Revitalize Marietta fights for redevelopment
by Rachel Miller
April 24, 2013 12:09 AM | 3649 views | 3 3 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The private sector, grassroots organization Revitalize Marietta made its first public presentation at Tuesday’s meeting of the Marietta Redevelopment Corp.

As a nonprofit, Revitalize Marietta will inform and advocate for funding redevelopment projects.

A key component of the group’s campaign is voter approval of the proposed $35 million bond that would pay to revitalize depressed areas of the city.

Heath Garrett, co-founder of Revitalize Marietta, said the citizens group will engage conversations between business leaders and multiple government agencies about aging neighborhoods and vacant commercial areas.

“Cities are either growing or dying,” Garrett said. “We have all the assets in the world to be the pre-eminent suburb.”

The presentation’s main focus was on Franklin Road, which was labeled as a drug corridor and an area of violent crime.

Garrett said Revitalize Marietta will campaign for balanced solutions that are fiscally and humanly responsible, instead of concentrated areas of low-income housing.

“We need to own it, and do something about it as a community,” Garrett said about the Franklin Road corridor’s reputation.

The Marietta Redevelopment Corp.’s 10-acre project on Hedges Street has successfully razed blighted properties, but development stalled during the economic recession.

Revitalize Marietta suggests tearing down blighted properties and then using tax credits, grants, and private sector investments to attract Class A multi-family and commercial properties.

These facilities attract property managers who will reinvest in the area, Garrett said, instead of a cycle of foreclosures due to absentee landlords.

“Anyone who gets a voucher or is dislocated will end up in a much better situation,” Garrett said. He said he supports using condemnation of properties for public use.

Beth Sessoms, acting executive director of the Marietta Redevelopment Corp., said she wants to share financial data and connections the MRC has made in the community.

She said the board knows there is competition from growing cities outside Cobb County, and feels the bond is a large amount of money that will make an impact.

“We are interconnected for an end goal we are all striving for,” said Sessoms, who said she supports Revitalize Marietta’s advocacy but added her job is to act once the bond is approved.

Garrett said he admits numerous committees have the same goal, but they have specific and limited authority. He criticized the “shotgun approach,” creating many distinct projects because of the city’s political structure and officials’ personalities.

Garrett has invested staff and cash into Revitalize Marietta, which he said he sees as campaign to market the entire city. The group hopes to organize a full conference in the fall to recruit chain businesses, office space employers and senior living communities.

“Anything we can do to present Marietta in a good light is a good thing. We will welcome anybody’s help,” Sessoms said about Revitalize Marietta’s mission.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
April 24, 2013
Shouldn’t Marietta finish all those unfinished projects that are lying around Marietta as pipe farms? You knocked down houses and downsized your tax base you’d think leeches would have enough insite not to get rid of the host parasites always need host to feed on. That’s why they’re going to raise your electricity bills too few host to feed Power Company!!
Oh Geez
April 24, 2013
"Anything we can do to present Marietta in a good light is a good thing."

Right, because a good light on Marietta is definitely a presentation, not a REPRESENTATION.

How about instead of worrying about adding more parcels to our slumlord collection, we make it so those of us who DO live here CAN live here?

Right now we allow West Cobb and Pauldung people to beat us into submission to their self selected "drive everywhere" mentality that we thought we were opting out of by purchasing our "city" houses.

However, we have these 5 lane highways to McMansion country dissecting our neighborhoods, effectively causing us to drive everywhere to avoid being run over by the drive everywhere people.

FIX IT and then we can REPRESENT Marietta rather than come up with ridiculous schemes to PRESENT Marietta.
Steven Mittleman
May 26, 2013
The cities that have made an inviting climate for business have a healthy residential revitalization situation without the public intrusion and expense. This has been proven to be a better solution all over the country.

Starting with a business friendly solution provides the temporary home building job base and a permanent industry base. Everybody wins not the chosen few who are well connected.
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