Smyrna to hold three public hearings on downtown plans

A Smyrna task force that’s spent weeks crafting the details of a downtown redesign will present the fine-tuned plans to residents during a slate of open house forums.

The city has scheduled three public hearings set for Sept. 16 and Sept. 21. Smyrna’s Downtown Redesign Detail Task Force will roll out a pair of options for the city’s downtown vision. Attendees can review details of the overhaul and give their input.

Some residents have blasted early phases of the plans and questioned whether City Council considered enough options before settling on an overall concept for the downtown redesign in June.

Smyrna will remove the iconic fountain and roundabout in front of the Smyrna Public Library and replace it with a downtown park as part of a $6.7 million makeover.

Mayor Derek Norton, who has spearheaded the redevelopment effort, hopes to transform Smyrna’s downtown area into a pedestrian friendly town center with added greenspace that attracts more visitors.

Critics have rallied in opposition of the redevelopment and criticized Smyrna officials for planning to sell an acre of city-owned property to StillFire Brewing. The deal has not been finalized, but city leaders intend to sell undeveloped land along Atlanta Road to the Suwanee brewery. StillFire plans on building a three-story brewery that would be a centerpiece of the city’s downtown makeover.

One option proposed for the new downtown area includes large sculpted letters in front of the public library that spell out SMYRNA without the Y. City officials said it could make for an “Instagrammable moment” in the plaza with visitors posing for photos in place of the missing letter.

A second more traditional design could include shade structures on the east and west side of the plaza lawn.

Council will select the finalized plans after making tweaks suggested during the public feedback.

Two open house sessions will be held Sept. 16 in Brawner Hall at Taylor-Brawner Park, 3180 Atlanta Road. The first will be from 9 a.m. to noon and the second will be held from 4 to 7 p.m.

A third public hearing will be held from 4 to 7 p.m., Sept. 21, in the large gym at the Smyrna Community Center, 200 Village Green Circle.

City officials also plan to offer an online option for residents who can’t attend the in-person sessions. For more information, visit smyrnaga.gov.