Cumberland CID to consider expansion
by Jon Gillooly
August 31, 2012 01:21 AM | 5218 views | 16 16 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CUMBERLAND — The Cumberland Community Improvement District, which encompasses 5.5 square miles, is looking to expand.

During its Thursday board meeting, the CID also agreed to hire controversial consultant Chris Leinberger of the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution.

County Commissioner Bob Ott, who represents southeast Cobb, raised the subject of expanding when he suggested the CID look at the section north of Windy Hill Road, east of I-75 and south of Delk and Powers Ferry roads.

“If you look at the streetscapes and just the overall appeal from (the CID boundary line at) Wildwood South, which are some of the main things that the CID works on, it looks tremendous,” Ott said. “They’ve done an outstanding job of really creating a community, and by expanding up to Delk Road, those property owners may voluntarily decide to become part of the CID that will allow the CID to continue that whole streetscape and sense of community all the way up to Delk Road.”

CID Chairman Tad Leithead, who favors the idea, estimated the expansion would increase the district’s size by 5 percent. Leithead also pointed out that if the CID’s boundaries extended into the city of Marietta, it would change the board’s makeup.

“Right now we operate entirely in unincorporated Cobb County,” Leithead said. “If we go into the city to work with that city, then we would have to have a relationship there. I’m not saying it’s bad, it’s just a consideration.”

Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin, who was not at the meeting, said he is open to the idea of allowing the CID to expand into Marietta.

“The potential there in the Powers Ferry area, right there in Delk Road and Highway 41 could just be so enhanced with some self-governing improvement funds,” Tumlin said.

The two CIDs in Cobb tax themselves five mills above the regular tax rate on commercial properties in their districts and use those funds for such things as streetscape improvements or paying for television advertisements about the TSPLOST referendum.

Expanding north, Leithead said, “gives us more revenue that we then have the opportunity to invest in continuing improvements on Powers Ferry to enhance the affected properties. … If we expand the boundary of the district, and they come into the district, then we can take their funds and use those funds to pay for extending those improvements all the way up to Delk Road, which is good for the community, good for those projects. We’ll have to explain to them that if they voluntarily raise their taxes, this is what they’re likely to get in return. Nobody just raises their taxes for fun.”

Ott said he preferred that the CID stop at the Delk Road boundary rather than the city.

In response, Leithead directed the CID staff to begin the process of researching who owns properties in the area so that they may be contacted about their interest in joining the CID.

In other business, the CID board unanimously voted to hire Chris Leinberger of the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution to conduct a study about communities that emphasize walking over driving. Leinberger recently angered some when, in a recent speech to the CID, he chided suburban residents for “racializing” MARTA.

“It’s not the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit,” Leinberger said at the time. “It is ‘Moving African Americans Rapidly Through Atlanta.’ You’ve racialized it. The white suburban neighborhoods and places have completely ignored the economic development potential that MARTA could have been and will be in the future.”

CID executive director Malaika Rivers did not mention Leinberger’s name when asking for the board to approve a $25,000 expense related to a $190,000 study Leinberger is going to do for the CID.

“This is an activity to engage George Washington University, a very highly respected university in the northern Virginia area, to do a regional study to look at submarkets around Atlanta and model an effort after one that they’ve done in the Washington, D.C., area to look at these markets and rank them on their walkability, and the premise being future trends and development patterns show that places that are more walkable and therefore provide more transportation choices to the user, that being the tenants or the residents or whoever is in the market, if they have transportation choices including walkable choices and other choices, then those submarkets are heading in the right direction,” she said.

Rivers went on to claim — inaccurately — that the Perimeter and Gwinnett CIDs had already approved funding for the study.

CID attorney Lynn Rainey corrected her.

“Buckhead is the only one that’s voted so far,” Rainey said.

The CID board approved the $25,000 expense with the caveat that the rest would be paid for by other CIDs in the metro area.

Leithead admitted after the meeting that the study was being overseen by Leinberger.

“He’s coordinating the project with Georgia Washington University,” Leithead said.

Leithead was asked what he hoped the outcome of the study would be.

“If we knew what we wanted out of the study we wouldn’t have to do the study,” he said.

Leithead was also asked if he agreed with Leinberger’s racial accusations about MARTA and the suburbs.

“I don’t have any comment,” he said.

When voters resoundingly rejected the $8.5 billion TSPLOST tax on July 31, Atlanta columnist Maria Saporta quoted Leinberger as saying the region was going backwards.

