City Focus: Smyrna The OTP home to SunTrust Park and Cumberland District has become a showpiece of successful renewal and economic growth
Known as the Jonquil City, Smyrna is more than just a pretty place. With its proximity to the Cumberland District, SunTrust Park and major transportation corridors, Smyrna is well positioned for the coming decades.
“Smyrna has become a showpiece of successful renewal and economic growth,” says Max Bacon, Smyrna’s mayor since 1985. “We are a vibrant municipality that has come about because of our commitment to a well-considered vision, our approach to development, our commitment to fiscal responsibility and our dedication to serving our citizens.”
Community has always been at the forefront of planning by city officials, from the creation of its Village Green, Community Center, Library and government buildings more than three decades ago to recent redevelopment and revitalization efforts that include such locales as Jonquil Village, Belmont and Smyrna Market Village. And today, through the city’s Guide Smyrna comprehensive plan, officials are mapping the city’s 20-year vision. “The plan will be the framework for land use, corporate investment and city operations,” Bacon continues. “By looking forward and assessing our resources and strengths, we will continue to move forward and become an even stronger community.”
“It’s always been about location, but we have so much more to offer,” says Jennifer Bennett, community relations director of the second-largest city in Cobb County. “As a thriving, active town, we truly are a connected community where people know each other and are proud to call Smyrna their hometown. It’s been pretty remarkable how much we have changed over the past several years, with new businesses, new housing options and so many events and activities that bring our residents together.”
““With our healthy economy, diverse neighborhoods, flourishing businesses and excellent schools, Smyrna is turning into what we envisioned when we began our redevelopment,” says Mayor Max Bacon.
For instance, frequent citizen engagement brings people together with several major festivals and regular events. “Smyrna was the first town outside Atlanta’s Perimeter/I-285 to host Food Truck Tuesdays, and we are delighted with how successful it’s been,” Bennett says. “We host everything from family movie nights to the spring and fall Jonquil Festivals and a pet event called Woofstock presented by STAR 94 each September.”
It’s this kind of community spirit that has continued to attract people to the city, which has been recognized for its many accomplishments. From 2000 to 2012, Smyrna’s population increased more than 28 percent, compared to 21 percent in Georgia and 11 percent in the U.S. More than 50 percent of its residents hold bachelor’s degrees or higher. And the city maintains an AAA rating with Standard & Poor’s—the highest rating possible.
“With our healthy economy, diverse neighborhoods, flourishing businesses and excellent schools, Smyrna is turning into what we envisioned when we began our redevelopment,” Bacon says. “People want to be part of a community that works. That’s Smyrna.”
Revitalization in Action
Smyrna’s redevelopment and revitalization efforts are on full display. Check out these spots to get a glimpse of what the city has been up to in recent years.
Jonquil Village – Located along Atlanta and Spring roads, the 12-acre development was 100 percent leased before it was fully built out. Fresh, newly leased space is coming to the market soon.
Reed House – Formerly a private home, this event facility is owned by the city and serves as a beautiful example of adaptive re-use that benefits citizens, the community and historic preservation.
Brawner Hall – Recently restored and updated, the two-story Greek Revival building, which previously was the Brawner Institute, houses two city departments, training classrooms and several rooms to rent for special events, including the stately Reception Room. n
For more information about the City of Smyrna, visit SmyrnaGa.gov.
Smyrna’s Global Reach
The diversity of Smyrna’s business mix brings global flair into the neighborhood and is known to reach beyond the city limits with the work these businesses do.
Porch Light Latin Kitchen, a cozy Pan-Latin spot offering dishes and drinks from Puerto Rico, Argentina, Mexico and beyond, is one of the newer and most popular additions to the downtown scene. Chef Andre Gomez trained with some of Atlanta’s most notable chefs, but was truly influenced by his grandparents’ cooking of authentic Puerto Rican and Argentine dishes. After the 2017 hurricane in Puerto Rico, the establishment was an organizer of citizen-led relief efforts.
Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd. is a worldwide leader in the design, manufacturing and sale of ceramic-based passive electronic components and solutions, communication modules and power supply modules. The company—which has facilities worldwide—has committed to the development of advanced electronic materials and leading-edge, multi-functional, high-density modules. Murata recently participated in The SpectacuLAB interactive show at Disney World with its Cheerleader Robots, which use the latest sensing and communication technologies to achieve perfect stability and a flawless synchronized routine.