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Sandy Springs at Ten

The city of Sandy Springs is in the midst of creating a downtown called “City Springs,” located between Roswell Road and Sandy Springs Circle, and bounded by Johnson Ferry Road to the north and Mount Vernon Highway to the south. AERIAL PHOTO FOR REPORTER NEWSPAPERS

Decades in the making City reinventing itself BY DYANA BAGBY


n a recent Friday evening, families and couples were filling up Nancy G’s, the casual dining restaurant tucked into a back corner of the Fountain Oaks Shopping Center off Roswell Road.



“I can’t believe it’s been 10 years,” says Nancy Goodrich, owner of the restaurant, as she greets customers at the door. Although she’s speaking of the anniversary of her dining spot, she also knows that Nancy G’s shares its anniversary with the beginning of incorporated Sandy Springs. “I feel like we’re growing up together,” she said.

That $220 million redevelopment fulfills a major promise the city made in its first decade: to create a new downtown. But, as the mayor’s ceremony of symbolic unity suggests, Sandy Springs is also still in the process of inventing itself.


elcome to everybody’s neighborhood,” said Mayor Rusty Paul at September’s groundbreaking at City Springs, as two dozen residents heeded his call to bring soil from their neighborhoods to mingle at the site.


NOV. 27 – DEC. 10, 2015 | 1


Sandy Springs at Ten


Consistency in service and food are what make Nancy G’s successful today, Goodrich says. And she believes those traits are also what makes Sandy Springs a thriving city now. For City Councilman Tibby DeJulio, elected to represent District 5 in the city’s first election a decade ago and who still sits on the council, it is consistency and quality of service from the city’s government that ensures its approximately 102,000 residents are safe and pleased with its leadership. “The city is run on a very professional basis,” he said. “Not only have we evolved and progressed better than we expected, we have done better than we ever hoped to.”

DECADES OF LOBBYING FOR CITY In 1987, DeJulio became embroiled in a zoning battle with Fulton County when county officials planned to tear down houses across the street from his home in order to build apartment buildings. DeJulio said he argued before the Fulton County Commission to stop the plans — and he won. Shortly after,


City Springs THEN: The Owens family poses in front of their home around 1898 on what is now the City Springs site. The house stood in the area of the former Target store along Mount Vernon Highway. (Photo: Heritage Sandy Springs) NOW: An illustration released by the city earlier this year of one of the City Springs redevelopment buildings under construction on the site now. City Springs is set to open in late 2017.

2005 Legislature approves creation of the city of Sandy Springs.





he met Eva Galambos, known as the mother of Sandy Springs. “She told me what she was trying to do and asked me to join,” DeJulio remembered. “And then I went to a meeting of the Committee for Sandy Springs.” Galambos and others had formed the committee in 1975 after the city of Atlanta attempted to annex Sandy Springs. Those living in Sandy Springs were unhappy with Fulton County services, such as police protection, and they also felt their tax dollars were being used to bolster the less financially stable south Fulton. Zoning battles between Sandy Springs and the county, which wanted more development, were common. And while state Democrats accused the Sandy Springs cityhood movement of being nothing more than “white flight” and used their power in the General Assembly to block cityhood efforts, DeJulio said Sandy Springs residents were simply tired of being tied to a non-responsive Fulton County government. One county study showed Sandy Springs residents sent $91 million more to Fulton County than they received in services annually. The first meetings of the Committee for Sandy Springs were primarily organizational, DeJulio said. They dealt with matters such as determining what kind of structure the city would have and who would be making decisions. The meetings were held in members’ homes, in boardrooms of local businesses and also in the Sandy Springs United Methodist Church. “It was a time when we knew we had a lot of work to do, a lot of people to lobby. Atlanta was very open about wanting to annex us only for our revenue — the city never talked about what it could do to help Sandy Springs,” DeJulio said. And lobby they did. Volunteers with the committee spent weeks and months, eventually more than 20 years, lobbying legislators under the Gold Dome, asking them to pass legislation to put a referendum on the ballot that would give residents of Sandy Springs a chance to vote to incorporate their city. “Every year we hoped, and every year we tried different angles at the Legislature,” said Carolyn Axt, recently retired executive director of Leadership Sandy Springs. “Eva would come and talk to our class every year and give an update on efforts. And every year we


