by: Rachel Stockman Updated:
FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - Community members are somewhat divided about a recent effort to annex the Sandtown community with the City of Atlanta.
The Sandtown community is a historic part of unincorporated south Fulton County and includes about 20,000 residents.
“I don’t see the innovation in south Fulton, I see it in north Fulton, and I think it is time for a change, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that,” said John Davis, a longtime resident who supports the annexation.
Hundreds showed up at a meeting held at Zion Hill Baptist Church on Campbellton Road. The church is not taking a position in the effort.
About 70 percent of the questions asked by concerned residents were regarding the future of education in the community if they were annexed by the City of Atlanta.
City officials said that unless an exception is carved out, the children attending Fulton County Schools would likely be transferred into the Atlanta Public Schools system.
“Atlanta Public Schools is headed in the right direction. I have every confidence in Atlanta Public Schools. I am not concerned about kids having to annex in and having to send their kids to Atlanta Public Schools,” said Keisha Lance Bottoms, an Atlanta City Council Member. “If it is their desire to annex into the city then we welcome them with open arms.”
“If those council members want us to send our students to those schools, then why don’t they send their children to those schools,” said Lagayliah Appleby, Sandtown community resident.
Those against the effort include community members pushing for a new City of South Fulton. The bill to incorporate a City of South Fulton died before coming to a vote in the last legislative session.
“We live in a Democratic society. We should have had our right to vote to be a city,” said Helen Willis with Go South Fulton.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed was scheduled to attend Monday’s meeting, but had to cancel at the last minute.