Alpharetta's New City Hall

The new Alpharetta City Hall designs were finally approved
 Dec. 17 by council. Construction is likely to begin next year.


ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Alpharetta's new City Hall is looking more and more like a reality. The Alpharetta City Council unanimously approved designs and floor plans for the new building at their Dec. 17 council meeting.

The overall cost went up significantly – $1.4 million – when it was discovered the soil beneath the building is not entirely suitable to build without significant excavating.

"We didn't anticipate this," said City Manager Bob Regus.

A large detention pond for water runoff had to be changed to not only harm fewer trees, but also to fit in better with the design of the parkland, as more of a natural pond than a man-made feature.

Michael Schwartz, the architect, described the designs of the new building in detail with council.

City Hall will have a "traditional neoclassically inspired design," Schwartz said.

It will be three stories in the center with two, two-story wings on either side. A cupola will sit on the roof close to the front entrance.

The ground floor will hold the community development department, primarily. The first floor will hold a large oval lobby. To one side are the large council chambers. On the other side is a multi-purpose room that can double as council overflow seating. There will also be a history room and special event offices.

The second floor holds the offices of finance, I.T. and human resources.

The top floor will house administration and the executive conference room.

Around the outside are designs and motifs Schwartz said would highlight the unique qualities of the city.

"We want to take a universal style and make it specific to Alpharetta," he said. This includes acorns and a Dogwood motif throughout the building, to stress the city's parks and natural side.

In the oval lobby, the city's distinctive compass rose seal will be featured.

Moving forward, residents should see the project begin next year.

Mike Hall, of consultants Jones, Lange, LaSalle, said work will start at the end of March, and in August, grass will be sown so that it is ready when the town green and the park open in 2014. By the end of the year, the largest trees will begin to be installed around the edge of the site.

Construction itself will begin sometime in April, he said. In July, the site will be ready for the library to begin construction. The designs of the library are in the hands of Fulton County Library Board and have not yet been finalized

Alpharetta named one of 'friendliest town' by Forbes

Ranked as no. 7 nationally

Crowds routinely pack Alpharetta's downtown for events, such as the Taste of Alpharetta.
December 21, 2012
ALPHARETTA, Ga. - It should come as no surprise to anyone who lives near Alpharetta, but the North Fulton city was named one of the nation's friendliest towns by Forbes magazine and a California networking site.

The list of 15 great towns was compiled by, a neighborhood social networking site based in San Francisco. 500 towns were considered with populations between 5,500 and 150,000. They were ranked based on four criteria – percentage of owner-occupied homes, crime rate, charitable giving and percentage of college graduates.

In their writeup, Forbes noted that Alpharetta throws many events throughout the year and called it the "city of celebration."

For Mayor David Belle Isle, the ranking was a pleasant surprise

"We think of ourselves as friendly anyway but our efforts to generate an interest downtown played a role," he said. "We have so much excitement and energy going on in the city."

With the annual Christmas tree lighting, the largest Tastefest in the southeast, the Georgia-Florida tailgate, and numerous other small events downtown, Alpharetta residents have seen plenty of activity in 2012.

"These events do create opportunities for communities, families and neighbors to come together," Belle Isle said. "Everybody wants the amenities of a large town and the quaintness of a small town. That gives value beyond geography. Those are things people get excited about."

Taste of Atlanta October 5-7, 2012
October 5+6+7, 2012

Gwinnett Tech to buy 27-acre land in Alpharetta

ALPHARETTA, GA. - The state board of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) has approved the future purchase of approximately 25 acres of land in Alpharetta as the site for a new satellite campus of Gwinnett Technical College. This property is located at the intersection of Old Milton Parkway and GA 400.

The board approved the recommendation from Gwinnett Tech's North Fulton County Site Selection Committee at its September 26 meeting. The college opened an Indication of Interest for the North Fulton County Campus Site Selection in May, and this recommendation is the result of that process. Gwinnett Tech's service area was expanded to include North Fulton County in June 2010.

"We believe we've identified an ideal location in our North Fulton County service area for our future campus -- a site that provides both needed capacity and is convenient and accessible for area residents. We now look forward to the next steps in this process and the ultimate approval and purchase of the property," said Sharon Bartels, president, Gwinnett Tech.

