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Sandy Springs, Georgia
—  City  —
Location in Fulton County and the state of Georgia
Coordinates: 33°56′15″N 84°22′7″W / 33.9375°N 84.36861°W / 33.9375; -84.36861Coordinates: 33°56′15″N 84°22′7″W / 33.9375°N 84.36861°W / 33.9375; -84.36861
Country United States
State Georgia
County Fulton
 - Mayor Eva Galambos
 - Total 39.0 sq mi (101.0 km2)
 - Land 37.7 sq mi (97.7 km2)
 - Water 1.3 sq mi (3.2 km2)
Elevation 1,093 ft (333 m)
Population (2008)
 - Total 82,674
 Density 2,596.8/sq mi (1,002.0/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 30327, 30328, 30342, 30350
Area code(s) 404/470/678/770
FIPS code 13-68516[1]
GNIS feature ID 0332975[2]

Sandy Springs, Georgia, is a city in north Georgia, incorporated in December 2005. It is the affluent suburb just north of Atlanta and is the eighth-largest city in the state and the third-largest city in the Atlanta metropolitan area. According to the US Census Bureau, the 2008 estimated population was 82,674. Sandy Springs is located in north Fulton County, Georgia, just south of Roswell and west of Dunwoody, and is named for the sandy springs that still exist in the city as a protected historic site. It is the second-largest of the three official cities of the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area.



Portion of modern Sandy Springs skyline. Georgia 400 runs at center between the residential Park Towers at left and the Concourse office and hotel towers at right.

In 1851 Wilson Spruill donated five acres (two hectares) of land for the founding of the Sandy Springs United Methodist Church, near the sandy spring for which the city is named. In 1905 the Hammond School was built at Johnson Ferry Road and Mt. Vernon Highway, across the street from the church.

After World War II, Sandy Springs experienced a housing boom, bringing new residents and major land development. In the 1960s and 1970s Georgia 400 and Interstate 285 connected Sandy Springs to metro Atlanta.

Debate over incorporation

Debate over incorporation began in the 1970s when the city of Atlanta attempted to use a state law to force annexation of Sandy Springs. (Buckhead had joined Atlanta in 1952.) The attempt failed when the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled that the law was unconstitutional. In response, the Committee for Sandy Springs was formed in 1975. In every legislative session since 1989, state legislators representing the area introduced a bill in the Georgia General Assembly to authorize a referendum on incorporation. Legislators representing the city of Atlanta and southwestern Fulton County, who feared for the tax revenue that would be lost, blocked the bills using the procedural requirement that all local legislation be approved first by a delegation of representatives from the affected area.


When the Republican Party gained a majority in both houses of the General Assembly in early 2005, the procedural rules previously used to prevent a vote by the full chamber were changed so that the bill was handled as a state bill and not as a local bill. The referendum initiative was approved by the Assembly and signed by Governor Sonny Purdue. The Assembly also temporarily repealed the 1995 law that all Georgia cities must provide at least three municipal services on their own or have their cityhood revoked, because the new city would need time to start up and would be contracting most of its services from the county through the end of 2006. The assembly also repealed the requirement that new cities must be at least three miles (4.8 km) from existing cities, because the new city limits border both Roswell and Atlanta.

The referendum was held on June 21, 2005, and residents voted 94% to 6% in favor of incorporation. Many residents expressed displeasure with county services, claiming, based upon financial information provided by the county, that the county was redistributing revenues to fund services in less financially-stable areas of the county, ignoring local opposition to rezoning, and allowing excessive development. Many residents of unincorporated and less-developed south Fulton County strongly opposed incorporation, fearing the loss of tax revenues which fund county services. County residents outside Sandy Springs were not allowed to vote on the matter. Efforts such as requesting the U.S. Justice Department to reject the plan were unsuccessful.

Interim government

As provided for by law, Governor Sonny Perdue named five residents to an interim government committee for the city, called the Governor's Commission On Sandy Springs. In five years (2010), the charter drawn up by the legislature will have to be reviewed for any proposed or necessary changes.

