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Posted by on March 27, 2012.

Sandy Springs City Council retreat: council discussing parks, apartment crime, building city hall

The Sandy Springs City Council gathers for its annual retreat on March 27 at the Heritage Bluestone Building.

The Sandy Springs City Council dove head-first into weighty issues this morning, March 27, tackling the city’s needs for more suitable park space and discussing ways to reduce crime in local apartment complexes.

The council discussed solutions involving city government partnering with property owners and local agencies.

Police Chief Terry Sult told the council that 58 percent of the city’s violent crime emanates from the city’s 71 apartment complexes. Sult said the department is currently targeting apartment crime. The City Council discussed whether it would be possible to buy up some of the older apartments to reduce the city’s inventory or provide developers an incentive to renovate and improve these properties.

“If you consider the outright purchase of some of these properties it may be the only way to bring about the result the council wants to see,” City Manager John McDonough said.

The council also discussed its need for more park space. The council discussed possibly partnering with local schools, nonprofits and apartment complexes to provide services needed for the Parks and Recreation Department, specifically for a swimming pool.

Before the council broke for lunch, it discussed plans for downtown redevelopment with Boston-based firm Goody Clancy. David Dixon, principal in charge of planning and urban design for the company, told the council that market data will play a big role in helping the firm come up with the final downtown master plan.

David Dixon, principal in charge of planning and urban design for Goody Clancy, talks to the Sandy Springs City Council at its March 27 retreat.

“Clearly redevelopment pragmatically, in this day and age, should be market-driven,” Dixon said. “We need to understand the underlying market. It will deliver and will help us build the place we all want.”

The City Council is currently split on whether a downtown should include a city hall on city-owned property at 235 Johnson Ferry Road. Dixon told the council he is aware that the council is not in agreement about where to build the future city hall.

Dixon said the firm will feel more confident making a recommendation about that once it has more data.

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