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About The SCA


The Shenandoah Community Association, located in Newnan Georgia, was established in 1974. The association is located on Highway 34 just one mile east of Interstate 85. The community is bounded by Highway 34 (Bullsboro Dr.) to the north, Lower Fayetteville Road to the south, White Oak Creek to the east and Lakeside Way to the west.

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Shenandoah New Town Flynn Tracy - Newnan Times-Herald 4.24.05

With the massive Wolf Creek project planned for Carroll and Douglas counties, some Coweta residents might wonder if such a development could ever be proposed locally. But that has already happened.

Shenandoah, an area on Newnan's east side that can be defined by 7,400 acres extending from Madras to Raymond along Interstate 85 – better recognized now as the Shenandoah Industrial Park/White-Oak area – was expected to be a similar development in the 1970, but the plans never came to fruition. In 1971, developer Scott Hudgens proposed the creation of the community – a working cluster of industry, business, residences, and recreation. Atlanta developer Herman J. Russell collaborated on the project.

Llewelyn Davies Associates of London was hired to design the development, with residential areas to the east of I-85 and industrial zones to the west. Shenandoah was privately financed, but loans were guaranteed by the federal government under the direction of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"It was part of Lyndon Johnson's New Community federal spending, and Shenandoah was one of two or three others in the United States," remembers current County Attorney Mitch Powell. As a young attorney he worked with the Newnan law firm of Sanders, Mottola, Haugen and Goodson, whose lead partner, Walt Sanders, put together the Shenanandoah land deal.

"I think it was viewed as a good thing, in general, by the community. The sociology of the day was that you could recreate the world and get away from the traditional tract subdivisions. Peachtree City had the same idea and kind of development around that time," he noted.

Newnan's City Attorney Brad Sears, today a partner in the firm and who also was a young attorney during Shenandoah's early development, explained that among the other communities were Columbia, Maryland, and The Woodlands, Texas.

"I didn't get involved until 1977, but at that particular point in time, the county and then-County Attorney Charlie Mottola had put together the zoning," said Sears. "At that point in time, there was no water in the county at all. We had to work out agreements. The extent we're still negotiating water contracts with the county is all a part of that initial negotiation that went on for Shenandoah. It was developing in pieces, with Highway 34 developing the industrial park, and the south side developing the residential portion."

One unique feature of Shenandoah, said Sears, was a solar-powered ice skating rink, which was located in the building that now houses Sonrise Baptist Church. The building off Shenandoah Boulevard is near apartments and the "Phase I" residential developments that were part of the original Shenandoah development. Eventually, like many aspects of Shenandoah, the experimental Solar Recreation Center became unprofitable.

"There were a lot of things happening," said Sears. "You had some of those initial industries that were moving in out there, and the residential component was developing more slowly and there was never any real commercial development. Hot Spot was the first commercial development that came in and that was probably after the foreclosure. Subdivisions along the main corridor were the ones being developed."

The community did not develop as expected for several reasons, both local and national. In The History of Coweta County, Georgia, written by members of the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society, it reads "the projections for the project were overly optimistic, there was a depression in the metro-Atlanta area real estate market in the mid-1970s, and the lot sizes were thought too small by some prospective buyers. Some of the smaller lots were subsidized, and other were sold for prices where the company could not recover costs. Governmental grants were held up, Shenandoah had to assume responsibility for furnishing utilities, the water system did not develop,..."

As a result of the unfulfilled endeavor, the HUD New Community Development Corporation took over the administration of the project in 1980; and in 1981, First National Bank of Atlanta foreclosed on the property in a sale. In July 1981, there were 170 families, 108 residential lots, and fewer than 1,000 people in Shenandoah – meaning that of the original 7,400 acres, 1,400 of them were turned back to the original owners.

The remaining 6,000 acre development was divided into about 3,00 acres of residential land, 900 for the industrial park and the remaining 2,100 acres for commercial development, roads, recreation, public sites, and greenspace.

"HUD was trying to market it, and I know a group of folks got together and said, "Jefferson Ventures, a corporation formed by Newnan Federal Savings and Loan as a development entity, bought the residential component and everything south of the highway. The Coweta County Development Authority bought the industrial piece."

Around that time, high interest rates slowed production. But in the late 1980s, I-85 was expanded. The area that developed in the residential section of the former Shenandoah is now a large part of the Newnan Crossing area along Lower Fayetteville Road.

"We get into the 90's then, and all heck breaks loose in Coweta County with development going on in the last 10 years in the city, county, and out there in that particular tract," he continued. "For having started slowly in the early 70s, [Shenandoah is] just about developed out. The original Shenandoah project is pretty quickly developing, if not already developed out. But it just didn't develop with Russell and Hudgens."

Russell has continued as a successful business man in Atlanta, and the late Scott Hudgens was involved with successful shopping mall development. Though Shenandoah's community did not evolve as expected, the project served as a "springboard" for other developments in the county. Joining the giant Kmart distribution center in the 1980s were businesses like Yamaha, Eckerd Corporation, and Yokogawa, which were located on the industrial park property and helped diversify the county's economy from its past base of textile and cotton mills. With its purchase of the industrial property that is now Shenandoah, and the later-developed Creekside Parks, the county garnered control of the area's water and sewer system.

"It was kind of a real interesting time, particularly with international companies that were moving in out there," said Sears. "We, the south side of Atlanta, were beginning to get some of the development from the north side – it just took longer."
"One of the reasons Shenandoah didn't quite get kicked off was because it was under government guarantees; so when it foreclosed, it was actually owned by the government," he continued. The government at that point in time, as I understand, was not as interested in continuing support of these new communities. If Shenandoah would have been started a little earlier, it may have worked. Columbia, Maryland, and The Woodlands, Texas developed out and are thriving communities. Shenandoah, on the other hand, kind of languished."

Added Powell, "I don't know that Shenandoah actually failed, because there are still a lot of homes in there. It's hard to say it wasn't successful, because it has the biggest and probably most attractive industrial park in the County. For many, many years that was the only area in town where industry was concerned – and it's good industry. And the residential part has worked. The area over there has a wide range of housing options, which I think was part of the original idea." Powell said that Coweta "was desirable for the project because of I-85 and the good distance from Atlanta."

And ever since that day the river and its valley have been called "Shenandoah," a name proclaimed with awe and inspiration to let all feel the wonder of the "Daughter of the Stars."

Flynn Tracy - Newnan Times-Herald 4.24.05