Elections and formal incorporation

A mayor and six city council members were elected in early November 2005, and formal incorporation occurred on December 1, making it the third-largest city ever to incorporate in the U.S. (Centennial, Colorado, Miami Gardens, Florida, and Spokane Valley, Washington, did the same in 2001, February 2003, and March 2003, respectively, making them first, second, and fourth). The six city council districts are roughly northwest (along the Chattahoochee River), northeast (north of Dunwoody), southwest, southeast, east (along Georgia 400), and central.


  • In 1950, the state legislature blocked Atlanta from annexing the area.
  • In 1952, the Buckhead area north of Atlanta and south of Sandy Springs was annexed.
  • In 1959, after a fire at Hammond Elementary School, Atlanta Mayor William Hartsfield urged residents to support annexation so that the area would have better firefighting protection.
  • In 1966, annexation was defeated in a referendum, with two-thirds voting against.
  • In 1975 and 1976, the Committee For Sandy Springs was created and efforts in the legislature began.
  • In 1989, a new push was made, this time to join neighboring Chattahoochee Plantation in Cobb County. This move was blocked by Speaker of the House Tom Murphy.
  • In July 2005, residents voted 94% for incorporation in a referendum.
  • In November 2005, Sandy Springs residents elected the city's first mayor and city council. Eva Galambos, who had initiated and led the charge for incorporation, was elected mayor by a wide margin. All city officials took office when the city was incorporated on December 1.
  • In 2006, the city's police force began service on July 1 with 86 police officers with the average 10 years of service. Today SSPD has over 145 Sworn Officers and growing.
  • In 2006, the city's fire department was launched on December 29.

Population history

  • 1980: 46,877 (census)
  • 1990: 67,842 (census)
  • 2000: 85,812 (census)
  • 2008: 82,674 (estimate)


The boundaries of Sandy Springs are Atlanta to the south, Cobb County (at the Chattahoochee River) to the west and north, Roswell (also at the river) to the north, and the newly incoporated city of Dunwoody (at the DeKalb County line) to the east. A small panhandle in the northeast extends between the Chattahoochee River to the north and Dunwoody to the south, ending in a very small border with Gwinnett County.


Sandy Springs has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa).

Climate data for Sandy Springs
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 50
Average low °F (°C) 29
Precipitation inches (mm) 5.34
Source: [3] 2009-08-13


In recent years, Sandy Springs has experienced an absence of local government and major challenges from traffic. City planning and efforts to improve traffic flow are high priority issues to the community.


Sandy Springs is served by two major limited-access highways, Georgia 400 – which runs north-south – and I-285 – which runs east-west. Major surface streets include Roswell Road (U.S. 19/Ga. 9), Johnson Ferry Road, Abernathy Road, Glenridge Drive, and Dunwoody Club Drive.

The new city's public works department has made significant improvements in the conditions of roads and traffic signals since incorporation in December 2005. The department has cleaned approximately 1,500 catch basins, striped 30 miles (48 km) of roadway, responded to more than 2,000 calls for repair and service, re-timed hundreds of traffic lights to help improve the flow of traffic and reduce automobile idling, and repaved 60 miles (nearly 100 km) of roads.

The GDOT is widening Abernathy Road between Johnson Ferry and Roswell Roads from two lanes to four plus a road median, and the city is developing a linear park where homes along Abernathy were demolished, with sidewalks and walking trails to add greenspace and improve connectivity in the city. The western intersection is being reconfigured so that traffic to and from Johnson Ferry Road – which now carries heavy loads of Cobb County commuters across the Chattahoochee River at rush hour – will flow directly with Abernathy to and from the northwest.

The 2008 fiscal year saw the creation of the Sandy Springs Traffic Management Center (TMC). The TMC was constructed and began to operate in less than six months. Construction began in February 2008, five cameras viewed traffic along Roswell Road by the end of June. Special features of the TMC include a webpage that allows the public access to real-time traffic conditions and voice-activated controls. By June 2009, 16 traffic cameras are now available and can be viewed onilne at

Two well-known roads are closed until at least March 2010, after severe flooding hit the metro area in late September 2009: Riverside Drive at Marsh Creek, and the residential part of Peachtree Dunwoody Road at Nancy Creek. In both cases, support piers were seriously damaged or washed out. The FHWA gave emergency federal grants to the city, which will allow around-the-clock work to replace the bridges in six months, instead of the year or two originally predicted.

