At a recent Alpharetta City Council meeting, we had the opportunity to review a zoning application for an extraordinary development that would include a luxurious hotel, a world-class fitness training facility, and a level of amenities that would draw high-level athletes from all over the globe. The proposal was so impressive and unique that throughout the zoning process, everyone I spoke to was enthusiastic about the possibility, yet skeptical about the business model.
During their presentation, the applicants admitted that there isn’t anything like their proposal anywhere else in the world. Backers said only two facilities in the United States even come close to what they are proposing, and none can offer everything their clients need in one location. The applicants were also candid about how expensive it would be for clients to enjoy such a luxurious setting while preparing themselves for the world’s most physically demanding sporting competitions.
After the proposal had been explained, an Alpharetta citizen came forward to speak in favor of the project. The gentleman explained that he was a long-time resident of Alpharetta and loved the idea because it was such a unique and exciting development. He spoke about the evolution of Alpharetta over time and how excited he was to see Alpharetta looking to the future in creative ways. Then, the resident ended his comments by asking, “Why can’t we be charming and remarkable?”
What a great question. Why can’t Alpharetta be charming and remarkable?
When I heard the gentleman ask that question, my first thought was, “We can be.” My second thought was, “And we are.”
Throughout Alpharetta’s recent political campaigns, there was a great deal of talk about our community’s future and the need for balance. All six mayoral candidates talked about what that balance meant and how they would achieve it. But the resident who spoke up that night managed to say it better than any of us.
Alpharetta has changed from a sleepy farm town to a bustling technology hub, attracting people from all over the world in just thirty years, because we have strived to be both charming and remarkable. Georgia is blessed with many charming communities, and Alpharetta is surrounded by some of the best.
But what makes us different is that regional leaders had the foresight to build one of metro Atlanta’s major transportation corridors through our city forty years ago. What makes us different is that innovative investors had the vision to build innovative fiber-optic networks through farmland believing technology companies would follow. What makes us different are places like downtown, Avalon, our parks, and soon — the North Point District, where residents and visitors create memorable experiences and connections that span lifetimes. We always have a vision for Alpharetta’s future; we’re not willing to accept anything less; and we’ll do the hard work to make it happen — that’s what sets us apart.
The delicate balance between Alpharetta’s charming small-town history and remarkable evolution is what makes us special. And, as we look to the future, we cannot afford to lose that precious balance. As mayor, I look forward to working with my fellow councilmembers, our residents, our business community, and neighboring regional leaders to continue that tradition.