Voters approve Sandy Springs formally incorporates, the creation of the city of first new city in Georgia in nearly 50 years. Eva Sandy Springs. NinetyGalambos is elected the city’s first mayor. Tibby four percent say yes. DeJulio, Dianne Fries, Karen Meinzen McEnerny and Pictured right: Rusty Paul are elected to the first city council. DaEva Galambos with key to vid Greenspan and Ashley Jenkins later win runoff the new city. elections to take seats on the inaugural council. | NOV. 27 – DEC. 10, 2015 |

wouldn’t quite get it through.” DeJulio said he and Galambos spent many days and nights speaking publicly about the benefits of incorporating Sandy Springs, including having local governmental control and deciding how the city’s money would be spent. Three studies done by the Vinson Institute of the University of Georgia showed cityhood was right for Sandy Springs, he said. “When we had debates on the pros and cons of cityhood, we were hard pressed to find someone from the other side. We often had to get someone from Atlanta or from Fulton County to represent the opposition,” DeJulio said. In 2005, with Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue in office and a Republican majority in the House and Senate, Sandy Springs finally got its wish — the Legislature authorized a referendum for Sandy Springs. This marked the first time in some 50 years that residents would get to vote to create a new city in Georgia. “Eva came to talk to our class that year and said, ‘Guess what? We’re going to have a city,’” Axt remembered. “And then we had a short time to put everything together and the community quickly came together. The dog had caught the train and we had to make sure we were ready.”

‘A CITY RUN ON A PROFESSIONAL BASIS’ The referendum was set for June 21, 2005. When the votes were counted, 94 percent of Sandy Springs’ voters said they wanted to incorporate. “It was a day of great celebration. We met that night at Heritage Sandy Springs and celebrated and proclaimed victory. But we also knew it was the beginning of a huge amount of work that needed to be done,” said DeJulio. After a night of celebrating and a few hours of sleep, those working to create the city of Sandy Springs woke up the next morning ready to get to work. Task forces were formed immediately to take on issues including police and fire, finances, administration and public works. “Eva and I spent about 17 years working to form the city. And during that time we did a lot of planning,” said DeJulio. “We pretty much knew what had to be done.” Not wanting a bureaucracy, volunteers working to set up Sandy Springs’



John McDonough starts work as the city’s first city manager. The police department begins operations.

Sandy Springs at Ten

government decided it would be best to run the city like a corporate board structure — with a mayor as the CEO and the council as the board of directors. “We wanted the city run on a professional basis. We didn’t want to have a lot of people hiring relatives, for example,” DeJulio said. This meant hiring a private company to run much of the city’s departments, other than police and fire — something unheard of at the time for municipal governments. Now Sandy Springs stands as a model city for others desiring private-public partnerships. The city’s first election was held in November 2005. Galambos was easily elected mayor. And when it came to hiring the city manager, she conducted an unconventional interview. “The phone call comes. The headhunter says…‘I’ve got this really interesting opportunity. This opportunity is not traditional. This is something different,” remembered John McDonough, the city’s first and only city manager. McDonough applied and was interviewed by “citizens screening committees” and then he met with Mayor Galambos at Island Ford Park on the Chattahoochee. “She got her hiking boots on. She said, ‘Let’s go for a hike.’ Off we went, had an impromptu hike,” while she interviewed him. “Eva was just the epitome of a leader…She was so impressive, had a clear vision,” he said. At midnight on Dec. 1, 2005, the reins were turned over from Fulton County to the fledgling Sandy Springs. “It was like turning on a light switch,” DeJulio said. “We had to be prepared to run an entire city.” City Council members were sworn in on the eve of Nov. 30 and then again shortly after midnight on Dec. 1 to ensure all was legal, DeJulio said. The first order of business was to hire Colorado-based CH2M Hill to run the daily operations of the city. With a private corporation in place to run the city, the mayor and council took on its first priority in the coming weeks — establishing its own police and fire departments, with both coming online in 2006. In 2011, the city decided to do away with CH2M Hill and instead go with several private companies to operate individual city government departments like public works and administration. This saved the city $7 million in operating costs, DeJulio said.



City buys parks from Fulton County. The fire department begins operations.

