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Milton's way: City events on a neighborhood scale



July 11, 2012
In case you missed it, the Crabapple Community Association's annual July 4 Crabapple Parade was a blast. And it shows everything that makes Milton unique from its neighbors.

Alpharetta may have an amazing fireworks show that rivals many large cities, and Roswell may have one of the largest Memorial Day celebrations in the Southeast, but Milton has a tendency to do things its own way, with a more down-to-earth feel.

The parade was much larger than last year's, and featured residents of all ages. However, it was still a far cry from, say, Alpharetta's Old Soldiers' Day Parade (which will be at the end of this month). It exemplified what Milton is all about – small town, rural charm that doesn't necessarily mean quiet and boring.

Driving through downtown Alpharetta July 4 at night, just before the fireworks at Wills Park began, the streets were lined with people; every parking lot for miles was filled with cars.

This is a major event any city would be proud of. Although I would wager almost none of those people who watched the spectacle had set foot inside City Hall. The Milton parade, by contrast, had many people that were familiar faces to anyone who hangs around the city long enough (like me).

That's something Milton has that the other cities largely don't – citizen participation. There was a survey created several years ago asking Milton residents what type of recreation facilities they would like and to rank them. Nearly every resident in the city received a survey and, to the astonishment of the survey team, Milton had a 30 percent response rate.

To put that in perspective, statisticians are happy when they get a 5 percent response rate. All those surveys you see on the TV news? More often than not, they had less than 1,000 people asked who responded. With Milton, 30 percent is about 9,000.

Milton residents are more than just aware of their city, they are interested and involved in their city and care about what happens in it.

And you could tell residents enjoyed the Crabapple Parade. Children, families and laughter were everywhere. It was a party. It was a city event on a neighborhood scale – and I think that's where the Crabapple area is headed.

Someday, there may be a library and a city hall there, but it will still be little more than a large neighborhood filled with neighbors who look forward to seeing each other. It could be at a barbecue at a local restaurant or even a city function. Like a parade.

To learn what you missed at the parade, check out the picture page in this issue. And be sure to attend the next one – you won't be sorry.

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