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Part of the Atlanta metro area, Riverdale is a "small-town" city located in Clayton County, Georgia. The suburban community, which boasts a diverse and dynamic community, lies just about 12 miles south of downtown Atlanta in what is called the "Southern Crescent." Clayton County seat, Jonesboro, is located about 6 miles to the city's southeast. Riverdale is overseen by a mayor and four-member council which select a city manager to supervise its departments.
Settlers arrived at the present location of Riverdale in the 1860s, before Georgia became involved in the Civil War. A railroad linking Atlanta to Fort Valley passed through the area in 1887. The railroad later on ran into difficulties in securing land for its operations, including construction of a depot and side tracks. A local couple, Mr. and Mrs. W.S. Rivers, were said to have made a generous land donation to the railroad, which led to the creation of an important stop in the community. Riverdale was named after the Rivers for their generosity and was incorporated in 1908.
The growth of the new city was slow in its early years. It had just 263 residents as of 1950 census. The population surged rapidly in the following years to stand at 1,045 in 1960. It is estimated at about 16,000 today, making it one of the biggest cities in Clayton County. The city has a very high number of young residents. The median age here was just 30 years as of 2000 census.
Riverdale boasts access to an impressive road network, including state highways as well as major and minor roads. These include Georgia State Route 85, Georgia State Route 138 (Martin Luther King Jr. Hwy) and Georgia State Route 314, which runs west of its borders. Interstate 75 passes northeast of Riverdale with access provided at exits 237 and 237A. City residents are served by MARTA and Xpress GA buses. The community is located just 5 miles south of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, one of the busiest airports in the United States.
The City of Riverdale is home to numerous elementary, middle and high schools – the number is higher than what is typical for a city of this size. Public schools are administered by the Clayton County School System. Higher education is accessible at Clayton College and State University, Georgia State University, and Atlanta Technical College.
Residents and visitors can enjoy a generous range of shopping and entertainment options. The main shopping district in Riverdale is located between State Route 138 and Gardenwalk Boulevard along State Route 85. There are parks where family can enjoy time together away from home. More than 670 acres of park area are managed by the Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department.
The city also provides numerous other recreational facilities to its residents, including playgrounds, community centers, picnic areas, tennis courts, fishing ponds and nature preserves. Attractions in nearby locations include Atlanta Farmers Market, Fort Gillem and Southlake Golf Course.
Riverdale is a family and business-friendly community. It offers a small-town feeling, good transportation infrastructure and access to numerous recreational facilities.