Sandy Springs City Council may choose a site during its Nov. 2 meeting for a project that would build a new Anne Frank exhibit and Holocaust memorial.

The city has identified five potential options for the project, including locations at City Springs, Heritage Sandy Springs and the Abernathy Arts Center.

A conceptual illustration of the Sandy Springs Cultural Center as shown in a feasibility study of three potential sites. (Special)

The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust has been searching for a home for the “Anne Frank in the World” exhibit, which has been closed since losing its space at the Parkside Shops shopping center. The hope is to expand the Anne Frank exhibit at a new location and add other exhibits, along with office space. 

The mayor and city council is set to approve a location for the project at its Nov. 2 meeting, according to an agenda. 

The site selection process has been controversial. Most recently, several residents opposed the idea of using the Abernathy Arts Center as a future site, saying it should continue to hold art classes. 

Currently, the five potential options include:

  • City Springs Outparcel, 1 Galambos Way: This option would build a new structure on a vacant parcel at City Springs.
  • Heritage Building, 6110 Blue Stone Road: This option would renovate the existing building to incorporate the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust.
  • Blue Stone Building, 151 Hilderbrand Drive: This option would demolish a “temporary fleet” facility and construct a new multi-use building.
  • Abernathy Arts Center, 254 Johnson Ferry Road: There are two options at this location. Both would renovate the current Annex building at the art center. But one plan would retain older buildings on the arts center site and replace the tennis courts with parking. The other idea would retain the tennis courts and replace the older buildings with parking. 

The city has $2.47 million available in its capital projects fund for the project, a city memo said. It has spent $23,950 for feasibility studies and due diligence for the City Springs, Heritage and Blue Stone buildings for a center that also would house the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust’s offices and exhibits. Additional studies would be required based on the council’s decision.

The city’s 2012 City Center Master Plan set a goal of creating an appropriate setting for a civic/cultural center, the memo said. For the past three years, it kept a $2.5 million allocation for a cultural center. In 2018, the Georgia General Assembly directed the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust to put a memorial in a prominent location in the state, which led to discussions with the city.

The commission has raised funds for construction costs for the exhibit, memorial and its offices.

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.