South Cobb authority would be an anti-blight bite
June 18, 2014 04:00 AM | 2450 views | 1 1 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A brief look at the proposed tax district.
A brief look at the proposed tax district.
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South Cobb long has struggled to keep up with the rest of the county. But a new urban redevelopment authority aimed at reducing blight hopefully will help to change that.

South Cobb’s biggest advantage — its proximity to Atlanta — has also been one of its biggest curses. This closeness has made it easy for residents there to commute into Atlanta for jobs. But it also has made it equally easy for urban-type crime and other challenges to steadily spill into that part of Cobb. What were tidy apartment complexes when they were new in the 1970s and ’80s are today typically rundown and home to all manner of mayhem.

South Cobb’s schools have lagged behind those in the rest of Cobb for decades, despite a steady stream of dollars and new programs sent their way. Crumbling storefronts and empty strip malls and houses are common. Its 13.1 percent jobless rate is twice the county’s average, while its $29,000 median average income is less than half the county average. And south Cobb’s crown jewel, Six Flags Over Georgia, draws tourists from all over the state and beyond. But most of them never venture beyond its perimeter after leaving the interstate, and frankly, might find it injurious to life and limb were they to do so.

So south Cobb is overripe for action. And that’s what a proposed new redevelopment authority would represent. It would include the area northward from the southern tip of the county to I-20 and slightly beyond.

The authority would be able to issue and sell bonds, the revenues from which would be used to purchase blighted properties, which then would be razed and sold for redevelopment. Initial talk is of a $10 million bond issue.

Meanwhile, the South Cobb Redevelopment Authority would be levying higher taxes on owners of commercial and industrial properties there, and also on apartment complex owners. The proceeds would be used to help pay off the bond debt.

Commission Chairman Tim Lee is hopeful the new authority can be voted on by his board by September following public hearings.

And said Ed Richardson, chairman of the South Cobb Redevelopment Authority: “I think it’s a conservative way to approach this because the people who stand to benefit the most from the improvements we’ve been talking about are the ones that are going to pay for it. So, if you’re outside of the south Cobb district in another part of the county, they won’t be paying.”

Also supporting the program is south Cobb Commissioner Lisa Cupid.

“We’ve been trying since I came into office ... to identify a mechanism to redevelop that area, and I’m glad to see that we’ve finally found one that can work,” she said.

It’s certainly worth a try and deserves the full support of those who want to see south Cobb flourish to its fullest potential.

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Clean up or get out
|
June 19, 2014
There are several things Ms. Cupid and the County could do that would jump start this area.

Have Code Enforcement, Building Inspections and the Fire Marshall's office start inspecting every apartment complex to including the inspection of each apartment unit, laundry room and any other structures. Cite them for every violation including all the junk partially stripped cars.

Then do the same for each business and bring in the Health Dept. for every food service, convenience store and food market.

Next run undercover operations to nail the stores that take EBT cards for cash or allow alcohol sales, lottery tickets and tobacco products purchased on EBT cards.

And make every apartment complex to produce a list of every tenant to include a name, SSN and age of every person by apartment number to the Cobb PD.

Yep its a big job but it will clean out the trash really fast once word gets out and the apartment complexes can either clean their property up or have it condemned and torn down.
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