Two years ago, as Chattahoochee Hills prepared to host the inaugural edition of Tomorrowworld, electronic dance music (EDM) fans started asking where they could purchase much needed items to supply their five-day home away from home at Bouckaert's Farm.
Websites like Facebook and Reddit served as a key organizing tool for this purpose, and it was decided last minute provisions should be bought locally instead of carried cross state lines on the way to Tomorrowworld.
The Union City Wal-Mart made money from Tomorrowworld. The Old National Highway Wal-Mart did not.
The answer to that quite literal million dollar question can be summed up in two words: crime and safety.
Millenials, those individuals between ages 18 and 35, are the ones most likely to purchase Tomorrowworld tickets. They are the young professionals laying down $400 or more for music festival in the middle-of-nowhere. And those young people are tech-savvy. They know how to use crime reporting sites like CrimeReports.com and SpotCrime.com to see which areas are and are not safe.
A check of Old National Highway area on CrimeReports.com simply says the area is not safe; and it hasn't been safe for quite some time.
Data submitted to CrimeReports from the Fulton County Police Department shows a main street plagued with shoplifting, assault, breaking and entering, armed robbery, and car theft just to name a few. All these incidents of crime occurred near the Old National Highway Wal-Mart within the past thirty days.
Given the amount of crime on Old National Highway, it is little surprise why the people of Tomorrowworld bypassed the Wal-Mart there in favor of the Union City Wal-Mart. Union City's Wal-Mart is safe. Old National's Wal-Mart is not.
Unincorporated south Fulton County residents are being asked to create a new city. They are being told Old National Highway will be a major commercial corridor that helps sustain the new municipality's finances. But how true can that be when the young professionals with disposable income are avoiding Old National due to crime running rampant?
Even if the proposed city of South Fulton is not formed, crime will still be an issue.
Businesses that could help revitalize Old National Highway will be reluctant to open a shop there. Concerns of shoplifting, assault, armed robbery, and other incidents will cause merchants pause as they look at maximizing their profits. Instead of relocating to Old National Highway, businesses will go where the young professionals and their pocketbooks are going.
Plain and simple, the high crime on Old National Highway is a detriment to the long-term economic viability of unincorporated south Fulton County. Cityhood or not, south Fulton needs to address its crime problem. The alternative is seeing the next big thing, like Tomorrowworld, bypass the community entirely.