The recommended purchase will now be submitted to the State Property Commission for approval, with the transaction ultimately closed by the State Attorney General's office. The expected timeline for both actions to be completed is between six to nine months.

The 25-acre recommended site can support 4 three-story buildings and necessary parking. When fully built out, the campus could serve up to 10,000 students.

Discussions between Gwinnett Tech leadership and North Fulton employers will continue to determine which college credit programs and Continuing Education courses will be offered to support both short-term training needs and future employment demands.

While these discussions are underway, GTC will continue to offer focused training through online degree programs, Continuing Education courses and Adult Education programs in North Fulton.

Gwinnett Tech has been offering selected Continuing Education programs like Building Operator Certification® and a Patient Care Technician course in North Fulton, to strong response, for over a year. Additional information about the college's Continuing Education courses is available from David McCulloch, 770-995-9697, or on the website at

Currently, the Adult Education program at Gwinnett Tech offers day and evening ESL classes and GED® preparation classes in North Fulton County. Additional information about the college's Adult Education program is available from Stephanie Rooks, 678-226-6662, or on the website at (Navigate to Adult Education, GED® or ESL). More than 250 residents are currently being served through Adult Education classes at the former Milton High School. GTC is investigating other sites for Adult Education classes as well.

3540 Grey Abbey Drive, Alpharetta, GA 30022

Hard Coat Stucco in sought after Glen Abbey Subdivision
Click Here for Virtual Tour

Celebrate July 4th in Alpharetta

The Fourth of July is an exciting time to visit Alpharetta. From an All-American Celebration at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park to the traditional July 4th Festivities and Fireworks at Wills Park- there is guaranteed to be something for everyone!

July 4th events
July 4th Festivities and Fireworks July 4, 2012
4:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Wills Park
1825 Old Milton Parkway
Alpharetta, GA
Celebrate Independence Day with family and friends at Wills Park on Wednesday, July 4, 2012! The City of Alpharetta Recreation and Parks Department will provide free "inflatables" for children to play and jump on from 4pm to 8pm on the lawn behind the Alpharetta Community Center. The Alpharetta City Band will perform a medley of patriotic favorites beginning at 6pm on the lawn behind the Community Center. Serious Business, a local band, takes the stage from 7pm to 9pm to entertain the crowd with country and rock 'n' roll favorites. Our spectacular fireworks display begins at dusk! Fireworks will be shot regardless of the weather conditions.
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra: July 4th All-American CelebrationJuly 4, 2012
8:00 PM
Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
2200 Encore Parkway
Alpharetta, GA
Tony Award-winning Broadway vocalist Debbie Gravitte, the US Army Chorus, and post-concert fireworks highlight the Orchestra’s All-American Celebration.
James Casto at Chukkar FarmsJuly 7, 2012
8:00 PM
Chukkar Farms and Polo Club
1140 Liberty Grove Rd
Alpharetta, GA
James Casto is joined by Allison & Paquette on the beautiful 170 acre Chukkar Farm. Most shows sell out. Tables seat 2, 4, 6, 8, or higher. Bring food, beverage and friends for an unforgettable night of music.

Taste of Alpharetta

Taste of Alpharetta
Thursday, May 10, 2012
5 - 10 pm
Across from Alpharetta City Hall at 2 South Main Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009

Taste of Alpharetta has become an annual tradition for festival-goers, families and food connoisseurs for 22 years. Make reservations on your calendar to dine in Historic Downtown Alpharetta at over 50 restaurants in one fun night. Sample delicious appetizers, entrees and desserts from the top menus in town. Enjoy culinary demonstrations, activities and entertainment to please every palette. Free Admission. Food tickets are $.50 each and restaurants participating in the Taste will charge $1-3 per food sample.

With the Taste of Alpharetta moving back to the historic downtown streets, our Music Stage will have current retro-themed bands. A separate Culinary Stage will pair top area chefs against one another in contests. Party with metro Atlanta radio stations. Play at the Fun Zones. Come out and enjoy Alpharetta’s premier dining experience!