“By rejecting this, the Atlanta region has shown that it is firmly committed to the 1980s economy. Atlanta has soundly voted for driving 30-40 miles a day and to living in large, single-family lots. It’s the same-old, same-old.”

In Saporta’s column, Leinberger suggested that the City of Atlanta, and Fulton and DeKalb counties come up with a plan to build their own “walkable infrastructure.”

“If the fringe is wedded to a vision of the future that is wedded in the past, they are just going to have to be cut loose,” he told her.

Also Thursday, board member Peter Kasian with Tishman Speyer announced his resignation on account of a job change.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
hot diggity dog
September 03, 2012
There is a Hot Dog Factory next door to the 24 hour laundromat on Spring Road. A few doors down is the Dairy Queen, known for it's chili dogs.

You can now walk to both along the treeless 10 foot sidewalks.
September 02, 2012
mk shows stupidity every time they write. A mayor elected 30 years ago is not still mayor because he won 30 years ago. Maybe the last time you voted was 30 years ago; but the mayor won by a huge landslide just a few years ago. Did you know that? The corners of Powers Ferry Road and Terrell Mill Road used to be prime real estate. Can you figure out why they are blights now? Delk Road and Franklin Road used to be well-springs of rental property for the up and coming young people in Cobb. They are now crime-ridden ghettos. Without Bacon in the picture at all? You constantly post about "illegal filled apartments," yet you complain when the city pays to tear them down. You are just miserable, mk, and you need to take your misery to another city. Go where you will be happy. Life is too short to be so miserable. You mention "we buy gold" stores in Smyrna, yet you put me onto something. You don't mention "we buy silver" stores and silver is much more current in fashion than gold. Hey, maybe I will open a business in Smyrna that "we buy silver." You will either hate it or trade/buy there. By the way, have you noticed the new gas station going up on Spring Road in the Cumberland area that will compete with the Quik Trip that has been there for years and is extremely successful? Naw, you have been too busy looking for hot dog stands.
September 02, 2012
Max Bacon is the best mayor that Smyrna could possibly have and I support him and his actions with every fiber of my being. Smyrna is my hometown and I love it. I could not imagine living in a more people friendly environment.
August 31, 2012
We have to get someone from the Brookings Institute and George Washington University to tell us how to make our communities more walkable?

Of course it is the CID's money, but it just seems like they could find some local consultants to do the job.
August 31, 2012
I assume the "walmart style" grocery store mk refers to is the major national U.S. chain that just built one of the largest stores in the south in the "slum" of Smyrna. I guess mk puts his/her blinders on when passing through Smyrna and does not see prolific housing being built that mk could probably never afford to buy is my guess. Me thinks mk cannot afford the $2 plus million mansion he/she envisions himself/herself in and that his/her Smyrna home would not fetch, I suspect, more than $75 or so, maybe on a good day?????? Moral: mk, if you bully, you get bullied back. Move. Or shut up. Towns do not raz homes of its long-time occupants because you, mk, has the opinion that -- come to think of it -- what do you envision, mk, for Smyrna? A large retail chain didn't suit you; mansions didn't suit you; upper-class townhomes and stores didn't suit you. Tell me, mk, or please shut up, what would suit you? And do let us do, please, do what mk wants us to do. Naw--the ink would not be right on the color of the newspaper, etc. or something else would pop up. It is hard to make a glass half empty thinker into a glass half full one.
August 31, 2012
mk just needs to move. I don't know if mk is a male or a female, but mk is quite clearly discontent where she/he lives. So, go, mk, whoever you are and take your constant complaints with you. There are people that look at the glass half full as your half empty outlook. Just go. Go find the place of your content. Leave us in Smyrna that love the city and love Bacon and love whatever. Just go, mk. Just go. I hope your home sells well above $100K. I would love to see the mansion you must live in. I am over mk and all of mk's negative remarks and putdowns. If someone is THAT unhappy, they just need to LEAVE.
My Name
August 31, 2012
Sean Murphy: Mary Kirkendoll will move when you shut up.
mk-I WISH!!!!!!
September 01, 2012
Sean Murphy has aligned himself w/ the Smyrna mayor in making their strategy to devalue the Smyrna Heights neighborhood.

