The Atlanta Journal featured this story about a young family that recently moved to Alpharetta. The story tells of a man and woman named Pat and Sarah Tramonte. They were married three years ago and have an 11 month old daughter. They also just bought a house in Alpharetta. Like many young couples Pat and Sarah had been living in an apartment in Dunwoody. They both grew up in Dunwoody but he and his wife looked for a home in the Roswell and Alpharetta area because Pat works here.
The Tramonte’s story is typical of most people moving to Alpharetta. In fact the Tramonte story is a perfect example of what made Alpharetta one of the greatest places to live in the state. Young people chose Alpharetta as a place to raise their family and then never wanted to leave.
As Pat says in the article, ““We bought with the intention of staying here for quite some time so we figured that we can choose to do the kitchen and the bathroom upgrades ourselves, and let’s put our money now toward more of a house.” Couples like the Tramontes move to Alpharetta and become invested in the community. They raise their children here, volunteer for the PTA and
coach little league baseball or softball. That is what made Alpharetta great and that is what will determine its future.
This week the Alpharetta City Council began looking at ways to accommodate couples like Pat and Sarah much later in their lives. The city plans to review the various options for providing more housing for the elderly. That is a good thing. It is important that the people who moved here to raise families are able to stay as long as they want.
It is also important that the city makes sure it doesn’t do any more harm to the delicate balance of housing that made Alpharetta a special place to live in the first place. There is no doubt that the next couple of decades will be a demographic challenge for our city and our nation. There will be dramatic changes as the baby boom generation reaches retirement and our communities will have to accommodate that shift. But as a member of the baby boom generation I am keenly aware that (much to our chagrin) we will not live forever.
It is important for Alpharetta to accomodate our aging population and I hope that we do everything we can as long as it doesn’t jeopardize the future. But let’s not lose sight of the future. Within the next ten years or so my generation will begin a steady decline in numbers and our children will be left to face the consequences of what we leave behind. I hope that legacy won’t include thousands of dense housing units that will decimate the city’s quality of life and drive away the young families that have served to make Alpharetta great.
People often call the baby boom generation the “me” generation because we tend to make everything about us. But make no mistake. The future of Alpharetta isn’t about me or my generation. The future is about our children and the young families like the Tramontes. They will determine whether Alpharetta remains a special place to live and we better make sure that whatever we do now doesn’t make the city less attractive to them in the future.
I know that the Atlanta Regional Commission is spending millions of dollars to promote affordable senior housing in cities like Alpharetta but I also realize that tailoring a city’s future to the needs of a generation that won’t be here in 30 years isn’t really a good long term strategy. I hope my fellow baby boomers will keep that in mind as we lay the groundwork for the next few decades.
And by the way… if you happen to run into Pat and Sarah Tramonte please tell them I said, “Welcome to Alpharetta!”