For over a year now we’ve heard much discussion regarding whether the Forsyth County’s outdoor shopping mall, The Collection, will soon have apartments.
I’ve sat through many meetings where elected officials and community members alike have debated if this is a good or bad idea. I can see both sides. And because of that, I believe the most recent decision on the matter to wait until the new year to decide is the best option right now.
For starters, I understand the viewpoint of the apartment opponents.
I live near Avalon in Alpharetta, and for a while this summer, it seemed like every time I’d drive to work a new massive section of trees would be gone, leaving an open raw wound where sprawling green trees formerly stood.
It got to the point where so many familiar landmarks were razed, my brother got lost when he come over to visit, even though he grew up and lived in Alpharetta for over 20 years.
But this development could have been predicted as Avalon has been inspiring growth all around it.
And as much as I hate to see trees that are probably older than me get cut, I understand why it’s happening.
I love living in a city that has so much to offer. I can go to beautiful libraries and parks, pick from numerous non-chain restaurant options when I want to eat and have endless chances to hang out with friends and family at many events and entertainment spots.
Alpharetta is setting the bar very high on creating a live, work, play environment and I believe that came to fruition with Avalon.
Now, Forsyth County has the chance to do the same thing. If the Board of Commissioners approves the proposed expansion of The Collection, it could mean great things for not only the mall but the community.
While the apartments will be different from the living options at Avalon, they will still be a great addition. And while this might invite more transient people to live in Forsyth, it could also invite people who may not be able to afford $200,000 or $500,000 homes.
People like me and my friends. As a millennial I am learning about the housing market, mortgages and property taxes. But to have an option to live at The Collection without having to shell out at least half a million dollars is pretty appealing to me.
I’ve said it before and I stand by it that I would love to live somewhere that I can walk out my front door and be in a community where I can get a drink, see a movie or go shopping.
This development would be exactly what I’d be interested in until I’m ready to buy my own place.
As someone who covers Forsyth, I am familiar with the constant battle about traffic, and I realize this development would increase the traffic situation in the southern part of the county.
But honestly, we need to invest in our community if we want it to thrive. And more traffic for the time being might be something we have to cope with.
Living near Avalon and working right down the road from downtown Alpharetta, I sit through traffic daily, even on the weekends.
But if the consolation prizes are to have Avalon and a constantly growing and thriving downtown — I’ll take it.
The future of Forsyth is in our grasp. The commissioners and community have the opportunity to decide which way the county will go. And while it won’t be the end of the world if the apartments are denied, it may be the end of a chance to shape the future of the county into something many people could enjoy and help Forsyth County prosper for many years to come.