SSRI Marketing Communications Manager Barb Prebble coordinated the organization's public involvement activities for the Livable Centers Initiative planning process in 2001.  The visioning took place over four months, February through May, and included numerous Steering Committee and Stakeholder sessions, along with two 2-day hands-on community workshops and a final presentation at SSRI's Annual Meeting in June.

Here community participants Guy Taylor and Ann Atwater team with urban design consultant Mike Sizemore to build a Styrofoam model of the future Sandy Springs village center at the "Community Placemaking" workshop. 

SSRI Kicks Off Planning for a More Livable Sandy Springs

From the Sandy Springs Revitalization Milestone newsletter -- April 2001.

 

Focus On Livable Communities

This month Sandy Springs Revitalization, Inc. began the visioning process for the most important community planning effort in Sandy Springs’ history – the development of the Livable Sandy Springs urban design plan.   This endeavor actually got underway last year when the Atlanta Regional Commission awarded Sandy Springs Revitalization, Inc. $85,000 as part of an innovative program conceived to relieve congestion and improve air quality in existing town centers and “activity centers” such as Sandy Springs.

 

The Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) program is unique because, although it is funded with federal transportation funds, the planning process will for the first time focus on land use, urban design and transportation planning together to create a more balanced circulation system with mobility options and reduced travel needs.  More important for an unincorporated community like Sandy Springs, which has no assured revenue for building public infrastructure projects, the plan promises $350 million dollars for the region over five years to design and build the projects envisioned in the Livable Centers plans.

 

The Project Team

SSRI staff began the extensive task of gathering background data on the community last summer, and by November the search committee had selected the firm of Jordan Jones and Goulding, Inc. as prime consultant to work with the SSRI staff in developing the plan. 

 

The JJG team, which recently completed a Livable Centers Initiative plan for Duluth, Georgia, combines a stellar group of nationally recognized professionals including architects, land planners, urban designers and transportation planners.  Sub-consultants include the urban design firms of Sizemore Floyd Architects and H. Randal Roark, while Glatting Jackson, Inc., and Grice & Associates round out the team with transportation and traffic engineering expertise.

 

Visioneering Begins

The most critical ingredients in any successful plan are the insights and understanding that community members themselves bring to the process.  The Livable Sandy Springs Plan offers a range of interactive opportunities to learn about Sandy Springs’ situation today and about options for the future.  

 

The public involvement process has already begun with four Stakeholders Sessions in March -- one each for Governmental, Civic, Residential and Business interests -- which brought together community representatives to focus on concerns, needs, strengths and weaknesses.

 

Citizens got their first hands-on opportunity to envision a town center and plan a mixed-use demonstration area at the “Community Placemaking” workshop held March 30th and 31st.  These Workshops, known as charrettes among architecture and planning professionals, are conducted as an intense collaborative effort where participants explore issues and draw on maps the various concepts for solving the problems facing the community. 

 

At a second workshop planned for late April called “Pulling It All Together”, participants will bring synthesis to the many elements of urban planning that can help to make the heart of Sandy Springs a more coherent interconnected place  — urban design, transportation, land use, public places and spaces, the business environment and residential options.  They will have a chance to think and talk about which solutions would be best, and to put down on paper just how they would like Sandy Springs to look, feel and function.  Staff and the consulting team will be there to help facilitate the community input sessions, gather data and assess results.

 

Tell Us What You Want     

The Livable Sandy Springs workshops are open to anyone who resides or works in Sandy Springs, and has a stake in the future progress of the community.  Call the project office at Sandy Springs Revitalization, Inc. for more information or to reserve a spot, 404-252-9352.  If you cannot come to a workshop, you can still participate.  Take the “Walkability Survey” on page 6, or contact us in writing with your ideas and input by May 1st.  You will be able to follow our progress on the Sandy Springs Community Web Site at www.sandysprings.org beginning in April.

 

On June 14th we’ll pull it all together when we present the Livable Sandy Springs Plan to the entire community at the Sandy Springs Revitalization Annual Meeting.  We hope you will plan to be there.