A Re­nais­sance for South Ful­ton looms

The city, which formed in May, has about 100,000 res­i­dents.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - FRONT PAGE - By Arielle Kass akass@ajc.com

Seek­ing a re­birth, the city of 100,000, which formed in May, will hence­forth be known as Re­nais­sance.

There’s a re­newal hap­pen­ing in South Ful­ton.

Seek­ing a re­birth, res­i­dents in its new­est city de­cided Mon­day to make their planned re­vival part of their nomen­cla­ture. The city will hence­forth be known as Re­nais­sance — and not af­ter the nearby fes­ti­val.

“It’s a name we can make some­thing of,” said Sam Bowen, a Re­nais­sance res­i­dent who said he was one of two peo­ple to sub­mit the name for con­sid­er­a­tion. “It’s a clean re­birth, it’s a fresh restart for the whole area.”

The city, formed in May, has about 100,000 res­i­dents and is lo­cated south of At­lanta. It’s the home of Wolf Creek Am­phithe­ater, and both Wolf Creek and At­lanta Heights were in the run­ning for the new name. The city of South Ful­ton won’t of­fi­cially cease to be for at least an­other month, while the city re­vises its char­ter.

Bowen said he’s got­ten some hate mail from peo­ple who think the name is too long, too hard to spell or doesn’t rep­re­sent the area and its ideals. But he said he liked the idea of a name that wasn’t tied to one part of the sprawl­ing city, and could show how far the area had come.

“We could emerge as a pow­er­house on the south side,” he said. “Our lo­ca­tion is one of the best lo­ca­tions in the state.” As far as the spell­ing? “We have a mid­dle school named Re­nais­sance, and those kids seem to do quite fine spell­ing it,” he said.

Lolita Brown­ing-Jack­son, who lives in the city, said she hopes Re­nais­sance comes to

re­flect its name in terms of the mu­sic, arts and cul­ture that it evokes. But she said she doesn’t think the city is there yet, and she wor­ries the name doesn’t re­flect the com­mu­nity.

Deyanna Jones-Re­spress, who lives there as well, said she would have pre­ferred if the name had been cho­sen in a city­wide vote. As it is, mem­bers of city coun­cil chose the name.

“It’s like we’re try­ing to cre­ate an iden­tity that doesn’t re­ally ex­ist,” she said. “If we don’t be­come that, it’s not like we can go back and change the name down the road.”

At­lanta, of course, was once Ter­mi­nus, then Marthasville. Chat­ta­hoochee Hills be­gan its life as Chat­ta­hoochee Hill Coun­try. But it’s un­likely that af­ter chang­ing its name to Re­nais­sance, South Ful­ton would re­con­sider.

In an­nounc­ing the name change, city coun­cil­man Khalid Ka­mau said it was “a nod to a pro­lific, artis­tic pe­riod in African-Amer­i­can history” and in­dica­tive of the city’s as­pi­ra­tions for re­newed eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. In a state­ment, he said the com­mu­nity was “filled with artists and en­trepreneurs, vi­sion­ar­ies and dream­ers, who are ex­cited about this new start.”

Rafer John­son, who ran un­suc­cess­fully for mayor, said he thinks the name can set the com­mu­nity up for suc­cess.

“Now that we have a new name, I hope that this will be a be­gin­ning of a new, pos­i­tive and pro­gres­sive phase in our new city,” he said.

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