Alpharetta Arts Street Fest

Sat & Sun, April 14-15, 2012
10am – 6pm
2 South Main Street, Alpharetta, Georgia 30009

Presenting the work of artists from throughout the U.S., the Alpharetta Arts Streetfest is a yearly celebration of the arts in the Alpharetta Historic District. We will close downtown streets and fill them with original high-quality art. This colorful festival features live jazz and acoustical music, cultural arts performances, children’s activities and festival cuisine.

Gibbs Gardens

Seasons of Color
 Gibbs Gardens, less than an hour from Atlanta is nestled in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains. We invite you to visit and refresh your sense of wonder.

The Gibbs family has creatively planned and developed more than 220 acres of gardens. Their 300 acres estate has a 25 year old manor house that overlooks the mountains and gardens. When open, the private gardens will provide a relaxed and enjoyable experience.

Enjoy the serenity of nature and stroll along the streams with many waterfalls or around the water gardens with 22 reflecting ponds. Cross the bridges and refresh yourself with the beauty and fragrance of thousands of plants, flowers, and millions of bulbs that provide a wide array of color, shape and texture for the 16 garden venues. A mature, native woodland surrounds the gardens with the peace and tranquility of nature.

Milton to Buy Land for Bell Memorial Park Expansion

City Council approved spending $345,000 on almost 4 acres of land next to the existing park, home to the Hopewell Youth Association baseball league.

Before Milton City Council even had a chance to approve the purchase of 3.82 acres of land next to Bell Memorial Park, the biggest supporters of that park were thanking the city.
Scott Stachowski, president of the Hopewell Youth Association, spoke at the start of the Monday night council meeting to offer his organization's thanks. (Watch accompanying video.) He couldn't stay to watch the $345,000 purchase be approved because his son's baseball team had a practice he needed to attend.
Mayor Joe Lockwood said after the meeting that the additional park land could allow expansion of the existing facilities.
First, however, the city will check the property for problems, such as having been a site where George Washginton once slept, containing 55 barrel drums or being another "Stone Mountain," said City Manager Chris Lagerbloom. While he spoke "tongue in cheek" about those possibilities, the city has 120 days to make sure the city isn't buying any problems. Within that time, the city can back out of the purchase without penalty. He doesn't expect it to take that long to perform due diligence on the land.
The $345,000 is within the appraised value of the land, Lagerbloom said.

Avalon owners present possible retailers, site plan for 400/Old Milton

Representatives of North American Properties presented details about the proposed Avalon development project to a packed house at Alpharetta City Hall Monday night.
Mark Toro, managing partner at North American Properties, went over the initial site plan, spoke about prospective retailers, eased minds over for-rent housing and explained how Avalon will differ from the former Prospect Park project.
Toro also identified the areas where Alpharetta may be lacking in its offerings to the community.
“You're probably under the impression that Alpharetta has everything,” he said to the crowd before going to describe some “missing components.”
In addition to lacking “experiential retail,” Toro said Alpharetta is in need of luxury for-rent residential units. The initial site plan shows 250 of these units.
“But we can't call them apartments,” he said. “The challenge we see with proposing apartments in cities like Alpharetta is that people are concerned about crime, attracting the wrong type of element and diminishing of property.”
Toro went onto describe the type of for-rent housing he envisions for Avalon, as high end lofts located above retail spaces geared toward the “young cosmopolitan” group.
“It's a major change in thinking that has to happen for this project to be successful,” he said.
Faced with questions about parking, Toro said the parking structure that currently sits on the property at Ga. 400 and Old Milton Parkway will be torn down.
Residents expressed other parking concerns, as well, saying the site plan seems to show a large number of parking spaces and parking garages. Toro said the parking issue can be reevaluated if necessary during one of the upcoming planning commission or design review board meetings.
Retailers Toro said will be joining the project include Whole Foods and Regal Cinemas. Developers are looking at companies such as Michael Kors, Apple, Lacoste, Microsoft, Swarovski, Anthropologie, United Colors of Benetton and Stuart Weitzman as possible tenants.
The project, according to Toro, will differ from the failed Prospect Park project in a number of ways, mostly relating to how much less dense it will be.
Avalon will have 36 percent less office space, 34 percent less retail space and 34 percent less daily car trips than its predecessor.
Avalon developers are also looking at bringing in upscale chef-driven restaurants, which are rarely seen in suburban areas.
But the multi-use development will not only cater to those looking for a luxurious experience. Toro maintained that viability and balance are key to the success of Avalon.
The Avalon proposal will appear before the planning commission March 1 and before City Council March 26.
If all goes as planned, Avalon's construction will begin in August and will open October 2013.
Information: and

