Five Questions for Sandy Springs, GA Mayor Rusty Paul

A massive new event complex and other offerings for groups make this a hot spot for meetings

Sandy Springs, GA Mayor Rusty Paul

Sandy Springs, GA is entering an exciting time. City Springs, a 14-acre complex featuring a world-class performing arts center, studio theatre, programmable green space, as well as shopping, dining, and meeting spaces, is set to open in the summer of 2018. 

What's new in the city for groups? 
A decade ago, the main artery in Sandy Springs was a location to steer away from, rather than a destination. As we near the opening of City Springs in the summer of 2018, we've created a first-class, modern-day take on the town square, welcoming arts and culture enthusiasts, foodies, shoppers, and visitors to the city. City Springs is a world-class cultural asset featuring a Performing Arts Center and Studio Theatre as well as a programmable green space. For visiting groups, City Springs will also feature shopping and dining opportunities, along with a variety of meeting spaces, a few of which will offer one-of-a-kind views of the metro area. This combined with local affordable hotels and free parking makes City Springs ideal for visitors.

What's a venue or activity that's a "hidden gem" for visiting groups?
Sandy Springs provides a blend of urban amenities within a natural landscape that few other cities can match. Residents and visitors alike are able to enjoy 22 miles of Chattahoochee River shoreline and three trail units of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area within city limits. You can enjoy Stand up Paddleboard yoga classes and SUP demos at Overlook Park; guided river tours offered by the Nantahala Outdoor Center's Chattahoochee River Outpost; or hike the trails at Island Ford, Powers Island, or East Palisades. A playable art park at the Abernathy Greenway entertains young visitors, and while in the midst of Mother Nature, one is always in close proximity to great dining and shopping. In 2018, the city is excited to unveil its crown jewel, City Springs, and its Performing Arts Center, bringing best-in-class performances to our city.

What's a good outing for a group looking to get a sense of the city's culture or history?
With roots dating back to the 1800s, Sandy Springs originated as a watering stop of Native Americans who frequented the area's bubbling springs, and quickly became a community as settlers moved into the area. While Sandy Springs today is the second largest city in the metropolitan Atlanta area and is home to Global and Fortune 500 companies including UPS, Global Payments, and Mercedes Benz USA, it has not forgotten its roots. Visitors can immerse themselves in the area's history by visiting:

The Heritage Sandy Springs Museum at the Williams-Payne House - One of the oldest houses in the community, the Williams-Payne house was built by farmer Walter Jerome Williams in 1869, later purchased by Major and Marie Payne in 1938. The house was moved to the Heritage Historic Site in 1986 and opened to the public in 1990 featuring museum gallery spaces.

The Anne Frank in the World: 1929-1945 Exhibit - Free and open to the public, this exhibit uses more than 500 photographs to tell the story of Anne Frank. It was developed by the Anne Frank House and is sponsored in North America by The Anne Frank Center USA. It is presented in the state by the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust, and hosted by the City of Sandy Springs.

Lost Corner Preserve - Lost Corner, a beautiful 24-acre nature preserve provides several important clues to the history of Sandy Springs. The property has only had two owners since the Native Americans inhabited the land. The land remains largely unaltered, with the original homestead structures still in place. Lost Corner also features a community garden, nature trails, and small meeting place within the main building.

Hewlett Lodge at Island Ford - Hewlett Lodge was once the summer home of Georgia Superior Court Justice Samuel Hewlett. Construction began in the 1930s, using timber from the Okeefenokee Swamp and stone from Stone Mountain, taking six years to complete. Today, it is home to the Island Ford Visitor Center.

Where should a group go to get a truly local culinary experience?
It's a matter of taste buds. Within Sandy Springs, it is easy to find that culinary experience you crave. A few examples include Ray's on the River, where elevated Southern seafood dishes are served in an intimate setting along the Chattahoochee River; cheese making and tasting at Calyroad Creamery; Il Giallo Osteria & Bar, where Italy comes to Georgia in this impeccable dining spot featuring hand-made, fresh pasta and Italian specialties; Food 101, where Southern classics meet with a modern twist in this farm-to-table eatery frequented both by locals and guests; Cafe Vendome that offers a slice of France and the perfect croissant, along with fresh pastries, breads and sandwiches; and Under the Cork Tree, with ingredients locally grown by a Sandy Springs native, this neighborhood favorite features tapas, wine, and Mediterranean food. 

Anything else that you think makes your city a great destination for groups?
Location, location, location, and affordability. Sandy Springs is close to whatever you choose to do when visiting the metro Atlanta area. With the major interstates intersecting through Sandy Springs and convenient access to three MARTA rail stations, you are within 45 minutes to all of the area's key attractions, including the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, College Football Hall of Fame, Braves Stadium at SunTrust Park, Mercedes Benz Stadium, and Stone Mountain, as well as shopping centers like Perimeter Mall, Lenox Square, and Phipps Plaza. The city is also home to high-end, affordable hotels with free parking. 

For meeting planners, those same qualities provide groups with exciting opportunities to host and participate in meetings and events. The spaces at City Springs were created with flexibility in mind. The main Performing Arts Theatre will be center stage for arts performances, but is equally adaptable for film premieres and corporate events. The Studio Theatre easily transitions from meeting space to dining event to ballroom. The conference level in the main City Hall building can host events ranging from small, boardroom-style meetings to receptions in an outdoor space overlooking the park with views of the downtown Atlanta skyline. 

An interesting feature at City Springs is that the facility has no backdoors. City Springs was created to be open and welcoming to all, and we look forward to seeing you on the green.