Mass transportation

The major provider of mass transit is MARTA, which operates a heavy rail rapid transit line and several bus lines through Sandy Springs. The city is served by the Medical Center, Sandy Springs and North Springs stations. The Georgia Regional Transportation Authority also operates express buses from the North Springs station to other counties.



  • Mayor: Eva Galambos
  • District 1: John Paulson
  • District 2: Dianne Fries
  • District 3: Chip Collins
  • District 4: Ashley Jenkins
  • District 5: Tiberio "Tibby" DeJulio
  • District 6: Karen Meinzen McEnerny
  • City Manager: John McDonough


This city is a bold experiment in public-private partnership. Most services are being handled by the engineering and operations firm CH2M HILL OMI, although public safety is not outsourced. Sandy Springs, at first glance, appears to be run just like other similarly-sized cities, with a council-manager form of government. However, it is the first city in the nation to outsource services to such a great extent to a private sector company.

The city's police department took over services from the county on July 1, 2006 and is now staffed by 145 officers and growing. The city's fire department began operations in December 2006. The department consists of 97 full time firefighters. The former Police Chief Gene Wilson Jr. was replaced by current Police Chief Terry Sult in 2009 while the fire department is headed by Chief Jack McElfish. It is staffed by 91 full-time firefighters and 52 part-time firefighters. The police department answered 98,482 calls in FY 2008 while the fire department handled 9,273, 78 percent of which were emergency medical calls.

The city of Sandy Springs has purchased the old Target Corporation building located on the corner of Sandy Springs Circle and Johnson Ferry Road.[4] The building has sat vacant since the December 2008 purchase. Rumors say that this location will one day be the new home to the Sandy Springs Courthouse and other governmental buildings.

Disputes with Fulton County

During the transition period, the city has had some disputes with the county. Most notable among these was over the existing parks then within the city. The county commission voted to sell them on the "open market," but later the Commissioner At-Large, Rob Pitts, clarified that there was no intent to sell for land development purposes. As of July 2006, there was still harsh debate over whether to sell the parks for $5,000 each, $1 per acre, or at market value, or to lease them for 50 years for one dollar each annually. Under state law, the county cannot legally give the parks away, nor can any parks be used for development. In December 2006, Sandy Springs purchased 11 parks and greenspace areas from the county.

The newly-purchased facilities include:[5]

  • Abernathy Park
  • Allen Road Park
  • The John Ripley Forbes Big Trees Forest Preserve
  • East Conway Drive Park
  • Ed Morey Pocket Park
  • Hammond Park
  • Island Ford Park
  • Johnson Ferry Road Greenspace
  • Lost Corner Preserve
  • Morgan Falls Athletic Fields
  • Morgan Falls Overlook Park
  • Ridgeview Park
  • Sandy Springs Tennis Center
  • Sandy Springs Historic Site & Park


Sandy Springs is home to the headquarters of several Fortune 500 companies, including United Parcel Service[6] and Newell Rubbermaid.[7] Mirant Corporation, Mueller Water Products and Spectrum Brands, all Fortune 1000 companies, are also based in the city. The city is also home to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, InterContinental Hotels Group, IBM Internet Security Systems, Northside Hospital, Porsche Cars North America and Saint Joseph's Hospital.[citation needed]

The city's largest business district is the Roswell Road corridor and Perimeter Center (although Perimeter Mall itself lies in adjacent DeKalb County). Perimeter Center, which is the biggest edge city in the Atlanta area, includes many high-rise buildings, including the 570-foot (170 m) Concourse Towers, which are often identified locally as the "king and queen" towers because of their distinctive architecture. Just south of this business district, across I-285, is a major medical center, anchored by Northside Hospital, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, and Saint Joseph's Hospital.[citation needed]

AFC Enterprises (owner of Popeye's Chicken and Cinnabon) has its headquarters in Sandy Springs.[8][9][10] Church's Chicken has its headquarters in Sandy Springs.[11][10] First Data has its headquarters in Sandy Springs.[12] Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, Inc. and its subsidiary Arby's have their headquarters in Sandy Springs.[13][14][10] Cox Enterprises and subsidiary Cox Radio are headquartered in Sandy Springs.[15][16][10]

Sumitomo Corporation operates its Atlanta Office in Suite 2150 at Six Concourse Parkway, 6 Concourse Parkway NE. Industries supported include Living Related Products and Real Estate.[10][17]

Diplomatic missions

The city has two consulate generals.[18][19] The Consulate-General of Colombia in Atlanta is located in Suite 405 at 5901 B Peachtree Dunwoody Road.[20] The Consulate-General of Nigeria in Atlanta[21] is located at 8060 Roswell Road.[22]


Primary and secondary schools

Public schools continue to be operated by the Fulton County School System.

