With polling numbers showing considerable local support, the Sandy Springs City Council adopted a multi-million dollar plan to revitalize the city’s downtown area Tuesday.
The City Center plan, which covers a mile-long stretch of Roswell Road just north of I-285, includes a walkable grid of streets; a mix of retail, dining and housing; and a network of green spaces.
The plan also includes a government complex on a 16-acre triangle between Johnson Ferry Road, Mount Vernon Highway and Sandy Springs Circle. Plans call for a multi-purpose City Hall and performing arts venue and a town green on the site.
“We’re on our way,” Mayor Eva Galambos proclaimed after the unanimous council vote.
Nearly everyone who spoke at the meeting endorsed the plan, which was prepared after seven months of public meetings conducted by Boston-based consultants Goody Clancy.
Online surveys and comments garnered at public presentations also showed strong support for the plan.
However, a handful of people warned of potential problems, including a failure to address heavy commuter traffic through the area.
Erik Olson, a member of the board of directors of Sandy Springs United Methodist Church, said he was concerned church property had been incorporated into the city’s plans. He said he wanted assurances the city would not pursue a legal taking of the property.
Council members said the city had no such plans and would like to see the church remain a part of the overall aesthetic.
Green space has been another hotly contested issue, but Steve Levetan, chairman of the Sandy Springs Conservancy, said the proposal appeared to address most needs.
“While it could be argued that there could be or should be more green space, the plan must be balanced,” he said. “We believe this is a balanced plan.”
The next step will be for the city to continue property acquisition in the government complex area and make street and sidewalk improvements along the corridor.
More than $20 million has either been spent or committed to the project so far. City leaders say they will consider more property purchases in 2013.