Alpharetta candidates give city updates

DeRito, Mitchell cover City Hall, parking, traffic

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. – The candidates of Alpharetta’s sole contested race this election season came together Oct. 24 to share their views on the city and meet some constituents.

Incumbent Donald Mitchell and challenger Doug DeRito were at the monthly meeting of the Alpharetta Business Alliance (ABA), held at the Wells Fargo branch on North Main Street. While the gatherings are usually more about networking, given the proximity to the Nov. 5 election, it was decided to give the candidates some speaking time. They fielded questions about the city from the ABA members.

High on people’s minds were the new City Hall and, of course, traffic.

“I am thrilled,” said Mitchell about the construction. He said the City Hall and accompanying parking deck are scheduled to be completed in September of 2014. “It’s going to be a great community and regional attraction.”

“We started planning it in 2002,” DeRito said. “It’s an extremely great accomplishment for the city. There’s no doubt this will have an economic stimulus in Alpharetta.”

DeRito served on the Alpharetta City Council for nearly a decade where he was involved in early plans for a new City Hall. He gave up his seat in an unsuccessful run for mayor two years ago.

“Traffic will be one of my top priorities,” DeRito said. “We are the jewel of North Fulton and attract a lot of traffic.”

He said even if Alpharetta had the best roads in the state, with all of the traffic passing through the city, it’s a losing battle.

“We can make all the improvements we want, but if we build it, they will come,” he said.

He stressed working on regional solutions, including MARTA, to both move traffic more quickly and lessen what traffic there is.

Mitchell agreed, adding that many projects are going on in the city to help immediate problems, such as adding turn lanes on Windward Parkway at Deerfield Parkway, to help move traffic into Milton.

Rucker Road is in the middle of having a 2.5-mile section planned for redevelopment, complete with a median and turning lanes.

The election is Nov. 5. Early voting can be done the week of Oct. 28 through Nov. 1 at Alpharetta City Hall.