The year of 2012 was so much more than I had any right to expect. The Council has tendered incredible leadership and has been able to accomplish truly great works on behalf our residents and families. Many of our residents and businesses have likewise exhibited solid leadership, building community and opportunities right here in Alpharetta. Alpharetta is home, it’s alive, and it’s leading.
Have you been to Downtown lately? It has been amazing to see! We put forward plans to energize and activate Downtown because we thought it should be energized and active. But, to actually see the success of those plans begin to take shape is truly inspiring. We have enhanced our special events programing and provoked the interest of new restaurants and businesses. So many have come this year to the center of this community, your community, to make this City a home.
In 2012, we also further developed the plans for our new city center project; completed and opened Westside Parkway; approved the Avalon project without adding to the City’s residential density; sought, pursued, and won the privilege of being the new home of Gwinnett Tech; launched Georgia's first technology commission; branded Alpharetta as the “Technology City of the South”; prioritized our budget to keep our roads in better repair; and made an unprecedented partnership with our neighbor, the City of Milton, to provide better public safety and parks to the residents and families of both cities.
So, what about 2013? Downtown will continue to be a focus. Expect to see a ground breaking in early April for the public portion of the city center project. We will also look to begin the process of selecting private partners to bring about the restaurant and business portion of the project. We will be engaging our residents to formalize a design plan for Main Street to preserve the residential character of this street and integrate it with our Downtown efforts.
Technology is one of our greatest economic strengths. We will be working with the Alpharetta Technology Commission to explore an accelerator program for technology startups, to make long range plans for technology infrastructure, and engage and strengthen our entire technology community within the City.
2013 will also be a year of exploration. We will continue to evaluate whether a convention center is feasible to strengthen our economic leadership in the region. We will also be evaluating the merits of attracting a four-year college or university to Alpharetta. The prospect of usable and safe bike routes throughout the City is also a goal.
There is more in the works, and we look forward to sharing those successes with you in the months and years to come. In the mean time, I want to thank you for your continued trust and faith in us, and I am proud to report that in the midst of national and regional hardships, Alpharetta shines!