River City? Group exploring the possibility

The sign says it all as a group of Douglas County residents are exploring the possibility of a new city – River City – that could be up and running by 2016. Signs like this have been posed all across the west end of the county getting the word out about the idea. (Mitch Sneed / Douglas County Sentinel)

Shane Davis grew up in Winston and lives in the Fairplay community about as far south as you can go in Douglas County without crossing into Carroll County.

Davis said those areas have a “homey” feel to them that he wants to preserve. And he believes the best way to do that is to create a new city called River City that would encompass a large swath of southern and western Douglas County.

River City would be about 62 square miles — roughly a third of the county — and have a population of about 17,000 people, Davis said.

The boundaries for the proposed city take in everything south of I-20 that’s west of a line from Mason Creek Road to Highway 5, then west of Big A Road to Highway 166 and over to the Chattahoochee River. 

Davis said the idea to create a new city is one he and some others have been kicking around for a few years. They recently decided to move ahead with forming a city, which he said is a two-year process. If everything goes as planned, he said a new River City government could be in place by 2017.

Getting to that point four years down the road starts with public meetings. The first public meeting has been set for Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at New Covenant United Methodist Church at 5960 Highway 5 in Douglasville. There will be more hearings next year.

From there, Davis said the Georgia Legislature would have to pass a bill allowing the citizens who live in the area to vote on whether or not they want the new city. That process would presumably happen in 2015 and 2016.

“I’ve heard people say, awe, it’s another level of government,” Davis said. “Well, when you shrink a government, you make it more accessible to the people inside that government. Everything that goes on is going to be about that area — all the resources, everything. So I think it would be a good thing.”

Davis, whose day job is a bail bondsman, said he’s seen the crime that’s slowly made its way into his home county and as a family man he worries that it will keep creeping toward the rural southern and western edges.

State law requires a city to offer three services, and Davis said one he’d like to see River City offer is land use and zoning.

He said a city-controlled land use and zoning process would allow the area to control how growth happens so the area doesn’t get overbuilt.

Still, that doesn’t mean Davis wouldn’t like to see some amenities down his way. He said it’s a 25 minute drive for him into Carroll County to buy groceries or eat out. He said he’d love to see a small Publix grocery store and maybe a Mexican restaurant in Fairplay. And he said that’s part of his motivation for trying to get River City started.

“I want some development but you want it controlled and you want to actually have a hand in picking the right things,” said Davis.

A second service Davis said he foresees for a new River City is a police force.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office covers that territory now, but Davis said he’d like to see more of a presence.

“If you look, they don’t hardly patrol that area,” Davis said.

And, he said he believes a police force “creates a community cohesiveness.”

Davis said he’s not sure what about the third service at this point.

But the police force, cost for constructing government buildings and paying city employees wouldn’t come without an extra cost to the people in River City.

Currently, residents in the area that would become part of River City live in unincorporated Douglas County. Most residents pay school taxes and county taxes. If the new city comes to fruition, they’d have to pay city taxes as well.

Davis said it’s way too soon to know what the additional taxes for River City might be. However, a person who lives in a $150,000 home in the city of Douglasville is paying $346.77 in city property taxes this year, said Karin Callan, finance director for Douglasville. Douglasville residents also pay a bond millage tax for the new public safety building. That’s all on top of the school and county taxes.

Of course, Douglasville has almost twice the population of the proposed River City. But rather than shy away from the issue of residents paying additional taxes, Davis said the extra services would be worth it.

“Here’s my deal: If I’m getting represented fairly in government and my city’s going in the right way and I’m safe, I don’t mind paying,” said Davis. “It’s a no brainer.”

As to where the city government might be located, Davis said he’s thought about Post Road at I-20 on the north end or the area around the Foxhall Resort and Sporting Club on the south side.

Douglas County Board of Commissioners Chairman Tom Worthan would live in River City if the boundaries stay as they’re currently drawn.

Worthan said he’s heard the “rumors kicked around” but doesn’t know much about it.

“Is Foxhall within that area?,” Worthan asked. When told that it is, his response was: “Interesting.”

Worthan then expressed a concern that Davis also had about the city of Chattahoochee Hills, which is just across the river in Fulton County, trying to annex the area around Foxhall in south Douglas. Foxhall is looking to add a Westin Resort that is projected to generate sizable tax revenue if the project gets off the ground.

Worthan and Douglasville Mayor Harvey Persons both said they’d be in favor of putting the referendum to create River City on the ballot and letting the people decide.

That referendum would likely be in 2016, Davis said. But whether the people who live in the communities of Fairplay and Bill Arp and Winston are even interested in voting is something that remains to be seen. Davis figures he’ll have a better idea once the public has had a chance to give input on Dec. 5.

“Once we start these meetings, we’ll know,” he said.

For more information, email Davis at rivercityalliance@gmail.com or look up River City Alliance on Facebook.

(6) comments

James Bell

Douglas County does not need another city or government. DC needs to consolidate with Douglasville and become a unified government and stop the duplication of services. In south west Douglas you will never have the tax base needed for services and once Inc. you will loose county services. You will end up with a road department consisting of and old pickup truck from the land fill and a shovel.


More government, more taxes and controls, we don't need more of this.


I'm very interested in finding out more about this and how it will affect school districting, etc. My husband grew up in DC and one of the reasons we moved back here after getting married (we lived in north Cobb) was it's small town appeal. We specifically chose the southern part of the county for it's rural charm and atmosphere and want it to stay that way. Frankly, I don't want a Publix or yet another Mexican restaurant in Fairplay, nor am I thrilled that Foxhall Farms plans to built a hotel but if all that does come to fruition, they do, it would be nice for our new city to benefit from the tax revenue, not Chattahoochee Hills (who have lost revenue now that their cops were called out for giving tickets to anyone going at least 1 mph over the speed limit). Before writing it off, people should at least attend the meeting to find out more information. As a tax paying citizen, I should have a right to make the decisions that affect my neighborhood.


There is no reason that River City couldn't turn into another Peachtree City. The access to the airport via South Fulton PKWY could lure many in the airline and auto industries that can afford to live nice, with good schools, etc. Creating a city would establish a real zoning board that might do things right. I travel all over the US and I see some of the nicest developments and wonder why the same buildings in DC don't look that nice. I've concluded that it's all zoning, or lack of.


I commend the effort, but not a fan of the name since it's a bit generic and the proposed area extends far beyond the river. Go for something completely original that incorporates "west" into the name:


I just Google it and there is no other place in the America (or the world) with the name Westina. Good luck.

fed up now

To many renecks out here to create a Peachtree City and I am glad. I don't believe you have looked in to all the rules that are in place in Peachtree City. You have so many more don'ts and so many more can'ts than you have do'es and cans. I lived close to there for a lot of years, also there are not that many arrount airline pilots to spread around. We are doing just fine like we are. This is a rural area and lets keep it that way. If you want rules like Peachtree City or a gated subdivison then move. I vote no!!!!!

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