Attracting and Retaining Relos in Alpharetta

This is the fifth article in a series about Alpharetta’s ten year plan survey.

We’re nearing the end of my little series on the ten year plan survey. If there is a topic I keep coming back to it is that of jobs. There is no way to talk about attracting or retaining the residents of this area without talking about jobs. And more so than that, you have to frame this discussion against the context of Alpharetta being America’s #1 Relo-ville destination. I can’t take credit for that designation, Forbes Magazine bestowed that honor on us last year.

What attracts people to Alpharetta? Many times it goes like this…

Boss: “There is a new opportunity for you in our Alpharetta office.”

Soon-to-be-Relo: “Alpha what? I like living here in Peoria.”

Boss: “You’ll move to Alpharetta or you’re fired.”

Relo: “Um, okay. What’s there to do in Alpha..eat..ah?”

Boss: “Tennis. Oh, and you’re gonna need an SUV… a big one.”

The single best way Alpharetta can attract and retain residents is to maintain our position as the king of the relovilles. It is just about that simple, yes. Thanks for reading… goodnight.

Okay, perhaps not. We also get folks from other parts of metro Atlanta that want to move here. So let’s look at some of the survey’s questions on this issue…

Please rank the top ten (10) challenges Alpharetta faces in attracting and/or retaining residents with one (1) being the most important challenge.

And here is my list in ranked order…

  1. Creating more quality jobs
  2. Traffic congestion
  3. Infrastructure quality
  4. K-12 capacity, financing, and quality
  5. Quality development, planning, and land use
  6. A more vital Downtown
  7. More entertainment and recreation amenities
  8. Appearance of the city
  9. Cost of living
  10. More diverse housing stock (i.e., apartments, more choices of single-family homes)

Jobs of course, followed by traffic/infrastructure, schools, stuff to do, etc. I’ve beat the jobs issue to death. Let’s talk traffic. Over the long haul, the city needs to be careful not to turn Alpharetta into the perimeter area. The surface streets there are a clogged mess. Alpharetta’s GA-400 feeder streets need to be able to handle the longterm demands of cubicle dwellers coming and going. Beyond that, east-west commutes continue to be trouble for many working here. Much of this is beyond Alpharetta’s control.

Alpharetta also need to be careful not to sacrifice traffic flow for the sake of appearance and beautification. I’m thinking about their plans for Main Street and Milton’s thought on GA-9. But this is a topic for another article.

So I’ll turn the question to my readers… As a resident of Alpharetta, what can the city do to retain you as a resident? What can the city not do that might cause you to move?

2 Responses to “Attracting and Retaining Relos in Alpharetta”

  1. Bob Strader November 18, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    Excellent question Lee – I’m looking forward to seeing some input from your readers. Here is mine:

    1. Expanding on your downtown and quality development suggestions, our cities should work with development for live/work/play environments. Great walkable communities that Alpharetta and Crabapple should become.
    2. Bike lanes – so people don’t have to drive to those great destinations.
    3. Is it too lofty to dream of an Arts Center? A place for exhibits, plays/shows and events. A lot of dirt on Old Milton that may be available comes to mind.
    4. Did I mention bike lanes?

    Great post Lee

  2. Lee November 18, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    Thanks for the comment, Bob. I like the idea of an art center.

    While bike lanes/paths sound nice, I think realistically no one is going to use them. It sounds nice, I can take my bike to work, save on gas, etc. But only the most crunchy of granola types will do this day in and day out. The rest of us love our cars. I know I do.

    Nevertheless, lawmakers know that things like the greenway are politically popular to voters. I fully expect to see bike paths/trails included in transportation plans in the coming future.

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