LOOK AHEAD: Mayor Jere Wood predicts strong 2013 for Roswell



Thanks to leadership, investments and partnerships, Roswell’s future has never been brighter.

The City Council and leaders from neighborhoods, businesses, charities, churches and schools recently came together to create a vision for Roswell to become the premier riverside community connecting strong neighborhoods and the entrepreneurial spirit. This vision proposes more attention to the Chattahoochee River, enhancements for neighborhoods, collaboration with business and revitalization of commercial and rental properties.

Our goal is to attract talented people of all ages, races and religions. We have long recognized that Roswell must be a great place to live if we want to attract people. Our new vision acknowledges that local businesses are also essential to achieving our goal.

The City Council recognizes that to implement our vision, the city must invest in the community and leverage these investments by partnering with neighborhoods, businesses and the community organizations. Last year, the city invested in the Roswell Business Alliance, the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce Progress Partners, the Roswell Downtown Development Authority and a re-write of our zoning and building ordinances.

The RBA is working with more than 400 local business members and is recruiting more businesses to our city. Progress Partners was instrumental in Roswell commercial corridors being designated a state Opportunity Zone, giving businesses in the Opportunity Zone a $3,000 per year tax credit for each new employee.

The Downtown Development Authority is working on plans to partner with private developers to transform South Atlanta Street and Holcomb Bridge. Roswell’s zoning and building codes are being revised, simplified and streamlined to encourage high quality redevelopment.

Our investments are beginning to pay off. In 2013, new businesses will bring more than 1,000 good-paying new jobs to Roswell’s Opportunity Zone.

I expect private developers to break ground soon on projects to redevelop and upgrade multifamily rental properties made feasible by our re-write of zoning and building ordinances.

Through a partnership with the Fulton County School Board, I expect to see redevelopment of an old and mostly vacant strip center for use as a new school.

In November, the citizens of Roswell approved an investment of $6 million to improve the Holcomb Bridge/Old Alabama/Ga. 400 intersection and interchange. By partnering with the Georgia Department of Transportation, funding for this project has been increased to $9 million. In 2013, I will ask the council to approve investing another $4 million in streets, bridges and intersections. These transportation improvements will spur private investment and revitalize our commercial corridors.

Just as Roswell’s investment in Canton Street 15 years ago has paid an increasing return every year since, Roswell’s investments and partnerships 2013 will continue to pay a return for years to come.

As I write this article, the news is focused on the impending “fiscal cliff.”

Whether or not Congress takes us over that cliff, Roswell has learned from the great recession and is adapting to a changing world.

If there is a cliff, then Roswell has built a hang-glider, and in 2013, we will be soaring like an eagle over the valley, leading Georgia out of the great recession and becoming and even more desirable place to live and to do business.

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