Springs project. “The councilmen and I are just in charge of the wrapping paper.”

As part of the ceremony, Paul had asked residents to bring a jar of soil from their neighborhood to mingle in a planter. The soil eventually will be mixed into the City Springs landscaping to symbolize that it is “everybody’s neighborhood.” At least two dozen residents showed up with jars of dirt.

Paul recalled that the site was long known as “the old Target site” for a shuttered chain store, and more recently as City Center. But city officials were concerned that name was too generic to attract quality retailers and restaurants for what is envisioned as the city’s new downtown. They hired a branding firm to come up with a new name and logo, based in part on surveys of Sandy Springs residents.

“City Springs” was chosen to reflect the incorporation of the city 10 years ago and the historic spring that gave the area its name. The abstract, spray-like logo is intended to suggest both water and trees—“the things we think are important,” Paul said.

“From now on, if you call it City Center or the old Target site, you get fined $5,” Paul joked.

The first reaction from the crowd to the new logo was some murmuring, but eventually they applauded. “Wow, it’s gorgeous,” remarked one woman in the crowd.

Among those in the crowd was Frank Self, a Dunwoody resident who grew up on the City Springs site in the 1940s, when it was a residential community. He said the entire block was bought and demolished in the 1970s.

“We used to come over, pick blackberries and get water from the spring,” Self recalled, describing the City Springs project as “mind-boggling.”

Whispering Pines residents (from left) Mel Mobley and father Vann McNeill with children Ravi, 2, and Seema, 1, contribute local soil to the City Springs site on Sept. 20. (Photo by Phil Mosier)

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.