Roswell residents have put forth their ideas about how to improve the Holcomb Bridge Road and Ga. 400 area and most agreed that a top priority should be to redevelop the area.
The opportunity to chime in is part of the city’s most aggressive development efforts in decades – Imagine Roswell 2030. This comprehensive development plan covers issues such as economic development, housing, land use, public facilities and transportation for the next 20 years.
The city has held a series of meetings to discuss Imagine Roswell 2030 since last year.
Because the Holcomb Bridge Road and Ga. 400 area are such a major part of the city, planners decided to devote more time to gathering ideas on how to improve it.
Over the course of three days this week, business owners, residents, public officials and others met and bandied about ideas. As the ideas were narrowed down, three major themes were born: redevelopment, pedestrian friendly paths and more mixed-use development.
Resident John Thomas was one of the people who worked on the plan. He explained how the focus groups zeroed in on four quadrants of the city when determining what was needed.
“The ideas were melded together based on the common themes and then incorporated into a grand master plan,” he said.
In the northwest quadrant, some of the vacant space could be filled with a farmers’ market. More mixed used development could benefit the southwest quadrant. In the northeast quadrant, where Kimberly Clark is located, a bridge could be built that would facilitate pedestrians and bicyclists. Once the economy turns around, the southeast quadrant could be a boon for developers who want to build large projects, such as a major hotel and conference center.
City Councilwoman Nancy Diamond said that she knew developers were interested in the city’s approach to redevelopment because of these ideas.
“What kind of businesses can we attract here...this plan can be incredibly positive,” Diamond said. “Developers present here tonight are saying they’ve never seen anything like this.”
Participants also stressed that Roswell needed to make its self more identifiable. If you don’t live in the city, or if you are not familiar with it, you might just drive right pass it if you are on Ga. 400. That’s a problem, said several of the participants. They want something that serves as a gateway, of sorts, that announces you’re in Roswell. One idea was to build a bridge over Big Creek.
Roswell hired Pond & Company to help draft the comprehensive plan. Michelle Alexander, the director of planning for the company, has helped to lead the discussions.
“This is not about the potholes in front of your house today, it’s about how you want your community to be 20 years from now,” she said. “You must still focus on the historic district and natural resources, but that’s not enough to carry the city into the future.”
On March 12, the city will host an open house at Roswell City Hall to give all residents the opportunity to see how the plan is coming along.
The mayor and city council will have to approve it in October.