Bunnie Jackson-Ransom

FirstClass President and CEO and South Fulton resident Bunnie Jackson-Ransom explains the new name voting procedure to the audience at a South Fulton City Council special called meeting at the South Fulton Service Center auditorium on Stonewall Tell Road on Nov. 13.

Soon, the newest Fulton County city’s new legal name will be Renaissance.

City of South Fulton officials had considered its operating moniker a temporary situation and called in two marketing firms, FirstClass Inc. and Vivo360, to guide them to a final title.

The South Fulton City Council selected the new title out of nearly 250 submissions received from citizens and an ad hoc naming committee, then narrowed down to a field of 20.

“This is a historic moment,” Mayor William “Bill” Edwards said to about 40 attendees at a Nov. 13 special called meeting at the South Fulton Service Center auditorium on Stonewall Tell Road. “Tonight, you will have a name.”

The short list was Atlanta Heights, Camp Creek, Campbellton, Cliftondale, Herndon Woods, King City, Langston, Legacy, New Haven, New Hope, Phoenix City, Pinewood City, Premier, Prosperity, Renaissance, South Fulton, South Haven, Unity, Welcome All and Wolf Creek.

FirstClass President and CEO Bunnie Jackson-Ransom said she and Vivo360 founder and President Sophie Gibson were happy to participate.

“We are so excited,” Jackson-Ransom said as she prepared to announce the voting procedure. “Aren’t you excited? You’re going to have a name when you leave here. This is really an extraordinary situation.”

The city council’s first round of balloted voting, tabulated by the city clerk, attorney and accountant, narrowed the 20 choices to three – Atlanta Heights, Renaissance and Wolf Creek.

The last name dropped off in the second round, but votes were deadlocked, Gibson announced, and Edwards declined to break the tie.

Another round of voting produced the decision within a half hour of the meeting start.

Jackson-Ransom and Gibson announced the new name to cheers and applause.

“Now the city has a name,” Gibson said.

Edwards thanked Jackson-Ransom and Gibson for their work and saluted residents for contributing ideas.

After the meeting, Edwards said the city name is important but secondary to fulfilling its mission and vision.

“What’s more important is what we do with it. How do we make Renaissance positive? How do we make Renaissance the city that we all dreamed it could be when we went to the polls and voted for it?” he said. “At the end of the day, the question will be asked of this city, ‘What is Renaissance and what did you do with it?’”

City Councilman khalid kamau posted an informal poll on his website before the meeting in which 40 percent of responders favored retaining the South Fulton name, followed by the city council’s first three choices, then Legacy.

Some attendees at the previous weekend’s Old National Electoral College, a day of citizen education co-sponsored by kamau, liked “aspirational names like Renaissance.”

One was Old National Highway area resident Clyde King Sr.

“Spiritually, the name Renaissance really resonates with me,” King said in a statement. “As a majority African-American area that has been ignored by the county and faces some economic challenges, I think this new city is an opportunity for a rebirth.”

The next step, according to Kimberly Anderson of the interim city attorney’s office, is an ordinance to amend the city charter.

“We’re past the one-year deadline of the referendum so we are authorized to pass an ordinance,” she said.

The ordinance has to be advertised for three weeks first and then considered at two regular city council meetings.

Dec. 14 may be the date of the ordinance’s adoption, Anderson said.

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