City Council unanimously approved Friday purchasing properties that will be used for right of way in landscaping, lighting and median construction projects.
The city plans to spend about $7.5 million to acquire rights of way, paying about $3.5 million for property along Fairground Street and another $4 million on Franklin Road. In all, Marietta will have spent $17 million to upgrade Fairground, using 2011 special purpose local option sales tax funds, and $20 million on Franklin, using federal “Livable Centers” grants issued through the Atlanta Regional Commission.
Mayor Steve Tumlin said while the Franklin Road improvements are not related to or funded by the $68 million redevelopment bond issue targeting the corridor passed by voters in November, they will
“It was a gateway plan set way before I even got here,” Tumlin said.
Still, it will help put out a “welcome mat,” Tumlin said, bringing landscaping, black-metal lamp posts and a traffic median to the stretch of road being targeted for a sprucing up.
The city has spent $19.9 million purchasing two apartment complexes it plans to raze and then market the cleared land to developers in an attempt to revitalize the Franklin Road corridor.
“We couldn’t build a nice redevelopment area and have dirt roads and no plumbing,” Tumlin said.
Dan Conn, city public works director, said the streetscape project will also help improve safety on Franklin and Fairground.
“The medians are traditionally for efficiency safety. The left-turning movements for traffic are usually where you have most of your accidents ... that’s one of the key improvements. We’re able to improve efficiency and safety,” Conn said.
Improvements planned for Fairground Street are an extension of beautification and median work done on the north section of the street near Allgood Road. Tumlin said the improvements are being done in a piecemeal fashion to curb traffic headaches and allow for SPLOST funding to flow in to the city’s coffers.
“The patience people have to have to go from planning to implementation … it does finally happen,” Tumlin said.
The road projects are a continuation of others done throughout the city, such as a project that recently wrapped up on Roswell Street.