Elementary schools serving sections of Sandy Springs include Dunwoody Springs Charter Elementary School, Heards Ferry Elementary School, High Point Elementary School, Ison Springs Elementary School, Lake Forest Elementary School, Spalding Drive Charter Elementary School, and Woodland Charter Elementary School.[23]

Two middle schools, Sandy Springs Middle School and Ridgeview Middle School, are in and serve Sandy Springs. Two high schools, North Springs Charter School of Arts and Sciences and Riverwood High School, are in and serve Sandy Springs.

There are private schools located in Sandy Springs. Some of those are:

  • Holy Innocents' Episcopal School (preschool through high school)
  • Mount Vernon Presbyterian School (preschool through high school)
  • Brandon Hall School (4th grade through high school)
  • The Doris & Alex Weber School (high school) - Rated Top High School by the Sandy Springs School Association in 2009.
  • Greenfield Hebrew Academy (k-8)
  • The Epstein School(k-8)
  • The Alfred and Adele Davis Academy (k-8)
  • St. Jude the Apostle Catholic School (k-8)

Public libraries

Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System operates the Sandy Springs Branch.[24]


(Note: the 2000 census numbers are for Sandy Springs prior to incorporation, but cover the same area.)

According to the Census Bureau's latest 2008 estimate, the population of Sandy Springs is 82,674. In the official census of 2000, when there were 85,781 people, 39,288 households, and 19,683 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 2,274.1 people per square mile (878.1/km²). There were 42,794 housing units at an average density of 1,134.5/sq mi (438.0/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 77.55% White, 12.04% African American, 0.18% Native American, 3.29% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 4.94% from other races, and 1.95% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.93% of the population. According to a 2006 report by the Atlanta Jewish Federation, 15,300 Jews reside in Sandy Springs and the adjacent city of Dunwoody.[25]

There were 48,288 households, out of which 21.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.1% were married couples living together, 7.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 49.9% were non-families. 35.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 17.8% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 40.3% from 25 to 44, 21.6% from 45 to 64, and 9.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 96.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.0 males.

According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $76,240, and the median income for a family was $109,810. The average income for a household was $116,406 and the average income for a family was $169,815. Males had a median income of $60,053 versus $50,030 for females. The per capita income for the city was $53,790. About 3.1% of families and 7.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.9% of those under age 18 and 1.9% of those age 65 or over.[26]


Downtown Sandy Springs (Hammond)

Although it does not resemble a traditional downtown, the area around Hammond Drive, Roswell Road, and Sandy Springs Circle tends to be thought of as Downtown Sandy Springs. This is also the area surrounding the historic sandy springs that spurred the name of the city. The city is currently taking bids to redevelop the downtown area into a mixed use town center complete with a municipal complex located on the site of the Target store on Sandy Springs Circle. Also, the city is seeking to add more roads to the district so it resembles a more traditional street grid pattern. This area was historically known as Hammond.


Riverside is the western district of the city, bordering the Chattahoochee River, and forms the western border with Cobb County. It is a very affluent area and is marked by large mansions sitting on large lots on winding, hilly roads. The main road is Riverside Drive, and it is located off the Riverside Drive exit of I-285.

Perimeter Center

Perimeter Center is a commercial edge city and business district surrounding Perimeter Mall. Although about 40% of Perimeter Center, including the mall, is located in Dunwoody, the western 60%, including most of the area's office towers, are located in Sandy Springs. Pill Hill is located in the Sandy Springs section of Perimeter Center and is the largest medical center in Georgia. It includes Northside Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital, and Children's Health Care of Atlanta. Hammond Park is located in this neighborhood, and it is also where the Sandy Springs (MARTA station) and Medical Center (MARTA station) are located.

