Incorporated in 2005, Sandy Springs is Georgia’s sixth largest city and the second largest city in the metropolitan Atlanta area.
Sandy Springs originated as a watering stop for Native-Americans who frequented its bubbling springs, and quickly became a community in the 1800’s as settlers moved into the area. In 1842, the oldest house in Sandy Springs, the Austin-Johnson House, was erected on what is now Johnson Ferry Road, and in 1851 Wilson Spruill donated 5 acres of land for the founding of the Sandy Springs United Methodist Church near the springs. So began the development of the area that would become the city’s center.
Today, the original “sandy springs” can be found at Heritage Green, a four-acre city park that is operated by Heritage Sandy Springs, a non-profit organization dedicated to the history and culture of the community.
The community remained rural until the mid-1950s. In the 1960s, Interstate 285 and the first phase of GA 400 were opened, connecting Sandy Springs to metro Atlanta and initiating a housing boom that brought new residents and major land development. Efforts to incorporate Sandy Springs began in 1966, in response to attempts by the city of Atlanta to annex this unincorporated area of North Fulton County. Sandy Springs residents, led by Eva Galambos, fought for 40 years to obtain their own government and become a city. In June 2005, an overwhelming 94 percent of residents voted for incorporation. Voters then returned to the polls and elected Galambos as the City’s first mayor.
Prior to 2005, the community had relied upon a large county government for the provision of services, which residents felt did not adequately meet their needs. The result was a desire for a streamlined government physically closer and responsive to community needs. Sandy Springs took non-traditional approach by contracting with private companies to perform the majority of its services in a public-private partnership model of government, providing considerable savings and higher levels of service for the City.
The Sandy Springs PPP model is widely regarded as an example for other local governments, with city leaders from across the country and around the globe visiting Sandy Springs to learn about more about it.
Today, the City enjoys one of the most innovative systems of service delivery in the country, while maintaining a traditional Southern charm and hospitality. The constant, over the years, has been the long-held belief in Sandy Springs as a friendly gathering place. Guests can be assured of a warm Southern welcome when visiting Sandy Springs!