Proposed Smyrna art district detailed in task force presentation

·2 min read

Sep. 18—SMYRNA — The city's 150th birthday is next year, and officials want it to look pretty.

A task force charged with filling out the details on a proposed arts district presented its ideas to the Smyrna City Council on Thursday night.

"This is an investment. I'm sure most of us have heard of the (Atlanta) BeltLine. And most of us know of the economic impact the BeltLine has had anywhere it touches real estate," Robert Harrison, a member of the task force, said. "This is something that will be a tangible asset to the city, (something) the city can use to market, the city (can use to) promote economic development."

At a total cost of $75,000 to $100,000, the first phase of the "Smyrna ARTery" would run along Atlanta Road from its intersection with Windy Hill Road to Brawner Park and showcase works of art from artists near and far. Harrison said most of the first phase could be completed by the city's 150th birthday, in the fall of 2022.

Installments could be as small as a painted manhole cover and as big as a large sculpture, Harrison said.

Mayor Derek Norton, also a member of the task force, was quick to note any potential works of art would require council approval. On Monday, the council will vote on an arts policy that would standardize the acceptance, placement, display and maintenance of art on city-owned property.

The second phase could run along an east-to-west corridor, such as Concord Road from South Cobb Drive to the Rev Cafe at Jonquil Drive, Harrison said. Eventually, it could run all the way to The Battery Atlanta.

Many potential locations, such as Smyrna fire station 1 or the Reed House, are already city-owned, making the approval process much easier, he continued. But some works of art would also be installed on private property.

"I've heard a rumor there might be a brewery happening somewhere in Smyrna," Harrison said to chuckles, referring to Norton's plan to bring a StillFire Brewery to Atlanta Road as part of a downtown redesign. "But that would be an excellent location where a private business could participate that's located on the artery, and I know the one that's being mentioned has a history of doing that in Suwanee."

The task force members hope to secure funding from the council next month and to put out a call for artists in January, with council approval of artwork and installation coming that spring.

"I just can't wait to see what this looks like in the end," Norton said as Harrison wrapped up his presentation.

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