City officials are reviewing qualifications for landscape architects and engineers who submitted proposals to work on the project.
Marietta voters approved a $68 million redevelopment project targeting Franklin Road, spearheaded by Mayor Steve Tumlin, on Nov. 5.
The city will use the majority of the proceeds from its $68 million bond issue to buy up blighted properties, mainly aging apartments, along the Franklin Road corridor, raze them and sell the land to developers.
But about $4 million is set aside for sidewalks, light posts and landscaping along Whitlock Avenue from the Marietta Square west to Marietta High School.
To pay back the bond debt, the city will increase property taxes by up to 2 mills for up to 20 years. That means the owner of a $200,000 home will see a tax increase of about $160 per year and the owner of a $400,000 home will see a $320 annual increase.
The city has already purchased two properties on Franklin Road, including the $7.9 million, 25.2-acre Woodlands Park apartment complex and the $12 million, 24.3-acre Flagstone Village Apartments.
But activity on Whitlock Avenue is moving more slowly.
“It will be at least a few more months until we have any detailed information on the project,” said Dan Conn, public works director for the city of Marietta.
Construction is likely to start at the end of this year or the beginning of next year. Conn said once ground is broken, the project will likely be finished between six and nine months.
“We’re working to get this to construction as fast as possible. It’s just it takes time to do these things,” Conn said.
Tumlin said the city plans to hold town hall meetings early this summer, after a landscape architect and engineer are hired, to learn more about what Marietta residents want to see along Whitlock Avenue.
“It’s going to be great for our city, and people remind us every day that they want it tomorrow, or yesterday,” Tumlin said.
He expects motorists will have to endure some traffic-related headaches, but said there won’t be any complete road closures.
The Whitlock improvements are vital to Franklin Road’s regeneration, Tumlin said, calling it a “different kind of revitalization.”
“Revitalization is also tied into a good entrance to the city,” Tumlin said.