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An interview with a neighbor: Wendy Rutherford

Originally from Los Angeles, Wendy Rutherford now wears her Smyrna pride on her sleeve

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Wendy Rutherford, 38, moved to Smyrna from Los Angeles nine years ago and views the neighborhood as an oasis from the traffic and crime that plague other areas of the city. While some may tease her for living OTP, she has nothing but Smyrna pride. She often attends Smyrna Tweet-Ups with other locals who share her love for the neighborhood.

Smyrna is great place to live — close to both I-75 and I-285. You can get to most places in 15-30 minutes. It's just outside the Perimeter, so housing prices are much more affordable and you get more space for your money. It's like living in a small town next to a huge city. You get the best of both worlds. I also love being minutes from the Silver Comet Trail — a great spot for walking, running, and even competitive biking! The downsides to living in Smyrna, in my opinion, are not having more quality local restaurants and it not being a walking neighborhood — yet. We have some gems, but like most OTP neighborhoods, the chains are more prevalent than the locals.

I really enjoy the spring and fall Jonquil festivals, they really bring home that small-town vibe and it's great to see the community come out. I just donated two boxes of books to the local library. They can sell them at the festival to raise money or stock them - makes me feel good to support local. My favorite restaurants include Atkins Park Tavern. During football season they show the Saints games on Sundays and have great food and service. Some other favorites are South City Kitchen Vinings and the speakeasy bar Eleanor's that is located inside Muss & Turner's. I also love getting sushi at Minato's, which can be tough to find off Spring [Street], but worth checking out.

Smyrna is really working hard to make it more accessible for walking, running, and biking by extending the sidewalks along South Atlanta Road all the way to the Silver Comet [Trail]. They did some great work overhauling and restoring the Taylor Brawner House and the surrounding park. They also started hosting Food Truck Tuesdays in the warmer months, and it's been a huge draw for people here and in nearby neighborhoods.

I'd love for the Publix to finally be built and opened on the corner of Spring Street and South Atlanta Road. The construction stopped around 2009 and it's been slowly picking back up over the last year or two. It would be great to be able to walk to the grocery store. I'd also love to see more quality locally owned restaurants like what they have in Inman Park, the Highlands, and Decatur. Marietta has had some lately with Chicken and the Egg and Seed. I'd love to have some local restaurateurs take a second look at Smyrna.

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