City of Alpharetta officials have now held the second of four scheduled meetings being held for public input on the conceptual plans for the redevelopment of Alpharetta’s City Center, which could become a jewel of North Metro Atlanta. By all accounts, public response has been mostly positive, though mixed with some concern about the aesthetic look of the proposed parking deck.
According to Neighbor Newspapers, several residents at the recent meeting expressed interest in creating a “small town” or “village” like appearance. According to Eric Bosman, senior associate at Urban Collage, a design firm working with Alpharetta on the plan, their comments echo those expressed online so far. Other requests have included those for new shops, restaurants and coffee shops; park space; preservation of trees; an outdoor stage; and fountains or water features.
Discussion about the parking deck at the meeting centered around the idea that the deck will not be as tall as shown in renderings as well as ways to make the visible portion of the deck more visibly appealing.
Numerous examples of redevelopment are in existence or underway around Metro Atlanta and the nation (Smyrna, Duluth, etc.). While the idea of a “village” feel is appealing, the concept can be difficult to execute. My hope as an “unofficial” Alpharetta resident (I live in nearby Milton) is that the planners will take the best ideas around and not make downtown a sterile Disney-like HomeTown USA but rather an inviting place to walk around and spend part of the day or evening. And a green or park that could be used for larger gatherings, festivals and concerts would be nice too.
And please planners, know that just because something looks nice at first glance and has a unifying color scheme of bricks and awnings, doesn’t make it inviting – just drive north along Hwy 9 and you’ll see plenty of examples of empty shopping centers that are not pedestrian friendly.
BTW, the next meeting is July 14 at 6:30pm at City Hall, with the final meeting on July 21 at 7:30, also at Alpharetta City Hall.
We’ve written more extensively about the conceptual plans for Alpharetta City Center here. You can also find information at www.Alpharetta.GA.US/downtownproject