Now that the new city of Brookhaven is up and running, officials are beginning to create a long-range vision for the city’s future.

This summer, Brookhaven officials will begin searching for a consultant who will help the city create a comprehensive master plan. The planning process, which includes months of public meetings and discussions, is scheduled to kick off this fall, said Communications Director Megan Matteucci.

Many in Brookhaven are eying the potential of a commercial stretch of Buford Highway at the southern end of the city, said City Councilman Joe Gebbia, who represents the area.

“We’re basically accumulating a list of available assets that we can utilize to best develop a long-range economic development program, not only for the Buford Highway corridor, our diamond in the rough … but for the rest of Brookhaven,” Gebbia said.

Matteucci said the city is also preparing to unveil a Buford Highway improvement plan. The plan is to include increased apartment inspections and federal grant money to upgrade the exteriors and public areas of apartment buildings along Buford Highway.

“It’s the southern gateway for Brookhaven, and it’s important that it reflects the image of all of Brookhaven,” Matteucci said.

Arthur Freeman, the executive director of the Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce, said he believes Buford Highway has the potential to grow into a thriving business district.

“In terms of the future, it is the No.1 prime area for commercialization,” Freeman said. “I can see that North Druid Hills to the Briarwood stretch of Buford Highway looks a lot like what is today the proverbial ‘downtown’ section of Buckhead.”

Freeman said with its prime location inside the perimeter and proximity to downtown Atlanta, Buford Highway has a lot of potential for growth.

“As far as we know, other than what city regulations may be in place, there are no height restrictions on what you can build in that corridor,” Freeman said. “It could very easily become a high density area. … It’s the only part of our city, other than the Lake Hearn area, that can accommodate multi-story high rises.”

But Freeman noted that the Chamber of Commerce will help to implement whatever economic development plan residents and city officials choose.

“It’s up to the city and the master plan to approve what will actually be put at those properties,” Freeman said.

Gebbia said he’s looking forward to being able to plan for the city’s future, after working for the past several months to set up the new city’s immediate needs.

“As a council, we’re morphing into a phase where we’re beginning to spend more time and energy looking at long- term possibilities for the city,” Gebbia said.

City and Chamber officials recently attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for a new boxing gym in Northeast Plaza on Buford Highway.

Gebbia said he’s looking forward to working with the Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce to attract more new businesses to Buford Highway.

“We’re working to continue to be pro-business, and the long-term plan is to make Brookhaven a very attractive environment for new business. There’s so many opportunities,” Gebbia said.