Marietta to detail $35M plan tonight
by Jon Gillooly
May 01, 2013 01:01 AM | 2871 views | 10 10 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Tonight the City Council will hear recommendations from its staff on how to spend a proposed $35 million bond that voters may take up Nov. 5.

Mayor Steve Tumlin has spoken in general terms about how he would like to see the bond spent, directing staff to attach dollar signs to his vision.

Beth Sessoms, the city’s economic development director, has broken the $35 million sum into $25 million for buying certain aging apartment complexes along Franklin Road, helping to relocate the renters, and razing the buildings to sell to commercial developers.

Sessoms allocated another $7.3 million for two new roads that would run east of Southern Polytechnic State and Life universities, connecting those schools with Franklin Road and whatever future redevelopment occurs there.

Another $1.5 million is earmarked for Whitlock Avenue sidewalks, landscaping and the kind of street lamps the city has installed along Roswell Street. As one of the city’s most prominent corridors, Whitlock is not fully paved with sidewalks from the Marietta Square to Marietta High School. The $1.5 million earmark would fill in the sidewalk gaps, particularly from Oakmont Drive to Polk Street Extension, while adding lighting and landscaping.

A remaining $1.2 million would be spent on renovating the former Lemon Street School, home to the city’s and county’s black students prior to desegregation. Sessoms envisions turning that building, which is owned and used as a storage facility by Marietta City Schools, into a cultural center, highlighting the artifacts of the city’s black history.

The council must still make a formal vote to place the $35 million bond on the Nov. 5 ballot, the same ballot where voters will decide whether to return the council and mayor to office. They have until August to make that decision.

Franklin Road plans

The area the city would spend the bulk of the bond money on is a mile-and-a-half strip of Franklin Road between Delk Road and South Marietta Parkway that has about 3,100 aging apartment units. Sessoms said there are 10 apartment complexes along that stretch, one townhome development and one condominium development. An additional apartment complex on Franklin lies just south of Delk Road with 128 units.

“Based on current market conditions, the city may be able to purchase three to four apartment complexes and tear them down,” she said. “It just depends on which ones they choose because they vary in size. They might be able to do five.”

Purchasing the townhomes or condo development would likely prove too difficult due to the multiple owners, she said.

Sessoms said private developers have shared with her their interest in developing Franklin Road if the city passes the bond.

“The developers that I’ve been talking to, they’re hesitant to go in and invest their money, their resources, in Franklin Road, if the city is not willing to do anything too because then they’re the lone ranger out there and there’s just too much risk,” she said. “There are too many apartments for them to feel comfortable that they can build a building and get tenants to go in there and lease it.”

The area has already lost several businesses, such as Graphic Packaging, she said.

“They’re just worried about the security of their employees,” Sessoms said. “Even though crime, I think, is down a little bit over there, the perception is still there.”

Two university roads

The two new roads being proposed could be funded in part with federal dollars if bond money were brought to match, Sessoms said.

A proposed “University North Parkway Connector,” at an estimated length of 2,500 feet, would stretch from Cobb Parkway between Polytechnic Drive and Life’s Way to Franklin Road at Parkway Place. Sessoms said the $5.7 million cost of that road could be broken down into $3 million from the bond and $2.7 million from potential federal dollars or future special purpose local option sales tax dollars.

The second proposed road, called the “University South Parkway Connector,” at an estimated length of 4,905 feet, would stretch from Cobb Parkway at Barclay Circle to Franklin Road near Franklin Forest Industrial Park. That $11 million cost, Sessoms said, could be broken down into $4.3 million from the bond proceeds and $6.7 million from federal or SPLOST dollars.

The purpose for the two new roads is to revitalize that part of Cobb Parkway, attracting more retail business to support the universities while at the same time enhancing the presence of SPSU and Life, she said.

Tonight’s series of council committee meetings begins at 5:15 p.m. in the council chamber of city hall, at 205 Lawrence St. in Marietta.