“In 10 years we have never had a tax increase and we can’t have one without a referendum,” he said. “We run a very lean city.” During its last year under Fulton County control, Sandy Springs saw $600,000 spent on fixing roads; in its first year as a city, Sandy Springs spent $7 million, DeJulio said. In its first decade, Sandy Springs has paved more than 160 miles of roads and also rebuilt 25 miles of roads; the city has paved 20 miles of sidewalks. “None of this was being handled before by Fulton County. Our requests were being ignored,” DeJulio said. Sandy Springs leadership also knew it was crucial to preserve green space and establish a park system. The new city began buying land back from the county and eventually opened up such notable parks as Morgan Falls Overlook Park in 2010 and Abernathy Greenway in 2014. Linda Bain, executive director of the Sandy Springs Conservancy, praises the city’s leadership in ensuring parks remain a key part of the city’s continuing development. “We have really strong bones here,” she said of the city’s officials. What is somewhat lacking, however, is a sure Sandy Springs identity. In 2012, the city council approved a master plan for a $220 million City Center located on Roswell Road north of I-285. The center will include a performing arts center, government meeting space, and some retail and residential units. The City Center, set to open in December 2017, is expected to give the city a much-needed symbolic site to better establish a city identity, said Axt and DeJulio. “At one time, Sandy Springs was just a crossroads. Now it has developed into a vibrant, energetic, energized community,” Axt said. “We are no longer an experiment,” Axt said. “We’ve always had a sense of belonging and now we are developing a sense of place.” DeJulio is also optimistic that the City Center will provide the city a much-needed unifying space. “We really are counting on it bringing the community together,” he said. “When I ask people if they live in Sandy Springs and they say, ‘No,’ I always tell them, ‘I’m very sorry. Maybe someday you’ll be lucky enough to live here.’”

A decade behind us, and we’ve only just begun.

Congratulations to the City of Sandy Springs on turning 10!

John Ruch contributed to this article.



Friends of Sandy Springs, an organization started decades earlier to promote the creation of a city of Sandy Springs, officially goes out of business. Tibby DeJulio and Rusty Paul turn over the last $14,000 in the organization’s treasury to the city. |

NOV. 27 – DEC. 10, 2015 | 3

5040 Northside Drive NW, Sandy Springs, 30327

Sandy Springs at Ten

City holds birthday events

7 Bedrooms / 7 Full 1 Half Baths / $2,800,000 “Villa Normandy” Enter this beautiful property through the gated entrance and drive down the long winding drive to this private retreat on 4 +/- magnificent acres. The entire main floor overlooks the incredible pool terrace. Wonderful home for entertaining. Easy au-pair/nanny suite. Handsome library with fireplace. Main floor master suite. You will truly think you are in Callaway Gardens as you stroll around this property.

The city celebrates its 10th anniversary with a Dec. 1 open house and a Dec. 4 birthday party at City Hall. The open house, on Tues., Dec. 1, comes before that evening’s City Council meeting. It’s also the exact birthday of the city, which began operations Dec. 1, 2005. The free event runs 4 to 5:45 p.m. at 7840 Roswell Road. It will feature guided tours of various city departments. For more, see or call 770-730-5600. The birthday party on Fri., Dec. 4 will include entertainment, food and a “walk down memory lane” with historic images, according to the city. The party runs 6:30 to 10 p.m. at the Sherwood Event Facility, 8610 Roswell Road. Tickets are $30 advance, $40 at the door. For ticket information, see


The Spring

David Hutchins Associate Broker 404-550-0533 RE/MAX Around Atlanta Office 404-252-7500 Celebrating 22 years of helping Sellers & Buyers Top 3 Individual Producer for Office 2004-2014

THEN: Cabins around the site of the spring for which the city is named, off of today’s Sandy Springs Circle, around 1850. Known as “tents,” the cabins housed attendees of United Methodist Church revivals and became the foundation of the Sandy Springs community. (Photo: Heritage Sandy Springs)

Connecting the Corners of your World

NOW: The Heritage Sandy Springs Museum stands near the site where the spring remains preserved under a pavilion. (Photo: John Ruch) • • • • • • • • •

Free Business Checking Free Personal Checking Interest-Bearing Checking Accounts Savings Accounts Personal and Business Money Market Accounts Safe Deposit Boxes Certificate of Deposits Individual Retirement Account (IRAs) SBA Loans

• • • • • • • • •

Personal and Business Loans Mortgages Home Equity Loans and Lines of Credit ATM Services and Deposits Online Banking/Bill Pay/Wire/ACH Services Mobile Banking and Mobile Deposits Business Remote Deposit Capture Merchant Card Services Business Courier

Come in and see our Sandy Springs staff for all your banking needs

Congratulations SANDY SPRINGS On your 10th Anniversary! Fran Farias, Agent

6649 Roswell Rd., Sandy Springs, GA 30328


Celebrating Fran Farias’ 26 YEARS & State Farm’s 93 YEARS of providing Insurance & Financial Services

6344 Roswell Rd NE Sandy Springs, GA 30328 678-553-3500



City Council agrees to buy site of abandoned Target store at 235 Johnson Ferry Road for use as a future City Hall. The city pays $8 million for the property in 2008.







