This week The Walking Dead is wrapping up production but that’s little consolation for the residents of Senoia, the small Georgia city that has become a major tourist destination for fans of the AMC series.
Senoia’s Gin Property residential development plays the Alexandria safe show on the show, causing it to be walled off and gated since late August 2014, a cause of headaches for some locals. Not only are the occasional road closures associated with filming an inconvenience for Senoia residents, but the number of TWD fans the site draws on a daily basis have also become a concern.
One resident, Jennifer Robinson talked to the city council about issues she has had with fans who travel to Senoia to see filming, or just to see the local sets, and end up blocking traffic, parking areas and and disrupting residents in the process. “People are just parking all over our street. Nothing’s been done,” Robinson said. “You’ll bring it up, but nothing happens.”
Mayor Larry Owens has assured residents that the city is addressing these problems with the show’s production company. “There will be a plan worked out where everyone is going to work by the same rules, I think you will see that in the near future,” he said.
Scott Tigchelaar, president of Raleigh Studios Atlanta and developer of the Gin Property, also addressed residents and the city council on Monday night. Tigchelaar offended some longtime Senoia residents when he declared “downtown was economically dead” before The Walking Dead moved in, explaining Senoia Enterprises/Historic Development Ventures have “built two new buildings on Main Street, restored existing buildings, built parking lots, and begun the Gin Property development,” causing property value to go up.
Many of the businesses in Senoia are directly benefiting from The Walking Dead fans streaming into town, including The Woodbury Shoppe, which sells exclusive TWD merchandise.
Residents might not be able to avoid TWD tourists anytime soon, but they will get a break from filming until May 2016, when The Walking Dead returns to begin filming season 7.