 

Comments
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anonymous
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May 02, 2013
To Complete Streets: Local government meetings do need new representation of young people. I agree with you. Where are you when the AARPer's are attending? Out biking? Where are all your friends that want bike paths to convince the AARPer's we really do need all these sidewalks? Out there making fun of others while you sit on your hind end? Look at the Silver Comet Trail. Not exactly a traffic jam of people going to and from work on bikes using that multi-million dollar mode of transportation, is there? Hey, I bet the farm you are an "in the closet" car driver, when you could very well be biking to work. What does 2011 have to do with Marietta's plan to spend bond money? So you think that if someone is over 35, they are probably addicted and can't even conceive of life without their drug of choice? How narrow-minded are your presumptions. I suppose you are 34 or under then. Get your hinney to Council meetings and make yourself important. Hold up your fingers how many Council meetings you have attended? Thought so. Thought so, knew so really. I don't see any.
givemeliberty
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May 02, 2013
Does Ms. Sessoms actually think there is capital today to develop anything on Franklin Road? The property on Franklin is the result of poor real estate management and years of neglect by the public safety department of the City of Marietta. The City has no business interfering with the natural progression of real estate decline. It would be interesting to have Ms. Sessoms, et al show evidence to the taxpayers that would demonstrate the City's success with buying and then reselling real estate. I would pose that they won't because it will not be a pretty picture. What do you say Ms. Sessoms? Private developers will not put up their own money because they know this is a boondoggle in the making! Why should the taxpayer underwrite or subsidize this blatant attempt for a few in the City play with development when they know little about it?
Missle
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May 02, 2013
More Agenda 21 big govermnment liberal insanity. Anyone who tells you this will:

1)revitalize that part of Cobb Parkway

2)attract more retail business to support the universities

or

3)enhance the presence of SPSU and Life

either has an agenda or is clueless.
Cobb Pkwy an eyesore
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May 01, 2013
How about doing something about the shantytown which is Cobb Parkway! It has not changed much since the 1950's and it shows.
dozen 41 stories
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May 02, 2013
There are about a dozen stories about redoing Cobb Parkway. It's called the "University District" or something. Apparently the plan is to add some light posts and sidewalks and a fork from Franklin Rd over to the Universities in an attempt to trick students into occupying Franklin Rd. It's not a bad idea. Who knows, maybe it will work if they add safe and commuter-sensible bicycle access all the way from the US 41 Walmarts up the Franklin corridor to the schools.

"Safe" of course is relative: everybody wants to be safe from distracted drivers and loose, angry dogs, and the ladies need to be safe in more ways than just that.

"Commuter-sensible" is NOT relative. It means a smooth, debris-free surface with the fewest possible driveway and side streets crossings, and the smallest amount possible in elevation change unless a slightly descending path can be provided all the way from the homes to the schools such that students could practically just coast on in to school, arriving fresh, and have to do the work on their way back home where they could then take a nice convenient shower.

"Commuter-sensible" does NOT mean an extra wide sidewalk that crosses numerous driveways and side streets. Nor does it mean a path that requires any huge efforts to get up steep hills. Nor does it mean "Quickly filled with gravel and bumpers and forever left that way because the bike lane was only added to qualify the project for federal dollars"
Complete Streets
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May 01, 2013
Whitlock is 120 which is a state highway, so Georgia state law requires Complete Streets.

Let's see if Marietta continues their willful negligence in the transporation department or if they finally add a bicycle lane to some road (ANY road!).

I can hear Tumlin now: "Gosh I am so old I cannot conceive of using a bicycle for anything, so there is no reason to add a bicycle lane, despite the obvious facts that bicyclers exist aplenty in our city and their numbers increase along with each gasoline price hike, and bicycles already have the right lane of every surface street, so any added bicycle lanes are so cars can pass bicyclers without having to (gasp) pay as much attention to their driving"
COBB CSI
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May 01, 2013
That’s because Georgia bought off on Federal Agenda 21 from Washington the rich people are blocking any progress Whitlock; so Whitlock needs to be one way Polk needs to go the other way.
Frogger - YEAH
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May 01, 2013
I'm up for it. I'll gas up my F-250 and we'll play some bicycle Frogger on Whitlock.
Complete Streets
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May 02, 2013
Congrats on acheiving your F-250, Frogger.

Frogger's opinion sounds fairly typical of our city's elected officials, and most of the older "I have always driven everywhere so everyone must drive everywhere or else it might slightly inconvenience me for 10 seconds" crowd and/or the "my self worth is based on the model of my car" crowd.

The older "I have always driven everywhere so everyone must drive everywhere or else it might slightly inconvenience me for 10 seconds" crowd does not pay school taxes (or they won't in just a few short years) so why do we want them?

We need new people here. Young people with futures, and the young, who haven't forgotten 9/11/2001, have quite a backlash going on with America's dependence on automobiles. That's right, dependence. Automobiles are not freedom as the F-x50 commericals will tell you in a gruff country voice. They are a dependence, and if you're over 35, you are probably addicted and can't even concieve of life without your drug of choice.

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