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When Collegedale Mayor Katie Lamb moved to the area 46 years ago, at Four Corners there was a small convenience store. Across the street, a family's farm and barn house. Residents had just one gas station and one police officer.
The city — which is celebrating its 50th anniversary — looks worlds different today. A brand-new Circle K gas station at the city line sets the tone for all the growth that has occurred. Just down the road, Four Corners is bustling with businesses as the downtown area continues to grow.
Apison Pike, the main thoroughfare through town, was recently widened to alleviate traffic in the expanding city.
Collegedale is the fastest-growing city in Hamilton County, the Times Free Press previously reported.
"It's exciting to see change," Lamb said. "Some people don't like change, [but] I like change."
Traci Bennett-Hobek, director of parks and recreation for the city, is in charge of the events for the anniversary and said there will be at least one every month.
In April, commemorative banners went up. Community members, businesses, nonprofits and organizations were invited to sponsor a banner, and Bennett-Hobek said community support has been great. Just under 30 banners were sponsored.
Hung on light posts all over the city, they will remain up until December. Once the celebration is over, sponsors will be given their banners as a keepsake.
The 50th anniversary celebration will take place Oct. 21 at Founders Hall, which is in the beginning stages of construction at The Commons, a multi-use city center being developed in phases. The event is still being planned, but Lamb said the night will conclude with a fireworks show, and she encourages all residents to plan to attend.
"It's good to see our city grow," she said. "It's changing into more of a city center."
At the heart of the celebration is the city's initiative to keep moving forward. Bridgett Raper, communications strategist, is putting together a short video about the city's history and development. It will feature former mayors, city planners and even a member of the committee that first founded Collegedale in 1968.
She asks anyone with old photos or memorabilia to reach out via email.
City officials are planning how to accommodate the surge of growth. Lamb envisions the downtown area extending from the greenway to the Korean Church, and hopes that there will be even more businesses and restaurants coming to the area.
"We're creating an environment for people who move here to stay," Bennett-Hobek said.
To send in any photos of Collegedale, contact Bridgett Raper at email@example.com. For more information about upcoming events, visit app.collegedaletn.gov.
Email Kaitlin Colon at firstname.lastname@example.org.