Gabriel Sterling

Gabriel Sterling collected three-fourths of the votes cast March 15 to win election as the new District 4 representative on Sandy Springs City Council.

Sterling received 75.7 percent of the 811 votes cast in the special election to fill the council seat, according to the Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections. Chiteka Jackson gathered 19.7 percent of the vote and Dennis Williams collected about 4.5 percent.

The Sandy Springs Reporter asked Sandy Springs’ newest council member what he thought would come next.

Q. What’s the first thing you plan to do once you’re in office?

A. Even before I get sworn in on April 5, I am already being briefed on where we are in the contracts process for the city and the upcoming budget process. There are a lot of items coming quickly once I get on the council. I also want to get up to speed on the transportation and storm water projects in the district and larger projects throughout the city. I have started to work on my communications with the constituents, both active and passive. By that, I mean email, which is active, and passive, like Twitter and Facebook. To help with that, I would ask everyone to follow me at twitter.com/GabrielSterling and on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/GabrielSterlingFB.

Q. Is there anything you learned about Sandy Springs during the campaign that surprised you?

A couple of things. We have very highly educated and engaged people in Sandy Springs. I ran into many, many Ph.D.s and people with master’s degrees while going door-to-door. Even more surprising, and encouraging, are the second- and third-generation families in our neighborhoods. It is great when people choose to come back here to raise their own family where they were raised.

Q. During the April 3 candidates’ forum at City Hall, residents questioned you and the other candidates about zoning on Peachtree-Dunwoody Road. What did you take away from that discussion?

The people in the 4th District, especially on or near Peachtree-Dunwoody, do not want to see that road widened, nor do they want to see additional commercial zoning in that corridor. But to be fair, I knew that before I even ran. It was one of the many reasons so many throughout the city were opposed to the Gwinnett Tech proposal.

Q. What should the city do with the Target property it purchased to be the site for a future City Hall?

I am not one of those that thinks the best use of that property is for a City Hall/Government Center to be built there. I have said from the beginning of the campaign that the only thing I am wedded to is a parking structure to help anchor a downtown for the city. One great concept I’ve heard is to make that area a large central park with a parking structure underneath. Is that doable? I don’t know. I will work with the council to come up with a full downtown plan in conjunction with the property owners that will get the city the most long-term bang for its buck and make a vibrant downtown that the neighborhoods will love and will add to the value of Sandy Springs for decades to come.

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