Working with Whitlock
by Nikki Wiley
April 29, 2014 04:00 AM | 4892 views | 6 6 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marietta city Councilmen Johnny Walker, left, and Grif Chalfant review the 1.2-acre site of a proposed park on the corner of Kirkpatrick Drive and Whitlock Avenue in Marietta on Monday. <br> Staff/C.B. Schmelter
Marietta city Councilmen Johnny Walker, left, and Grif Chalfant review the 1.2-acre site of a proposed park on the corner of Kirkpatrick Drive and Whitlock Avenue in Marietta on Monday.
Staff/C.B. Schmelter
MARIETTA — A vacant lot near an aging shopping center on Whitlock Avenue could become a new city park.

Marietta City Council will discuss purchasing a 1.2-acre site at the corner of Kirkpatrick Drive and Whitlock Avenue at its meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 205 Lawrence St. The city has not made any offers on the property and has not yet made an offer to the owner.

The property, owned by Ohio-based builder K Homes LLC, is valued at $300,000, according to the Cobb County Tax Assessor website.

Councilman Johnny Walker, who represents the area, said it’s the perfect place for a community park, where neighbors can stop for a picnic or take a break from biking to the Marietta Square, which is about 1.3 miles away.

He envisions a passive park of green space, not one filled with playground equipment.

“I can’t think of any other use for that property,” said Walker, who joined the City Council in January.

Council members have turned down requests for townhomes to be built on the site in the past, said Councilman Grif Chalfant, because the city doesn’t feel it fits with the surrounding neighborhood.

Though a shopping center and church are located across the street, Chalfant said single-family detached homes surround the back of the site.

“I just don’t like to see that there,” Chalfant said.

Whitlock Avenue is also in line for a $4 million streetscaping and sidewalk project to be funded with the part of the $68 million redevelopment bond voters passed last November.

Construction is likely to start at the end of this year or the beginning of next year, and once ground is broken, the project is expected to take six to nine months to finish.

Tumlin said the addition of sidewalks would make the park more attractive.

“I like to have them because it dovetails into the Whitlock Avenue part we’re doing,” Tumlin said.

David Burke of the West Marietta Improvement Group, a civic organization, said the proposed park could act as a venue for food trucks, art festivals, concerts and other public events.

Burke’s group has had its sights set on cleaning up a nearby area of Whitlock Avenue they consider blighted. Burke wants to find an anchor tenant for the mostly vacant Westpark Plaza Shopping Center that houses Dave Poe’s BBQ, which is located diagonally across the street from the proposed park.

The shopping center once housed an A&P grocery store. Burke said a park could help improve that section of Whitlock Avenue.

“It would be great if Council would consider some sort of central feature to the park to help draw people in beyond a playground — either recreational, athletic or artistic — but I’m sure it will be a great addition to the area,” Burke said, adding the site is at a busy intersection and safety measures need to be considered.

Candie Howard, an attorney who lives near the site, said she supports the idea of putting a park on the property.

“I think it is a fantastic idea,” Howard said. “It creates a beautiful buffer between a busy highway and the rest of the neighborhood.”

The City Council will also discuss other park projects at its Wednesday meeting, including the renovations of Elizabeth Porter Recreation Center and Custer Park.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
whitlock improvement
April 29, 2014
This is a great place for a passive park. Thank you for looking at this. It would be a great addition to the area and Whitlock Ave.
Rick Z
April 29, 2014
Wouldn't it be better to put the resources into sprucing up nearby Laurel Park, which already has ample facilities for both passive and active recreation but shows some wear in places?
LP visiter
April 29, 2014
Wow, when's the last time you visited Laurel Park? Not in a while, because you would have noticed that park received over 1 million dollars in "sprucing up". Geez, why do you post when you're clueless??
No park
April 29, 2014
That is no place for a park. Sounds lovely, just would not work. What we need over here is for someone to tear down the eyesore of a "shopping center" and build something else. Looks awful, is a blight and no one, not one single pol it really taking that on.
April 29, 2014
I also think this is a very good idea. However, if this happens there needs to be a turn signal from Kirkpatrick (west) or anybody in the park will be breathing the fumes of the cars that have to wait for the current interminable lights. Mr. Chalfant let me know several years ago that this issue was "being looked into". Please keep looking.
Davis McCollum
April 29, 2014
Perfect location for a small park or a great outdoor vegetable stand - and you memorialize a Bill Kinney or Mayor Ansley Meaders... "Whitlock-Bill Kinney Park"
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