Fulton County School Board approves site for new elementary school on Ison Road.

NOV. 27 – DEC. 10, 2015 |

Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.®


State Farm is America’s Insurance Company!

State Farm Presidents Club and Crystal Recipient 2010 Rotary District 6900 - “Rotarian of the Year” 2011 Sandy Springs Society - “Spirit Award” 2012 Leadership Sandy Springs - “Alumni Leadership Award”

State Farm Home Office, Bloomington, IL




Chattahoochee River 911 Authority, generally known as Chatcomm, opens.

Record floods hit Sandy Springs. Residents of 98 homes report flooding.

Eva Galambos elected to second term as mayor.

SAND Y 2005


A nnive

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2 01 5

LET’S CELEBRATE THE CITY’S 10TH ANNIVERSARY! Come mingle with your elected officials and tour City Hall

Join your neighbors for an evening of celebration of Sandy Springs

Open House Tuesday, December 1, 2015 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Evening Party Friday, December 4, 2015 6:30 – 10:00 p.m.

Tours begin at 4 p.m. Mix and mingle takes place from 4 – 5:45 p.m. followed by a City Council Meeting at 6 p.m.

Sherwood Event Facility 8610 Roswell Road, Suite 200 $30 per person in advance ($40 door)

Sandy Springs City Hall 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500 Sandy Springs, GA 30350

There will be a small transaction fee

Cash bar Reserve tickets by 11-27-15 at

Presented by

Presented by


NOV. 27 – DEC. 10, 2015 | 5

Sandy Springs at Ten

Sandy Springs’ development hot spots for the next 10 years In its first 10 years, the city focused on planning a new “downtown” on central Roswell Road. In its “Next Ten” planning process underway—including a revised land-use plan and a new zoning code—the city is eyeing a wider variety of development opportunities and challenges. Some are places where the city hopes to spotlight, like Powers Ferry Landing. Some are places where the city is preparing for other agencies’ plans, such as MARTA’s proposed Red Line expansion. This map shows Sandy Springs’ likely development hot spots of the next decade.

MARTA Northridge station MARTA proposes a new station at Ga. 400 and Northridge Road as part of a five-station extension of the Red Line to Alpharetta. That’s not a done deal and would be years away. But existing MARTA stations are sparking transitoriented redevelopment, and the city is planning ahead for a Northridge area boom.

North Roswell Road The northern section of the city’s main thoroughfare is mostly known for strip malls, older apartments and the office park where City Hall is currently located. The city envisions “nodes” of walkable, mixed-use mini-neighborhoods replacing today’s highway feel.

City Springs

Abernathy Road/Ga. 400 Surrounded by some of the largest undeveloped tracts in town, this major interchange area is seeing a major boom that will roll into the next decade. On the west side, the Mercedes-Benz USA headquarters is coming in 2018, along with huge Ashton Woods housing developments. On the east side, there are stalled plans for an office skyscraper, a luxury hotel and more. And MARTA’s North Springs station could see a Red Line extension boom.

City reinventing itself

The crown jewel of the city’s first decade of planning, this $220 million redevelopment will create a new City Hall, concert halls, parks, apartments and commercial spaces. It’s slated to open in late 2017. Big as it is, City Springs is just part of a larger plan for a new, mixed-use downtown that private developers are already starting to build in some older shopping centers.



