Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis says Georgetown project a must.

“Stop buying stuff and start fixing stuff.” That was the mantra of my campaign while running for mayor. We are sitting on top of $87 million of aging stormwater systems that have to be replaced or repaired. We have 169 miles of roads that we are repaving as fast as we can. We need to concentrate on fixing stuff for the next few years. We have to concentrate on addressing our “needs” before considering our “wants.”

We need to figure out what to do with the land we own. The most important being the 16-acre former pipe farm in Georgetown. It was zoned and slated to become several hundred apartments. We bought it from the bank at a steep discount and have been holding it, waiting for the right time to do something special with the land. At the same time, the Emory Dunwoody Hospital site had been bulldozed and cleared for sale. In the two months that I’ve been mayor, I’ve had dozens of suggestions concerning what we should do with the pipe farm: big box retail, a grocery store, a park, a park with a city hall. Save it for a future school site, senior housing, small retail with restaurants and specialty shops. The list goes on!

My thought was, whatever we do, it needs to be a catalyst for the whole area. Something that would encourage other landowners and businesses to invest their own money into the area. I want something that is transformative. The problem is that I didn’t think the 16 acres was enough to jump start the future development of the area. We need a bigger and bolder statement that says we are serious about Georgetown and think of it as a gateway into Dunwoody. That’s where the Emory Dunwoody Hospital site comes into play. The city has this property under contract. Sixteen plus 19 equals 35 acres of prime real estate. That should be enough!

However, I said we would stop buying stuff and start fixing stuff, right? So, how do we trigger this transformation and not buy any more stuff? The answer? A “public private partnership.”

This past Thursday, the city announced “Project Renaissance.” The city has these 35 acres either owned or under contract. The goal for the city is to end up with approximately 16 acres of public space surrounded by a combination of many of the suggestions I have heard from citizens above. The dream is for parks, trails, an amphitheater, vast lawns and maybe a city hall in concert with a significant private sector investment in residential and commercial development.

That development will have to be appropriate for Dunwoody – low-density owner occupied single-family type housing and neighborhood level commercial property. Like Suwanee, we intend to build the ”beach” and partner with the private sector to build the “beachfront property.” We intend to do all of this for less investment then we have already obligated into the 16 acre pipe farm.

The right partner and the right mix of what we want for this area will truly catalyze Georgetown. Five or 10 years from now, we will be able to get off I-285, turn left, cross over the bridge and say “Ahhh… I’m home!

For more information on Project Renaissance, I invite you to visit our new project website:

From the Crier.


GaryRayBetz said...

Monsieur le Maire, Où les enfants jouent?

If need be, we the FDLC (Free the Dunwoody Leaker Club) shall adorn our faces with Guy Fawkes Halloween masks (accessorizing with a cape will be optional), march in league to the farm, chanting "Vive le Parti Vert", and chain ourselves to the PVC pipes in front of the oncoming bulldozers in order to preserve our green space!!!

GaryRayBetz said...

All progress depends on the unreasonable man.

George Bernard Shaw