Shamrockin’ For A Cure: 4th Annual Benefit for The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at Verizon Amphitheatre

Shamrockin’ For A Cure: 4th Annual Benefit for The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Presented by Baker Financial Group – your financial coachShamrockin’ For A Cure: 4th Annual Benefit for The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Saturday, March 10th at 7:00PM
ShamRockin’ is proud to partner with the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park to bring you the best ShamRockin ever! Dance the night away and dine on delicious delicacies We’ll once again have an amazing collection of auction items, both Live and Silent. Enjoy your favorite libation (responsibly, of course) with complimentary beer, wine and vodka. Other cocktails also available for sale at the full service bar in the VIP lounge. Party with a Purpose: St. Patrick’s Day has never been this much fun, and felt this good!
Come Party With Us! We’ll Eat, Drink, and Cure Cystic Fibrosis!

Milton, Alpharetta Schools Awarded for High Performance

Sixteen schools in the two cities have students who are meeting and exceeding standards.

Gov. Nathan Deal announced today, Jan. 17, that 370 Georgia public schools are being recognized for improvement and achievement during the 2010-2011 school year. These include 16 schools in Alpharetta and Milton.
The schools are being recognized under Georgia's Single Statewide Accountability System (SSAS), developed by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, to award schools based on their performance on state curriculum exams and Adequate Yearly Progress status.
"Congratulations to these 370 schools for their commitment to hard work and high academic standards," said Deal. "The principals and teachers at these schools are to be commended for maintaining a focus on providing every student with a world-class education."
The awards are being announced as part of the release of the 2010-2011 K-12 Public Schools Report Card. The Report Card, which features the SSAS awards, was developed by GOSA and provides bottom-line data for Georgia’s preschools, K-12 schools, colleges and universities, technical colleges, and educator licensing and accreditation.
The schools are awarded on four levels -- Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze -- in two categories:
* Greatest gains: 111 schools are being recognized for demonstrating significant improvement on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) or the Georgia High School Graduation Tests (GHSGT).
* Highest performance: 259 schools are being recognized for high achievement on the CRCT or GHSGT.
Highest Performance for Students Meeting and Exceeding Standards

Crabapple Crossing Elementary School Platinum
Summit Hill Elementary Platinum
Birmingham Falls Elementary SchoolGold
Creek View Elementary SchoolSilver
New Prospect Elementary School Silver
Lake Windward Elementary School Silver
Fulton Sunshine Charter ElementaryBronze
Cogburn Woods Elementary SchoolBronze
Milton High SchoolGold
Alpharetta High SchoolBronze
Fulton Science Academy High School Bronze
Fulton Science Academy (Middle)Platinum
Northwestern Middle SchoolGold
Webb Bridge Middle School Silver
Hopewell Middle SchoolBronze

GA 400 Getting More Lanes south of McFarland

Gov. Nathan Deal got stuck in traffic on his way to Johns Creek a few months ago, so North Fulton is getting another lane on both sides of GA 400.
Deal announced funding for an additional lane north and south between McFarland Road and the toll plaza in his State of the State Address. It was a secret he'd been keeping for months, having worked on the proposal with Brandon Beach of the GA Department of Transportation Board. Deal is the chairman of the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA).
All the funding is coming from a combination of motor fuel dollars (GDOT) and toll money from SRTA, Beach said. So you might not like the extension of GA 400 tolls, but at least some of that money is being used to ease your commute.
As long as you don't have to drive after dark, the construction won't be too much of a problem as all work will be done at night.
If you thought those merge lanes at exits 7 through 11 were excessively long, you'll appreciate how GDOT will get another through lane. Those lanes will be used to create the additional travel lanes.
Between the Chattahoochee River and I-285, Deal said the state plans to implement flex shoulders in each direction, allowing traffic to keep moving during peak rush hours.
New concrete will be poured to add capacity. Since shoulders–known as an emergency lane when your car breaks down!–are narrower than traffic lanes, adding a few feet in width may be necessary.
Once the flex lanes are available, don't try to speed down them as police may need to close them down in case of emergencies. That has some emergency personnel and motorists concerned.
Perhaps as soon as the end of March drivers just traveling within North Fulton will have an alternative in Westside Parkway, as the final section between Webb Bridge Road and Old Milton Parkway should be completed. The North Fulton Community Improvement District–headed by Beach–gave Alpharetta a $789,000 check to pay for right of way and GDOT is paying for construction with motor fuel will be completed by the end of March.