“Sandy Springs, 10 years into its existence, still struggles with our identity,” said Paul in a recent interview. Creating a sense of place and community through redevelopment remains a priority that will define the city’s next decade, he said. The city’s “Next Ten” planning process is tackling that challenge head-on. Continuing into next year, the process will set new standards for redevelopment, in part by looking Pill Hill closely at both popular areas and neglectThe medical area is anchored by three rapidly ed corners of the city. Community leaders expanding hospitals—Northside, Emory St. Joseph’s express optimism about the Next Ten— and Children’s Healthcare—and is starting to see though with varying degrees of caution. residential development that could continue, espe“I think that they’re probably going to cially around MARTA’s Medical Center station. A big do a very good job of figuring out which planning question is how Pill Hill will cope with its way people want us to go in the future,” nightmarish rush-hour traffic. said Trisha Thompson, president of the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods. “I’m eternally optimistic, but I’m definitely feeling, as an HOA president, very hesitant,” said Matt LaMarsh, president of the Mount Vernon Woods Homeowners Association, who lives in one of the hottest redevelopment spots at Ga. 400 and Abernathy Road. Everyone agrees that traffic congesGateway/south Roswell Road tion is the city’s biggest challenge. A rebuild of the Ga. 400/I-285 interAs with the northern stretch of Roswell Road, the city envisions walkable, change will be a defining project of the mixed-use developments. An early test of that vision comes next year as the next decade, but it’s just part of possihuge Gateway mixed-use project opens on the Atlanta border, with over 20 ble solutions that may bring more loacres of stores and hundreds of apartments. The city already plans to alter the cal MARTA stations and transit-oriRoswell and Windsor Parkway intersection to handle the new traffic.

Powers Ferry Landing This business area, flanking I-285 at the city’s far western border, has long struggled with a sense of identity. Many people don’t realize it’s in Sandy Springs, and Cobb County commuter traffic is a challenge. The city will try to rouse what founding Mayor Eva Galambos once called a “sleeping giant.”




Groundbreaking for Abernathy Linear Park.



7/28 Morgan Falls Overlook Park, the first park completely developed by the city, opens to the public.





Sandy Springs Farmers Market opens.

City ends using single contractor, CH2M HILL, to provide city services.

Georgia Supreme Court sides with sign companies against four cities, eliminating billboard restrictions put in place before the areas were incorporated.

The first markets are held at the city-owned Target site on Johnson Ferry Road.

NOV. 27 – DEC. 10, 2015 |

City Council splits up city business and contracts with five different companies, reducing its cost by $7 million, officials say.


Northside Hospital is proud to have been part of this community since 1970 and part of this wonderful “new” city for the last 10 years.

A Lifetime of Care |

NOV. 27 – DEC. 10, 2015 | 7


Happy 10th Anniversary and to many more years of great success!

ented development. Sandy Springs, a city founded on localism, likely will join in more regional planning, officials say. “I see a crystal ball that looks very bright, very promising,” said Yvonne Williams, president and CEO of the Perimeter Center Improvement Districts, describing Sandy Springs as poised to seize opportunities and overcome challenges.


SANDY ABRAMS When only the best will do! Cell: 404-281-0097 Office: 404-233-4142 532 East Paces Ferry Road, Suite 200 Atlanta, Georgia 30305 |

We’ve got you covered! Cityhood for Sandy Springs 10 years ago was the catalyst to launch Reporter Newspapers. We look forward to covering every milestone in the city’s history for years to come.

Reporter Newspapers




It drives the mayor crazy when locals use “Atlanta” rather than “Sandy Springs” in their street addresses, or when people think the King and Queen buildings are the city’s downtown. “Part of [the future] is to create this larger sense of community…the sense of place like Marietta has, like Decatur has,” Paul said. City Springs is a massive attempt to do that by combining a new City Hall, performing arts center and parks with a mixed-use project. When it opens in 2017, it should anchor a more walkable downtown. And, Paul said, it will tie together some disparate Sandy Springs neighborhoods, like the southern end around Chastain Park or the panhandle that often identifies as Dunwoody. “That’s a legacy project,” said City Manager John McDonough. “I think even five years from now, you’ll see a completely different landscape. I think [there will be] more focus on community, more interaction among people.” But even as it builds that landmark project, the city is looking ahead to a different kind of place-making. Instead of rebuilding entire neighborhoods, the next phase is more about adding to them. Paul said he’d like to see the rest of Roswell Road lined with small, walkable clusters of shops and restaurants instead of shopping centers—“a little community meeting space, if you will.” “We want to broaden the horizon of what a neighborhood is,” he said. “In the next 10 years, that’s kind of our vision.”

THE NEXT TEN The Next Ten process is how Sandy Springs will put such visions on paper. Among the results will be a new Comprehensive Plan of land-use



Metro voters reject T-SPLOST, a regional tax that would have raised $6 billion for transportation improvements.

City settles dispute with billboard companies. City officials agree to allow 10 new signs, but limits them along Roswell Road.

