Mableton, GA

From Sandy Springs to Mableton: New majority-Black cities are changing the Atlanta cityhood story

Four new city proposals have cropped up, all in Cobb County.. (Photo by Mick Haupt, Unsplash)

Buckhead’s tumultuous bid to break away from Atlanta has been scuppered for now, but its demise in the Georgia legislature made way for four new proposed cities, all in Cobb County.

Three of those proposed cities continue the established Atlanta story about who tries to incorporate and why. East Cobb, Vinings, and Lost Mountain are majority-white communities, wealthier than the surrounding area, where some residents have expressed frustration at being yoked to the wider county. 

But the proposed city of Mableton would be majority-Black, and, like a few other new Black cities in metro-Atlanta, it’s telling a different story about why municipalities incorporate. 

All of these cityhood projects share some common ground. Organizers of the four potential new cities in Cobb County cite a desire for more direct representation, greater local control over zoning and taxation, and an existing sense of community identity. 

Mableton is distinct, in part because it already had been a city.  Mableton incorporated well before it was in vogue, way back in 1912, but catastrophic flooding five years later sent its residents back to Cobb County for help with recovery costs.       

Many of Mableton’s residents still think of it as a distinct city, which is part of what’s driving the cityhood push, according to Leroy “Tre” Hutchins, an organizer with the South Cobb Alliance, the group behind Mableton’s incorporation bid. “Mableton, as a community, is often thought to already be a city,” Hutchins said in an email.

The driving reasons for cityhood go beyond a sense of community. Mableton’s supporters say incorporation would give residents better representation through a city council, and provide the community with more influence over land use and local tax revenue, especially from lucrative commercial sites like Six Flags Over Georgia.

But Mableton’s previous existence as a city has drawn support for the new incorporation movement, said Hutchins: “We take pride in being ‘Mableton,’ and desire an opportunity to further enhance and redevelop our community.”

Atlanta Civic Circle.

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