The Cobb Board of Commissioners will decide July 22 whether to put before voters a 1 percent special purpose local option sales tax, expected to collect $750 million over six years.
Some of the projects would be paid for solely by the county and some by the cities, but the costs of a dozen or so may be shared.
During a joint meeting between the mayors and commissioners Friday, Cobb’s mayors shared what projects they hoped the county will help them pay for.
Austell Mayor Joe Jerkins was the only mayor who said his city had no joint projects planned.
“We’re in pretty good shape, road wise,” Jerkins said.
Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon says his city wants to share the cost of an estimated $40 million rebuilding of the segment of Windy Hill Road from South Cobb Drive to Atlanta Road.
Smyrna would pay $20 million, if the new SPLOST is approved, and the county would pay $18 million. The city has $2 million to use toward the project from the 2011 SPLOST.
Smyrna’s city administrator Eric Taylor said the proposal is similar to what is found in Washington, D.C.’s Dupont Circle. Middle lanes on Windy Hill would be built for westbound drivers headed to Interstate 75 to continue unimpeded. Each side of the express lanes would be bracketed by local roads, allowing for traffic to have access to local businesses.
Commissioner Bob Ott, who represents the area, is a fan.
“It addresses both areas where you have people passing through an area, which has increased in traffic due to the Windy-Mac Extension, so you provide a quicker access for them to come through. But at the same time, you don’t destroy the character of a community by just kind of putting four lanes in each direction through a neighborhood,” Ott said. “You put the express lanes in the middle, and you keep the local character on the outside.”
Bill Bruton, Marietta’s city manager, said his city has two projects it wants to partner with the county in building. One is a new $8 million CSX bridge at Church Street Extension and Old 41.
“It’s got load issues as far as the load that it’s able to carry, so it’s a situation where you’re either going to have to reduce the load that you can carry from trucks, or it’s going to have to be replaced,” Bruton said.
The city and county would split the cost if the new SPLOST is approved.
A second joint project is $3 million in intersection improvements for Sandtown Road near Chattahoochee Technical College to help with traffic flow. The city would pay $1.2 million and the county, $1.7 million, Bruton said.
New community centers for Kennesaw, Acworth
Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews was absent from Friday’s meeting, but Jeff Drobney, assistant city manager, said Kennesaw has four projects it hopes to partner with the county in building. One is a $4.7 million recreation center possibly located at Swift-Cantrell Park.
“It would include a gymnasium. It would include potential dance rooms, potential locker rooms ... just an opportunity to come in a multi-purpose gym that could be divided for baseball, volleyball — any type of indoor recreation facility,” Drobney said.
A second project would be to split the cost of a $4.8 million road project that extends the right lane of Cherokee Street between Jiles and I-75 about three quarters of a mile.
“It alleviates traffic congestion and improves safety and overall operations for motorists passing down Cherokee Street,” Drobney said.
A third Kennesaw project is $4.6 million for curb, gutter, storm drainage and sewer upgrades on Mack Dobbs Road off Cobb Parkway.
A fourth is spending $2 million for a possible roundabout at the intersection of McCollum Parkway and Ben King Road, Drobney said.
“Ben King and McCollum are two separate roads and they come in together, and they’re actually approximately five different intersections that come in at one point,” Drobney said. “It’s very confusing, and it’s a real safety issue. It’s sitting in the county, but right on the edge of the city. So the effort is to be able to create a potential roundabout, or at least do intersection improvements to avoid accidents and just pedestrian safety improvements.”
Like Kennesaw, Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood said his city wants to partner with the county to build a $10.5 million community center in downtown Acworth at the intersection of Logan Road and Cherokee Street. Acworth is asking the county to pay $8 million of the cost. It would be open to both county and city residents, just as Kennesaw’s would.
Allegood envisions the community center having a basketball court, workout rooms for seniors and a meeting space that could seat a few hundred for town hall meetings.
A second joint project is asking the county to put in $2.2 million with Acworth’s $1 million to achieve the 10 percent needed for the state to pay for a $32 million road widening project for Highway 92 from Highway 41 to Cherokee Street.
“Everybody that comes from Paulding County ... comes from Highway 92. The congestion is just terrible,” Allegood said. “We’ll be able to alleviate traffic and reduce the drive time — really just improve everybody’s quality of life.”
The plan is to widen the road from two to four lanes and build a new bridge over Lake Allatoona.
A third Acworth project is a $3 million road-widening project for Main Street.
Powder Springs Mayor Pat Vaughn said her city has one project it hopes to partner with the county on: about $1 million for an intersection improvement at Powder Springs Road and Flint Hill Drive.
“Right there is a very dangerous intersection,” Vaughn said.
County Chairman Tim Lee said he supports all the joint city and county projects listed.