NOV. 27 – DEC. 10, 2015 |

Sandy Springs at Ten

guidelines; a new, unified zoning and building code; and several “Small Area Plans” giving detailed visions of such areas as Roswell Road’s northern and southern reaches. “The focus on the next 10 years is different from the first 10 years,” said McDonough. “The first 10 years focused on creating the delivery system” for city services, planning and infrastructure, he said. Now it’s about delivering the products, especially City Springs, but also the more refined input process of the Next Ten. “We should have broad community support. If we don’t, we missed our mark,” McDonough said of the development that will follow the Next Ten guidelines. “In the end, it should be the community’s plan.” Thompson, the Council of Neighborhoods president, said the Next Ten isn’t exactly grassroots planning, but does involve more public input than ever. “I’m not sure it is building [a plan] on public input, but I truly believe this new crew [of planners], they are scouring every nook and corner of Sandy Springs they can think of to garner opinion,” she said. Thompson said the future of Sandy Springs lies in pushing for higher-quality development standards, and that the current mayor and City Council are more responsive to that, especially after the Glenridge Hall estate controversy earlier this year. “They see the older homes coming down. They see trees coming down,” she said. All developers know how to build projects that contribute to a good quality of life, Thompson said, adding, “It’s just whether we can force them to do it in Sandy Springs and not bring their cheap end.” LaMarsh isn’t as convinced that the city’s leaders are on the right track. He and wife Melissa are part of Sandy Springs’ post-cityhood generation, having moved here from Acworth four years ago to be closer to Atlanta and start a family in a “dynamic community.” “We certainly got it,” LaMarsh said with a laugh. The land surrounding their neighborhood is now the site of two enormous and controversial housing plans by developer Ashton Woods. LaMarsh has been a leader in the debates, at one point threatening to sue, and more recently helping broker a key compromise. There’s no guarantee that city leaders will stick to the new development


guidelines, LaMarsh said. And he worries that most big parcels will be built out already with less thoughtful projects. “My concern here is the damage has been done and it’s going to be hard for us to climb out of [existing projects],” he said. “My fear is we’ve moved a little too far, a little too fast.” However, LaMarsh counts himself a fan of some pending projects, including City Springs. “I think the future of the city is bright and we do have some good things coming down the pipe,” he said. “Hopefully we can continue to protect the neighborhoods that kind of made Sandy Springs, Sandy Springs.”

TRAFFIC AND TRANSIT With all of the growth comes traffic, and solutions to it may reshape several parts of the city. The billion-dollar project to add lanes on Ga. 400/I-285 will start in about a year and wrap up in 2020. But potentially even more landscape-changing is MARTA’s proposed Red Line extension to Alpharetta. The Next Ten includes transit-oriented development studies around the existing North Springs station and a potential Northridge Road station. “Long term, to absorb population growth…we need to have more efficient transportation, and the only way we’re going to do it is mass transit,” said Mayor Paul. “Unless you have transit…we are going to drown in traffic, and we’re going to kill the goose that lays the golden egg and destroy our quality of life.” While it may not feel like it at rush hour, “We’re ahead of the curve” on longterm traffic solutions, said the PCIDs’ Williams. The Perimeter Center’s future includes shuttle systems, more sidewalks and multi-use trails, and more east-west connection roads. Other possibilities include a bus rapid-transit route along the Perimeter to Cobb County, she said. “We’re going to see a very walkable district,” said Williams. In fact, the future may be largely about getting Sandy Springs out of its car. Walkability is key to the sort of place-making the mayor envisions at both City Springs and the mini-neighborhoods of Roswell Road. “If we can do that over the next 10 years,” Paul said, “we’ll be a long way toward making Sandy Springs the most enviable community of [metro] Atlanta.”


Consultant Goody Clancy proposes a downtown redevelopment anchored at the Target site that includes a street grid and a network of green spaces.

4/22 Mayor Eva Galambos announces her retirement at the end of her second term.

Sandy Springs at Ten

from your neighborhood centers, on the City’s 10 Year Anniversary! Sandy Springs by the Numbers




Rank in population among Georgia cities

Rank in residents among Georgia cities White Black Hispanic Asian Other


59% 20% 14% 5% 3%

Median household Income Georgia $49,179


Total number of business firms







It also has two of the TALLEST

SUBURBAN TOWERS in the United States

Pictured: King and Queen buildings




56 25.2



Rusty Paul elected mayor.

