Dec. 1 was a working holiday for the Sandy Springs City Council, whose regular meeting date happened to fall on the city’s milestone 10th anniversary. Business mixed with pleasure; Mercedes-Benz USA got a tax-break and the audience got birthday cake.
Mayor Rusty Paul issued a proclamation praising Sandy Springs citizens for the long battle to achieve cityhood in 2005 and their ongoing civic activism. Elected officials have “the privilege to sit up here,” the mayor said, but “what makes this community truly, truly great is not us. It’s the people who live here.”
Before the council meeting, about two-dozen people attended a City Hall open house, touring various departments alongside the mayor and councilmen. The traffic management center—where engineers tackle everyone’s favorite local evil with a wall of live camera feeds—stole the show.
Attendees were welcome to share a birthday cake and were given commemorative pins depicting a flying pig—a symbol of Sandy Springs’ founding and later cityhood efforts. It was inspired by a supposed remark by state Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, that Sandy Springs would become a city when “pigs will fly.” The cake was served in the Flying Pig board room.
Long after the meeting, Paul and Councilman Tibby DeJulio remained at the dais—beneath a painting of the late founding Mayor Eva Galambos—and reminisced about Day One.
Paul remembered the new council coming in at 12:01 a.m. to hurriedly pass provisional codes so Sandy Springs wouldn’t be “the Wild, Wild West or Dodge City of redevelopment.”
DeJulio recounted Congressman John Lewis’s surprise backing of a cityhood vote as a matter of civil rights.
In his remarks about the proclamation, Paul at one point compared Sandy Springs’ fight for local control with World War II’s Siege of Bastogne.
“They refused to give in. They fought to preserve the community,” he said of residents. “A community that is as tough and as committed to an idea as this community was must be saved and deserves the best we can give it.”
“So, Sandy Springs, happy birthday,” he concluded. “Now we’ll go on to approve a public alcohol license.”