With 2020 upon us, here’s a look back at some of the Sandy Springs Reporter’s top stories for the month of February in recent history.

5 Years Ago: 2015

“Amid safety concerns, Lake Forrest Dam faces uncertain future”

State-mandate repairs to Lake Forrest Dam, which runs beneath Lake Forrest Drive on the Sandy Springs-Atlanta border, were discussed at a Buckhead meeting. It was the beginning of a lengthy process to drain a pond and examine the condition of the dam, which is listed as “high-hazard” by the state because, if it failed during a catastrophic storm, the flooding would likely kill people downstream. “Your dam right now has some severe deficiencies,” said Chuck Wilson of Schnabel Engineering, who was hired by the two cities to review the dam, at the time.

Today, the cities and a group of private owners have approved a $4.8 million reconstruction plan that is likely still years away. Meanwhile, some homeowners have sued over the work so far, saying it diminished their property.

“City officials consider ways to direct ‘fast and furious’ growth”

With development booming after the Great Recession, the city prepared to redo its land-use plan to deal with it. “The bricks and mortar follow the dollars, and that’s not the way to grow a community,” said then Community Development Director Angela Parker. The city had been rezoning properties on a project-by-project basis and was frequently setting moratoriums on development. The city went on to establish its “Next Ten” review process that culminated in new a land-use plan and zoning code.

10 Years Ago: 2010

“City plans discussions of services contract”

After its incorporation in 2005, Sandy Springs famously outsourced most of its city government operations to a single private contractor, CH2M Hill. In 2010, the city faced its first rebidding of the privatization contract and announced a series of public meetings for community input. “The whole idea is, how do we make this as transparent and as efficient as possible?” said City Councilmember Tibby DeJulio at the time. The city eventually soured on the deal and split the services up into multiple contracts with several companies. Last year, in a major but quiet change, the city brought most of its services in-house. That change in turn is expected to be reviewed again this year.

John Ruch

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