Task Force To Develop Vision To Revitalize North End

SANDY SPRINGS, GA — Sandy Springs leaders have taken a formal step in doing what it can to encourage economic redevelopment on the north side of the city. Mayor Rusty Paul at the City Council’s March 20 meeting unveiled his task force to plan for redevelopment on the North End.

The initiative comes on the heels of the City Council adopting revitalization of this part of the city as a priority for the city. Members of the task force are: Jack Arnold, Carolyn Axt, David Couchman, Melanie Couchman, Charles Crosby, Jeff Garrison, Colin Hubbard, Patrick Jones, Richard Munger, Meaghan Shannon-Vlkovic, Rhonda Smith, Council member Steve Soteres and former Council member Gabriel Sterling.

Mayor Paul said he chose to name Soteres to chair the task force due to the organization’s mission having a direct impact on his district and because of his background in the construction market. He also said the task force is a diverse lineup of citizens who all have a stake in the process. Specifically, the mayor touted the Couchmans as being "helpful" in introducing him to people to "pick their brain" about housing in the community.

The North End, Paul added, is not failing per se, but is suffering from warning signs that the city needs to tackle before they become too big to address (For more news like this, find your local Patch here. If you have an iPhone, click here to get the free Patch iPhone app; download the free Patch Android app here).

"This is blue ribbon group of people that I really feel will go out and help us begin the process," the mayor added.

Sandy Springs notes the North End, which stretches along Roswell Road from Dalrymple Road to the Chattahoochee River bridge, is suffering from "low-density rental housing typical of the 1960’s and 1970’s, a declining retail environment and a lack of advancement" experienced in other parts of the city. Sandy Springs has brought on Atlanta-based Civic Strategies, a planning firm, to manage the task force’s efforts.

This eclectic group of Sandy Springers will focus on four things as part of their planning efforts:

Citizen engagement: Including sessions with those living in the North End and those living elsewhere in the city to gain insight into both concerns and hopes for redevelopment and how to implement those improvements.Work sessions to assess the North End’s current situation, exploration of different visions of what could be, considerations of obstacles, creating a draft vision and provide the City Council with a set of recommendations.Create an organized way of bringing feedback into the task force’s work from landowners and businesses as well as nonprofit organizations involved with workforce housing.Providing a written report of the task for findings and recommendations.

Civic Strategies will work with both city management and the task force, assisting with facilitating community engagement events, working with the task force, and providing assistance with final recommendations and reports. A final report is due to the City Council prior to its January 2019 retreat.

Image via Shutterstock

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