Alpharettans pose questions about $29 million downtown plan

More than 90 Alpharettans attended meetings this week, anxious for more details on the city's proposed $29-million downtown revitalization plan that residents will vote on this November.

City officials told more than 30 people gathered at City Hall Thursday night that they want citizens to decide the look, size and scope of a building project on a 22-acre site on Main Street near Haynes Bridge Road. Preliminary plans call for a 47,000-square-foot city hall, a parking deck with 460 spaces, a park and green space. The city has also set aside three acres for a 25,000-square-foot Atlanta-Fulton County branch library.

Residents raised questions about parking, specifically why it was necessary to accommodate so many vehicles and whether a parking deck might dominate the landscape.

Resident Ian Bamber said he'd like to explore building an underground deck to preserve the aesthetics of the new downtown. He also endorsed the formation of a citizens' steering committee to take the lead in educating the public about the plan.

Another contingent of residents on Brook Street located east of the site said they were concerned the project might encroach on their property. Plans call for relocating a portion of Haynes Bridge Road to run on the eastern border of the site.

Public Works Director Pete Sewczwicz said the section of the road near Brooks would curve westward, away from their property and would narrow to two lanes to allow for sidewalks.

"Bear in mind, everything inside where we're talking about ... that's the city's, so if we need to adjust, we'll adjust to our property," said James Drinkard, assistant city manager. "Our goal is to not touch your [property]."

City officials said financing on the 20-year bond could be managed without raising taxes because two current bonds are set to be paid off in 2012.

Thursday's meeting came a day after an information session hosted by the Academy Park Homeowners Association which drew more than 60 people. Three more information sessions are scheduled at City Hall. The next is on June 30 at 6 p.m.

Residents can also find more information and leave comments at alpharetta.ga.us/.