The news broke like a fifth in the Bottle Shop: Five Points leaves Athens! At least, that’s the word from a stealth committee that advertises itself online as the City of Five Points Exploratory Committee. In their opening salvo, they justify their actions with a reference to the Atlanta movement for Buckhead to break up and form a wealthy enclave.
Our committee is serious: “With unparalleled residential, commercial and retail space, the City of Five Points could thrive as an independent community committed to safe streets, high-performing schools, and economic development and prosperity.”
There’s no need to get into code words here, but, you know, the committee has a lot of work ahead of them. Who would these schools belong to? Is the committee also considering secession from the Clarke County School District?
By the way, whose fire station? Whose streets and curbs and traffic lights? The assumption, of course, is that COFP would have its own police force, even if it had no crime of its own. Some of us may still be trying to break through to buy a book from Avid or a bottle from the store, so someone should be watching our behavior.
The exploratory committee’s guiding idea seems to be that we’re rich and successful, so why pay taxes to support the rest of the city that isn’t up to our standards? That’s a fair question, and will no doubt be debated in depth by those in the Five Points area who aren’t keen on being taken to a new city.
But wait. Who says Normaltown shouldn’t shoot? We have our companies, our brewery, our medical school – who needs Athens? oh oh. Boulevard also wants to go out, and we risk having border wars again, although the economic might of Five Points may force us to work together like the town of Normlevard.
If Five Points secedes, there’s nothing stopping Newtown, East Athens, or the distant Eastside from following suit, and of course, the University System of Georgia will be forced to incorporate Uga City to keep its properties classified as Five Points. Points can be considered . Is the stadium in Five Points? Certainly the track field and Butts-Mehre are. Is the botanical garden? The science center?
Ah, there’s the pinch. Where and how do you draw the lines? Where is Five Points anyway? And as they draw their boundaries, will the committee respect the dissenters and allow them to opt out, creating crazy quilting city limits? Or, encouraged by cooperating lawmakers, will COFP just launch a preemptive strike that encompasses the new city, and anyone who doesn’t like it can just fucking leave?
There is no need to be nostalgic about sweet old Athens. Anyway, what has it done for us lately? The COFP committee is not looking back, but forward.
“Right now, local city advocates are using highly sophisticated modeling programs to determine the city’s feasibility.
“We’re also reviewing the historic boundaries of Five Points and surrounding areas, assessing demographics and mapping growth in Athens-Clarke County, Oglethorpe and Oconee counties.”
Wait a second! This thing might be bigger than we thought. We all know that our local legislators can do anything with us in Atlanta. Does this mean that COFP’s cherry-picking could reach across county boundaries and create, say, a municipality that includes, say, all those businesses along the Oconee Connector, including doctor’s offices and law firms? Can this new town reach Oglethorpe County and take on Wolfskin? Can it take the Athens Academy? Besides, they might be negotiating with the Council of Regents to include the entire college campus in the City of Five Points, a burb more prone to UGA, with no restrictions like mask mandates or drinking hours.
We will just have to wait for the answers to all these questions. Following their startling news break, the committee has left us with nothing for now but its bare-bones unsigned website that promises: “We run a volunteer-based, streamlined operation, but will increase beyond the 2022 Legislative Session. Stay tuned for updates!” However, it’s possible that this whole venture turns out to be a storm in a tallboy. The brokers™ have already extended Five Points to all of Athens.
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