Sean Murphy appointed himself the president of a pseudo neighborhood association and has since attempted to fool as many folks as possible. Those that are not 'fooled' must be silenced. Sean has accomplished this by stalking me on the MDJ and insisting that I be banned from the local Patch online site.

I ask too many questions. I attempt to hold city leaders accountable.

I ask why 10 million for the Concord Road Improvement , improved NOTHING.

I ask why 10 million additional funding was added in the 2011 SPLOST for the very same project.

I ask why Smyrna cuts down 80 year old oaks to plant sod.

I ask why Smyrna thinks one mega elementary school is better than small neighborhood schools.

I ask why the city spends millions & millions buying apartments w/ no plan.

I ask why the city takes peoples businesses by eminent domain, instead helpig theses businesses succeed.

I ask why my neighborhood park is run down & outdated w/ no plan to update.

I ask why no street trees are planted.

I ask the mayor and council why they don't speak to their citizens.

As a taxpaying citizen, I simply ask too many questions of a city that has no answers.

anyonymous hater
September 02, 2012
I am thinking that you also believe that illegals should invade our country than stay and try to improve their own.

We have free speech here in America, and mk is obviously not a lazy illegal but a patriot who is standing up for what is believed to be wrong with Smyrna.

Why don't you move? Mexico has plenty of room.
mk- to anonymous(sm)
September 03, 2012
What do you mean, you don't know if I'm a male or female. You are my neighbor and have been stalking & harassing me, ever since I moved to Smyrna and have been demanding accountability from the city. You are doing the mayors 'dirty work'.
mk- smyrnas slums
August 31, 2012
The CID is avoiding Smyrna at all costs.

There is no value in Smyrna.

This was created because a city that elected an uneducated person almost 30 years ago has not been involved and is not paying attention.

We in Smyrna have a mayor & council that thinks a Race Trac gas station and a Wal-Mart style grocery store are amazing new development concepts .

The CID wants to go in the direction they feel developers will lay out capital investment.

Watch some of that property around Delk be purchased and an 8 to 10 story office tower/mixed use go in.

That will RAISE home values in the Powers Ferry/ Lower Roswell area.

(that's how it works, mayor Bacon!!)

Smyrna is attracting we buy gold stores and hot dog stands. And we should accept that?? NOT ME!!
I Don't Like Peeps
August 31, 2012
MK: I advise you then to go invest in CID property. People voted and Mayor Bacon won the people's vote. Remember and remind yourself this man vas VOTED for. I beg to differ--there is value in Smyrna. y the way, what is your education, mk? I live in Smyrna and I also think the new grocery store is smazing. Hey, where is the hot dog stand in Smyrna? I missed that one. I LOVE hot dogs! Please let me know where this one is! P.S. If you look closely, the Powers Ferry/Lower Roswell area is not a place to toot home values--they are mostly the under $100K places you so distain in Smyrna. Move, mk, move! Do us all a favor and MOVE! I personally will pitch in a grand. Any more takers to make mk move so she/he can be more content?
August 31, 2012
It is clear the CID intends to separate itself as much as possible from the low class city of Smyrna.

Smyrna has lost every opportunity to grow, prosper & compete. Cross over the line from the CID into the Smyrna city limits and you are in the slums. The mayor and council seem to be encouraging the poverty and growing more blight!

(wider roads, wider, treeless sidewalks, zero streetscapes, government control, govenment buildings, no private businesses except mega gas stations, use of eminent domaim, empty lots, not allowing input from citizens, a police state-this is all Smyrna offers)

What's so sad is the mayor & council seem content their their city is failing! Smyrna neighborhoods are full of run down townhome's, illegal alien filled apartments and 50's ranch's that can't fetch more than 100k.

Nothing from mayor and coucil to move Smyrna forward. They sit before their city like deer in headlights w/ no ideas, no vision and absolutely NO CONCERN, as their city dies!

CID understands this.

Own Less than $100K
August 31, 2012
You said: "Smyrna neighborhoods are full of run down townhome's, illegal alien filled apartments and 50's ranch's that can't fetch more than 100k." You seem to be asking for government control. I happen to live in a property you are thumbing your nose at. What do you propose? When a property reaches a low cap due to the economy of say, less than $100K, the city should tear them down? A lot of those 50's ranch's house our respected senior citizens. Your proposal? Every 20 years, go in, evaluate, and tear people's houses down because they don't meet your expectations as to what city growth is?????
thomas andrews
August 31, 2012
And HERE's Mary!
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