There’s a renewal happening in South Fulton.
Seeking a rebirth, residents in its newest city decided Monday to make their planned revival part of their nomenclature. The city will henceforth be known as Renaissance — and not after the nearby festival.
“It’s a name we can make something of,” said Sam Bowen, a Renaissance resident who said he was one of two people to submit the name for consideration. “It’s a clean rebirth, it’s a fresh restart for the whole area.”
The city, formed in May, has about 100,000 residents and is located south of Atlanta. It’s the home of Wolf Creek Amphitheater, and both Wolf Creek and Atlanta Heights were in the running for the new name. The city of South Fulton won’t officially cease to be for at least another month, while the city revises its charter.
Bowen said he’s gotten some hate mail from people who think the name is too long, too hard to spell or doesn’t represent the area and its ideals. But he said he liked the idea of a name that wasn’t tied to one part of the sprawling city, and could show how far the area had come.
“We could emerge as a powerhouse on the south side,” he said. “Our location is one of the best locations in the state.”
As far as the spelling?
“We have a middle school named Renaissance, and those kids seem to do quite fine spelling it,” he said.
Lolita Browning-Jackson, who lives in the city, said she hopes Renaissance comes to reflect its name in terms of the music, arts and culture that it evokes. But she said she doesn’t think the city is there yet, and she worries the name doesn’t reflect the community.
Deyanna Jones-Respress, who lives there as well, said she would have preferred if the name had been chosen in a citywide vote. As it is, members of city council chose the name.
“It’s like we’re trying to create an identity that doesn’t really exist,” she said. “If we don’t become that, it’s not like we can go back and change the name down the road.”
Atlanta, of course, was once Terminus, then Marthasville. Chattahoochee Hills began its life as Chattahoochee Hill Country. But it’s unlikely that after changing its name to Renaissance, South Fulton would reconsider.
In announcing the name change, city councilman Khalid Kamau said it was “a nod to a prolific, artistic period in African-American history” and indicative of the city’s aspirations for renewed economic development. In a statement, he said the community was “filled with artists and entrepreneurs, visionaries and dreamers, who are excited about this new start.”
Rafer Johnson, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor, said he thinks the name can set the community up for success.
“Now that we have a new name, I hope that this will be a beginning of a new, positive and progressive phase in our new city,” he said.
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