For the first six years of its existence, the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods worked directly with Fulton County on behalf of the neighborhoods. We dealt with seven commissioners, only one of whom had our interests at heart.
We had successes. However, we still suffered while watching huge amounts of our tax dollars being diverted to both north and south Fulton. Our roads were potholed, police and fire departments were understaffed for the needs of the community, and the response times were bad.
Since cityhood, we’ve gained award-winning fire and police departments as well as a volunteer COPS program that’s a big success.
We’ve gained better roads and more sidewalks. We’ve gained the cleanup of garbage-strewn, deteriorated sections of town. We’ve gained repairs of broken stormwater systems. We’ve gained more and better parks.
We’ve also gained a traffic control system that helps the traffic flow along Roswell and Abernathy roads. None—not one—of these would have been implemented at the level of quality we have seen had we not become a city.
Yes, we have rezonings that bring additional traffic, but this would have occurred even in Fulton County—and, believe me, with far less care, less quality and less thought given to impact mitigation.
If you look at the total picture and the total scorecard, we’ve gained, and those gains are huge. For our future, the challenge will be to control quality. The concerns need to be focused on: the quality of the homes and projects being built; the quality of our natural environment—preservation of trees and green space; the quality of our schools; and our quality of life. Traffic is a huge detriment to our quality of life today.
Infill development is of major concern in the neighborhoods. We don’t think anyone is against more people—it’s just how to include them without chopping down all the trees and gridlocking our roads.
We do want new businesses. We will have new residents. We want everyone to share a fantastic quality of life in a beautiful city.
Trisha Thompson is the president of the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods.