As Eagle’s Landing cityhood chances grow, Stockbridge leaders pray

The state Senate on Tuesday stood by its support of a proposal to create a city of Eagle’s Landing by de-annexing a portion of Stockbridge.

Senate leaders had been asked by Sen. Emanuel Jones, a Democrat who represents Stockbridge, to reconsider their support for two bills — one to create a charter for Eagle’s Landing and another to change the boundaries of Stockbridge. The bills, which passed the Senate last week, would allow a referendum on Eagle’s Landing cityhood.

Jones’ request on both was overwhelmingly rejected.

The move comes a day after Stockbridge leaders, including Mayor Anthony Ford and members of the City Council, rallied about 100 people against the proposal at a candlelight prayer vigil outside Stockbridge City Hall.

“We continue to need your support to save your city, our city,” Ford told the crowd Monday evening. “If God is willing, we will continue on and we will win this.”

Two bills that would change the charter for Stockbridge and create one for Eagle's Landing passed the Senate last week with a narrow Republican majority. They now head to the House for committee consideration before any final approval.

Similar bills that began in the House are still making their way through that chamber and the Senate.

If the bills make it Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk and are signed, a referendum on the cityhood question could be held as early as late spring.

Stockbridge leaders argue that de-annexing their land to create a city would be unprecedented and could lead to other neighborhoods or communities in established cities seeking to secede. The city, whose population would be cut almost in half, also would lose taxpayers to Eagles Landing, including revenue from lucrative shopping centers.

Eagle's Landing proponents contend that cityhood is necessary to get better police, parks and infrastructure maintenance services that they say Stockbridge is not providing. Eagle's Landing, which is comprised of several affluent neighborhoods in Stockbridge and unincorporated Henry County, would be Henry's fifth city.