The authority approved 7-0 Monday a 50 percent match toward the city of Marietta’s $20,000 portion of a $150,000 study of the corridor under the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Livable Centers Initiative program.
The ARC will pay $120,000 for the study; the $30,000 from the two Marietta entities represents a 20 percent match.
Economic Development Manager Beth Sessoms told the authority it is the first step toward revitalizing the area.
“The study is first. Typically, then implementation money is awarded,” she said. “It’s a checklist you have to go through to get funding.”
Sessoms said with managed lanes on I-75 planned for 2018 with on- and off-ramps on Roswell Road, commercial property owners will benefit from the traffic if amenities like sidewalks and lighting are upgraded.
“Some of our older industrial areas need some improvement,” she said. “We hope it will help keep the companies (in business) back there.”
The city will find out in February if the study has been approved, Sessoms said, after ARC confers with federal and state granting agencies.
Kyethea Clark, the city’s senior urban planner, said Marietta has a strong case because the study may include how to help trucks navigate the area better.
“The ARC supports industrial areas,” she said. “Freight is something the state is behind because it generates income.”
Sessoms said potential grants, like the $3 million secured for Franklin Road improvements, can be matched by SPLOST funds.
“It has to be transportation-related like sidewalks, truck turn radiuses and lighting,” she said. “Anything that allows movement, whether pedestrian or vehicular, can be considered.”
Sessoms also asked for guidance on incentives for companies to move to Marietta.
“I don’t have any kind of financial incentive that I can offer them to relocate,” she said.
Authority member Judy Renfroe said guidelines can be useful during negotiations.
“It would give you a checklist,” she said.
Authority chair Ed Hammock appointed authority members Steve McNeel, James Southerland and Mike Henderson to work on guidelines, but with an open-ended schedule.
“Whenever they’re ready, we’ll have another meeting,” Hammock said.
The authority also unanimously approved a housekeeping amendment to the Life University 2008 bond agreement, which had no financial impact, and accepted a disclosure from Southern Polytechnic State University regarding an upcoming refinancing of its student housing loan.
“This is Step 1 of 2,” city attorney Doug Haynie said. “You’re not agreeing to do anything at this point.”
In other business, the authority heard a report from Sessoms on pockets of annexations that will probably take place in February.
Hammock asked if the commercial-property owners, on Canton Road and near Dobbins Air Reserve Base, had expressed opinions on leaving unincorporated Cobb County.
“Most of them don’t care one way or the other,” Sessoms said.