To the editor:

A final decision on development of the old Target site should be made like any good business decision – with the gathering and analysis of solid data.

Engaging Goody Clancy should be a significant step in this direction. I look forward to seeing quantified data points such as pre- and post-development property values, resident quality of life measures and visitor satisfaction scores from other cities that have invested in developing or redeveloping town centers.

There are those in strong support of a municipal complex complete with the possibility of exercising eminent domain and those in favor of using this opportunity to build a city center based on green space. Until there is solid data, all we have are arguments and opinions.

My personal leaning at this point is toward green space with concurrent development of surrounding retail and restaurant space. At the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods’ annual meeting, a speaker challenged residents to think outside the box by moving such commercial development off Roswell Road and to one block on either side of Roswell Road. What a fabulous idea!

That said, the Goody Clancy research should include a qualified cost analysis of building a municipal complex from scratch, buying another site or continuing to rent space to fill this city’s overhead need. The analysis should also include the economic benefits of a park-based town center in a city sorely lacking such space.

Decisions of this magnitude should not be made on what people feel or believe or think is right. The mayor and City Council are the equivalent of a corporate board of directors, with fiduciary duties to the shareholders. It is the duty of our elected officials to ensure thorough research, including significant public opinion, is obtained and fully vetted before committing or spending another penny of public funds on this project.

The public’s obligation is to participate in sessions designed to gather our opinions. The first of these s scheduled May 8 at the Sandy Springs United Methodist Church’s Hitson Center.

The planning process will dictate the direction of our one opportunity to get this right. Please participate.

Mary Jo Marx