455 Garrick Point, Alpharetta, GA 30022

Offered at $669,000

Stunning 6 bedroom and 5 bath home in Glen Abbey subdivision on cul-de-sac.  Two story foyer with extensive trim work.  Formal dining room with trey ceiling and wainscoting.  Formal living room with bay window. Spacious kitchen with stainless appliances including double ovens and stained cabinets, open to keeping room with fireplace and built-ins.  Two story great room with fireplace and built-ins. Guest suite on main. Huge master with sitting room and fireplace and built-ins. Professionally finished terrace level with home theater, wet bar, additional media room with fireplace, bedroom and workout room. Stone patio leading to level, private lot. Level driveway.

Additional Photos

Alpharetta Kicks off Downtown Plan

Alpharetta kicks off downtown plan
By Rachel Kellogg
The city of Alpharetta broke ground last week on a road construction project that marks the first step in its Downtown City Center revitalization project.
Members of the City Council and other officials kicked-off the relocation of the section of Haynes Bridge Road between Old Milton Parkway and Academy Street in Downtown Alpharetta.
“It’s going to be a great thing for the downtown to have this project completed in a couple years, and I’m looking forward to seeing it finished,” Mayor Arthur Letchas said at the groundbreaking event.
At last week’s City Council meeting, the city of Alpharetta awarded a $2.29 million contract to C.W. Mathews Contracting to construct the new alignment of Haynes Bridge Road, shifting the roadway to the east beginning just north of Old Milton Parkway.
According to Councilman Chris Owens, the company has done work for the city in the past and has completed projects early and on budget.
The project also includes the addition of a traffic circle near the intersection of Thompson Street and the addition of parallel parking along the northern section of the roadway.
To create a more pedestrian-oriented environment in Downtown Alpharetta, the newly constructed section of Haynes Bridge Road will have only two travel lanes for cars.
According to city officials, the movement of Haynes Bridge Road had to be the first phase of the larger project.
Shifting the roadway to the east unifies the 24-acre site and opens that part of the property that will be home to the new Fulton County Library that will begin construction in 2012.
At the groundbreaking, Letchas pointed out that the original plan for the City Center development, which was voted down by council in 2009, was only a seven-acre site.
“[This project is] something we’ve worked on for a long time,” Letchas said.
“But with good things, there’s a reason why they’re delayed for so long sometimes, and I think it’s come out to be a much better project by waiting.”

Christmas Tree Recycling in Roswell, Johns Creek, Milton and Alpharetta

Many sites will take Christmas trees for recycling
Now that Christmas is done for another year, local residents can give a gift to nature by recycling their holiday trees.
There are dates and times in four north Fulton cities for all who want to participate:

Keep Roswell Beautiful is holding its 22nd annual Bring One for the Chipper at the two Home Depot locations in Roswell on Jan. 7 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The two Home Depot locations are on Holcomb Bridge Road in Holcomb Woods Shopping Center and Woodstock Road across from Publix. 

Milton Grows Green is also holding its Bring One for the Chipper.
Residents may take Christmas trees Jan. 7 to Milton High School’s Birmingham Road entrance, 13025 Birmingham Hwy., and Home Depot, 5300 Windward Pkwy., for assisted dropoff from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Scottsdale Farms, 15639 Birmingham Hwy., will offer extended dropoff Dec. 26 through Jan. 7.

In Alpharetta, Jan. 7 is also Bring One for the Chipper day. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. trees will be accepted at the Windward Parkway Home Depot Store. Community volunteers will be available to help unload the trees.

The city of Johns Creek and Keep North Fulton Beautiful will take undecorated trees Jan. 7 at The Home Depot, 5950 State Bridge Road, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To find other tree dropoff locations, visit