Massage Spring National Council of Jewish Women Palm Beach Tan Penzey’s Spices Pier 1 Imports Pure Bliss Med Spa Roasters Scotttrade Smoothie King Spring Nails State Farm Insurance Co. The Welch Experience Trader Joe’s Village Cobbler Shoe Repair Willy’s Mexicana Grill

Visit Us: Roswell Road & Johnson Ferry Road

Powers Ferry Village Alpine Cleaners Blimpie Subs & Salads Goodwill Mardi Gras Posh Nail and Spa

Publix Sushi Huku The Juice Box The UPS Store

Visit Us: Powers Ferry Road & New Northside Drive

housing units in multi-unit structures

Percent of firms owned by women

Cornerstone Square Ace Hardware Aldi Carniceria Los Pinos Concentra Urgent Care Cornerstone Bank

Created by Reporter Newspapers | Sources: U.S. Census, Some icons made by are licensed by Creative Commons BY 3.0


Aaron Brothers Any Lab Test Bell Carpet Galleries Buckhead Uniform Dog City Bakery Elegant Cleaners Firehouse Subs Five Guys Burgers & Fries Foot Solutions Fox’s Fragile HCG Weight Loss Henri’s Bakery Joseph & Friends Manpower Staffing

speaking a language other than English at home

Median value of owner-occupied house



Sandy Springs Plaza

CVS Pharmacy EZ One Price Cleaners Hancock Fabrics Hollie’s Nails Metro Trophy

Visit Us: Roswell Road & Cromwell Road

12/5 Eva Galambos turns the mayor’s gavel over to Rusty Paul. She says farewell with a poem that concludes: “It’s been a great eight years/we’ve tackled small and big affairs/we set a tone for those to follow/I have no fears about tomorrow.” |

NOV. 27 – DEC. 10, 2015 | 9

Sandy Springs at Ten - Other Views


s Sandy Springs better off now than we were 10 years ago? Was incorporation worth it? Whenever I attend community or civic events, I am always struck by the tremendous pride that our residents, business owners and government leaders have for their home town. There is a passion and a spirit of cooperation that exists in Sandy Springs that I believe is the direct result of our incorporation 10 years ago. Certainly, things like the groundbreaking of City Springs, new road improvements, the addition of sidewalks and parks, and the city’s strong financial condition and high bond rating are all tangible accomplishments we can point to, but it is the intangible component of our Chris Burnett civic pride coupled with strong leadership that makes all these things possible. Both our city and our chamber celebrate their 10th birthdays this year and this is an exciting time of reflection for us. In the past decade, we have seen iconic international companies move their corporate headquarters to Sandy Springs. We have also seen many budding small businesses get their start here, including our company, Bank of Sandy Springs, which opened here in 2014 to help invest in the future of our community. We have seen the expansion of our public and private schools, and we’ve seen the development and construction of some beautiful neighborhoods and homes within our city. Our long-time residents are staying here, and new residents are coming here because of the quality of life and the quality of community that Sandy Springs offers. We know that success and growth come with their own set of challenges, and building and maintaining a strong community infrastructure requires vision and hard work. Because we are our own city, we control our financial and strategic planning decisions in ways that were unavailable to us 10 years ago. For these reasons, incorporation has given the residents and leaders of Sandy Springs more control over their city’s destiny. Our mission will be to keep the fire that we feel for our city today burning for decades to come, and to pass on our sense of pride to the next generation of residents and leaders. If we do this effectively, then Sandy Springs will continue to enjoy its current level of success and prosperity, and will continue to be Georgia’s greatest city. Chris Burnett is market president of the Bank of Sandy Springs and chairman of the board of the Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber of Commerce.


or 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 poTrisha Thompson lice 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.

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King and Queen/ Ga. 400 THEN: Ga. 400 and the “King” tower at the Concourse at Landmark Center under construction, alongside the completed “Queen” tower, around 1990 in this Georgia State University Archives photo on display at Heritage Sandy Spring’s exhibit “Sandy Springs: Then & Now.”

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City begins Abernathy demolition of old Greenway Park Target store. opens.





NOW: Ga. 400 and the King and Queen towers as seen from the Johnson Ferry Road overpass. (Photo: John Ruch)


Mercedes-Benz USA City issues demolition announces plans to permits for Glenridge Hall. move its headquarters from New Jersey to Sandy Springs.

