Press release to celebrate completion of the Whispering Pines neighborhood design project  generated local newspaper and TV coverage.

The story highlights preservation strategies applied in the demonstration program, and notes some of the challenges and successes of retrofitting older neighborhoods for modern living.


October 29, 2001



Barbara Prebble, Communications Mgr.

Sandy Springs Revitalization, Inc.



New Lights for Whispering Pines Make Trick-or-Treat Scary and Safe for Sandy Springs Neighborhood.


WHAT: Whispering Pines Neighborhood Trick-Or-Treating and Street Lighting Celebration
WHERE:   Wright Road in Sandy Springs (just off Johnson Ferry Road south of Abernathy)
WHEN:  Wednesday, October 31, 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Remarks at 6:30 p.m.)


Sandy Springs, GA -- While kids from other neighborhoods must go to the church or school social hall for their Halloween socializing, kids in the Whispering Pines neighborhood of Sandy Springs, Ga. will be able to trick-or-treat the old fashioned way -- door to door -- bathed in the light of brand new streetlights thanks to the efforts of Sandy Springs Revitalization, Inc., Fulton County, and residents of the Whispering Pines.


The parents as well as the kids are very excited about the new lights, and have planned a celebration in the street at Wright Road in the neighborhood to kick off the evening of trick-or-treating.  Wright Road at Whispering Trail will be closed off between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. for the activities. Representatives from Sandy Springs Revitalization, Fulton County Commissioner Tom Lowe's office, Fulton County C.O.P.S. and Georgia Power will all be on hand to celebrate the completion of a neighborhood revitalization project four years in the making


In 1998 Whispering Pines, an older 1960's era neighborhood located adjacent to the Roswell Road commercial district, became the first Sandy Springs neighborhood to serve as laboratory for neighborhood preservation.  Whispering Pines, like many Sandy Springs neighborhoods, had no sidewalks or pedestrian street lighting.  Some of the residents were concerned at the declining state of the neighborhood -- 20-25 per cent of the homes were rentals, and multiple families occupied a number of the single-family residences. Virtually no reinvestment in property had taken place for quite a number of years.  Neighbors didn't know each other and there was very little socializing.


Phase I of the Whispering Pines Neighborhood Master Plan sought to revitalize the neighborhood by installing nearly 1.5 miles of new sidewalks, and traffic calming devices including brick paved entry "neckdowns" and "splitter islands".  In the three years before the revitalization program began, there were twenty building permits issued in the neighborhood with a total value of just under $40,000.  Since the completion of the Phase I of the plan in 1998, 23 permits have been issued with a total value just over $375,000, a ten fold increase in neighborhood reinvestment.  Residents formerly plagued by cut-through traffic between Johnson Ferry and Abernathy Roads have found themselves walking and jogging in their own neighborhood for the first time -- and getting to know their neighbors.


Phase II -- installation of pedestrian scale lighting -- will be complete just in time for Halloween 2001 trick-or-treating.  Kids and their parents may enjoy a good scare on Halloween, but going door to door in the dark and dodging headlights of oncoming cars is really not that much of a treat.  Whispering Pines with its well-lit safe sidewalks will now become a model for other older neighborhoods to admire and emulate, and the only thing scary about this Halloween eve will be the jack-o-lanterns and goblins at each doorstep.


This neighborhood preservation project is being funded by Fulton County through appropriations made possible by Commissioner Tom Lowe, and managed by Sandy Springs Revitalization, Inc. Fulton County matched $50,000 in pledges and contributions raised by neighborhood association president Bill Cleveland with $75,000 in County funds (FY 2001) to cover installation expenses for the pilot street lighting program.  Georgia Power is providing and installing the lights on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.


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Directions to Whispering Pines in Sandy Springs:  From I-285 at Roswell Road, go north on Roswell Road  (1.5 miles) to Johnson Ferry Road.  Turn left on Johnson Ferry Road and go through the Sandy Springs Circle intersection at the Sandy Springs Fire Station.  Continue on Wright Road Take your first right turn at Wright Road.