After two months of comments online and in public meetings, Alpharetta has revised its plan for downtown Alpharetta, but it's not done yet. Local residents and property owners who missed the July 21 meeting–and even those who were there–are being asked to take a look at what's been done and offer more thoughts on the latest version.
Sixteen people have already done that online as of Tuesday morning, July 26. Most supported some, if not all, of the ideas of the plan. Those who commented on saving the existing City Hall building, which the new concept supports, were mixed in their thoughts. Some liked the idea, saying it would preserve the character, while others said the old building doesn't fit the current character of downtown.
"The building style and texture does not relate well to the remainder of the downtown aesthetic. Additionally, the future use of the building is significantly limited by its age, inaccessibility, and design," said Sam Smith of Alpharetta, who generally supported the concept. "Not only will this building become an albatross to the rest of the future development, it will act as a point of architectural separation between the West and East sides of Main Street. "
But another person liked keeping the building: "I have lived here for 25 years and have appreciated the historic look of the city hall and am most pleased that it will be re-purposed instead of demolished."
The revised plan was released on July 21 by the city for the redevelopment of 22 acres of city-owned property in downtown Alpharetta.
The basic components, which include a new City Hall, a 5-acre park, a parking deck, a town green and space for future commercial development, remain the same. However, changes have been made to give it a different overall feel, according to the city's spokesperson, Assistant City Administrator James Drinkard. It features buildings with smaller footprints, most of the parking deck being placed underground and key buildings being closer together. The revised concept is better oriented to the pedestrian. The park would be less formal, retain more natural lines.
Comments already made online suggest more options for bicycling in the development, creating a town square feel using existing streets rather than putting City Hall far back on the property and burying the parking deck completely under City Hall.
Ivy Interiors owner Debbie Zimmerer has been ready for this revitalization in downtown for years.
"As an existing business owner in the City of Alpharetta I need this plan to move as quickly and smoothly as possible not only for the future successes of Alpharetta, but for the potential growth and development for future business here in the area," she said in an online comment. "This will be wonderful once we are through, and that long awaited destination that we all have been waiting for, for so many years!"