This is the second article in a series about Alpharetta’s ten year plan survey.
With apologies to Starship…
We Built This City on High-Tech Jobs!
Maybe that should be Alpharetta’s theme song. Or maybe not, considering the original was rated the worst song ever. But you get my point.
Each of north Fulton’s cities have an identity. Milton is the horse farm town that shuns development. Johns Creek is the hoity toity country club town. Mountain Park is the lake silt lawsuit town. Alpharetta is the high-tech corporate campus city. That’s not a bad thing, it’s who we are. Like it, love it, embrace it. It is the backbone of Alpharetta’s identity. The topics here cascade into the other areas covered in Alpharetta’s 10 year survey, which is why I want to address it first in my series.
I’ve only been here ten years, so I can’t remember the dirt roads and chicken farms. When I arrived I recall seeing all the four lane roads. There were wide roads here long before all the retail and office space filled in. It really stuck out to me, especially when you ventured just a little ways out of town into places like south Forsyth or Cherokee counties. Even today our neighboring burbs don’t have the surface street infrastructure that Alpharetta had more than a decade ago.
And then there are the offices. I work with some long-term Windward cubicle veterans. These dinosaurs teammates remember when Alpharetta’s offices were being built in the middle of nowhere. I don’t know how the city managed to attract businesses like McKesson, HP, Equifax, and the telecoms to open shop here. Nevertheless Alpharetta did, and they brought with them a hundred thousand jobs for college educated professionals. In short, Alpharetta’s previous generation of suburban planners served us well.
So let’s get back to Alpharetta’s survey questions. Here’s one about jobs:
The ability for local workers and families to find quality employment and build personal wealth is very important. Please rate the following statements. Do you feel that Alpharetta provides:
- Access to jobs that provide a living wage
- Access to jobs that provide health insurance benefits
- Affordable housing options
- Access to affordable education/training programs
- Access to affordable child care
- Access to affordable, reliable public transportation options
Um, hello, Mr. Consultant man. Did you copy and paste this question from another town’s questionnaire? Of course Alpharetta provides jobs that meet these criteria, every single one of them. Are you paying attention?
Alpharetta’s success in the next ten years hinges upon the jobs. And every other question on this survey, from education to attracting/retaining residents goes back to jobs. If the jobs go away, the entire house of cards crumbles. It’s why stuff like E-Trade’s recent announcement to renew its lease is a big deal. Municipalities around the country will attempt to lure Alpharetta’s companies away with deals galore. The single most important thing Alpharetta’s leaders can do in the next ten years is to attract and retain the corporate offices and headquarters that call this place home.
And if you still have that damned song in your head… my apologies.