NOV. 27 – DEC. 10, 2015 |

4/19 Eva Galambos dies at age 87.

9/20 City officials announce the new city center will be called “City Springs.”


Sandy Springs at Ten - Other Views

ongratulations to the city of Sandy Springs on turning 10! Prior to the city’s formation in 2005, many people worked for decades to make it happen. Two primary goals of the innovative new city were to control the services provided to citizens/businesses and to control development. Due to the necessity of delivering services and the real estate recession of 2008-2012, we now see development—both new projects and how the city addresses future development—begin to have a significant impact on the direction of the city. My perspective extends 36 years, having attended high school in Sandy Springs, lived half of those years here, and worked for compaKirk S. Demetrops nies all with a Sandy Springs address. The great news in Sandy Springs regarding development is plentiful. The city’s southern boundary is improving with the Sandy Springs Gateway project at Windsor and other development moving up Roswell Road from there. The eastern boundary at Perimeter Center is truly seeing a live-work-play environment unfold. Downtown Sandy Springs is poised for the biggest change, with perhaps the most local impact toward quality of life (a “real” downtown) wanted by many who live and work in Sandy Springs. Projects underway or expected to start soon should create more development in downtown than has occurred in the last 20 years combined. This is led by City Springs, the public-private partnership development under construction, that will deliver a new City Hall and performing arts venue, private mixed-use development and open space. This development and others announced should create the critical mass needed. So what are the significant challenges? I see two. One, land use and zoning, and two, Roswell Road north of Abernathy to the city of Roswell border. The city is currently in the process of updating its zoning ordinances and procedures. I commend the leadership of the mayor and council for initiating this. Lengthy, controversial zonings are counterproductive. From a developer’s perspective, time is usually not our ally. Windows of opportunity open up in our business but do not remain forever. A more efficient, interest-aligned process will benefit all stakeholders. Roswell Road north of Abernathy should be the city’s next big platform for change. The road is a primary artery serving a significant portion of the city. I believe more publicprivate initiatives will be needed. As I look ahead, and knowing the probable developments to come out of the ground, I do see a city moving in a great direction and the new real estate developments having a significant contribution to the success of the city. Kirk S. Demetrops is president of MidCity Real Estate Partners.

Congratulations to the City of Sandy Springs on its 10th Anniversary.


ot so long ago, the Wall Street Journal highlighted 20 troubled American cities and how Chapter 11 bankruptcy appears to be the only option to wipe the slate clean and start

over. How can such a municipal mess be avoided? One suggestion may be to look at the city of Sandy Springs and its model for providing city services. Ten years ago, when Sandy Springs incorporated, the model of outsourcing was viewed with skepticism. But as the community celebrates it first decade, evidence of accomplishments is in full view: miles of roads paved, new parks and construction underway to create an epicenter for the community. All accomplished withRep. Joe Wilkinson out a tax increase. Before cityhood, Sandy Springs was part of unincorporated Fulton County, and residents were poorly policed while paying high taxes for few services. That is why I made it my main mission to get the cityhood legislation ratified by the General Assembly, so it could go to the voters. There was an unwavering desire for governance close to home, and that is what Sandy Springs has today. Those making decisions on behalf of the community live within that same community. There is a greater level of accountability. Accessibility also matters, and if you ask any of the members of the Sandy Springs City Council, past or present, they hear from their constituents frequently, via phone calls and emails, as well as in the grocery line and at local events. It is gratifying to see the positive chain reaction that has occurred since 2005, with other cities and counties opting for more privatization of services. In addition to the business model, there is a sense of ownership within the Sandy Springs community. This is a city comprised of residents who feel empowered and who exercise their right to voice an opinion. They also frequently back up the talk with action. The community is strengthened by its volunteerism, as is evidenced by groups such as the conservancy and Leadership Sandy Springs, which have been instrumental in the increase in parks and programs within the city. And both the police and fire departments have troops of volunteers providing assistance from house checks to manning water rehab tents during emergencies. They give. The city gives. It works. As Sandy Springs celebrates 10 years, it’s a good time to say congratulations on thinking different, taking the risk and a job well done. It will be interesting to watch what we do as a community in our next 10 years. Joe Wilkinson represents District 52 in the state House of Representatives.

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NOV. 27 – DEC. 10, 2015 |

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Sandy Springs at Ten | 2015 Reporter  

City of Sandy Springs' tenth anniversary