Dunwoody Panhandle

This affluent residential area is bounded by Northridge/Roberts Drive to the South, the Chattahoochee River to the north, GA 400 to the west, and the city limits of Dunwoody to the east/south. It also extends to a small border with Gwinnett County. Major roads include Spalding Drive and Dunwoody Club. It is a controversial area for the city, as this area has typically been considered Dunwoody (however, even before Sandy Springs became a city, the panhandle was part of Sandy Springs CDP). Tension mounted when Dunwoody street sign toppers were removed and replaced with Sandy Springs street sign toppers. This area also resisted being within the city limits, with residents stating that they considered themselves Dunwoody. Sandy Springs claimed the area would be marketed as Dunwoody in Sandy Springs, much like Buckhead in Atlanta. This has yet to be seen, and some residents still refer to themselves as living in Dunwoody. It is referred to by most Sandy Springs publications as the Dunwoody panhandle, or simply the panhandle, due to its shape.

North Springs

North Springs is the large northernmost district of the city, and is generally defined as the area west of GA 400, east of Brandon Mill Road and the Chattahoochee River, and north of Abernathy Road. The main thoroughfare is Roswell Road. North Springs High School, named after the district in which it is located, is off Trowbridge Road. North Springs (MARTA station) serves the district, and happens to be the terminus of the MARTA Northeast-South line.

Sandy Springs ITP

Although most of the city is outside the Perimeter, a portion extends inside the perimeter. This is a mostly residential area that merges into Buckhead. The main commercial road is Roswell Road. Peachtree Dunwoody Road is the approximate eastern border, while the Chattahoochee River forms the western border. The southern border is the city of Atlanta. Most of this area is extremely affluent and centers around scenic, mansion-filled single-lane roads such as Northside Drive, Mt. Paran Road, and Powers Ferry Road.

In its 02/19/2010 rankings of 420 U.S. communities with populations above 75,000, determined the city of Sandy Springs, GA to be the 2nd wealthiest in The South, and the 9th wealthiest in the United States. [27]


  1. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Average weather for Sandy Springs". Retrieved 13 August 2009. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Recreation & Parks Department
  6. ^ "Contact UPS: United States." United Parcel Service. Retrieved on May 19, 2009.
  7. ^ "Contact Us." Newell Rubbermaid. Retrieved on January 5, 2009.
  8. ^ "Company Profile." AFC Enterprises. Retrieved on February 23, 2010.
  9. ^ "Cinnabon At-A-Glance." Cinnabon. Retrieved on February 25, 2010.
  10. ^ a b c d e "City Council Districts." City of Sandy Springs. Retrieved on July 4, 2009.
  11. ^ "Grand Opening!" Church's Chicken. Retrieved on February 23, 2010.
  12. ^ "Contact." First Data. Retrieved on December 9, 2009.
  13. ^ "Contact Us." Wendy's/Arby's Group. Retrieved on February 25, 2010.
  14. ^ "Privacy Policy." Arby's. Retrieved on February 25, 2010.
  15. ^ "Contact Us." Cox Radio. Retrieved on April 24, 2009.
  16. ^ "[ Cox Enterprises, Inc. Reaches Agreement to Acquire Public Minority Stake in Cox Communications, Inc.]" Cox Enterprises. October 19, 2004. Retrieved on July 4, 2009.
  17. ^ "Office Network." Sumitomo Corporation. Retrieved on January 25, 2009.
  18. ^ "City Council District Maps." City of Sandy Springs. Accessed October 26, 2008.
  19. ^ "Consulates." Georgia Department of Economic Development. Accessed October 26, 2008.
  20. ^ Home page. Consulate-General of Colombia in Atlanta. Accessed October 26, 2008.
  21. ^ " Consulate-General of Nigeria in Atlanta. Accessed November 10, 2008
  22. ^ Consulate Location
  23. ^ "Sandy Springs Elementary School Attendance Boundaries School Year 2009-2010." Fulton County School System. Accessed October 26, 2008.
  24. ^ "Sandy Springs Branch." Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System. Retrieved on February 24, 2010.
  25. ^ [1]
  26. ^ Sandy Springs 2007 Income Estimates
  27. ^ [2]

External links

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