The Cobb Board of Commissioners will decide July 22 whether to put before voters a 1 percent special purpose local option sales tax, expected to collect $750 million over six years.
Goreham, who represents northwest Cobb, said she can’t finalize her wish list of projects because commissioners can’t agree on how long the tax should run, but she approves of a six-year tax.
“We as a board haven’t decided on the proposed SPLOST, whether it would be a four-year or six-year SPLOST, and obviously that would affect how much funding is available,” Goreham said.
Her three favorites — a community center in Acworth, a road improvement project in Kennesaw and a new library available to both cities — have all been in the works for more than five years, Goreham said.
“As far as SPLOST projects that will improve the quality of life for our community, those are great projects,” Goreham said.
New Acworth community center
Goreham said she supports a project to build a new community center in Acworth because it has been a goal of the Acworth Board of Aldermen for eight years.
The center would be built at the intersection of Logan Road and Old Cherokee Street.
Acworth is asking the county to pay $8 million of the $10.5 million cost of the center. The city would pay the remainder from its SPLOST cut, Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood said.
The center would include opportunities for city and county residents to take part in educational classes, senior services and cultural arts events.
“It’ll be at the top of list of projects for the SPLOST,” the mayor said.
After it is complete, the city would take care of the maintenance and operation of the center.
If the project is funded by the SPLOST, building could start on the new center by 2017, Allegood said.
Bob Weatherford, who resigned his seat on the Board of Aldermen to run for the Cobb Commission District 1 position, is in a runoff against Bill Byrne, a former county chairman. Weatherford, who was on the board when the idea for the center originated, said he was happy to see the idea move forward.
“I absolutely support it. I was there. We originated the idea,” Weatherford said.
Byrne said he knows many people visit the Acworth area in their free time, so the new center would serve the area well.
“I think the city of Acworth is one of the best kept secrets in Cobb County,” Byrne said. “There is a huge recreational draw to the city of Acworth.”
Acworth, Kennesaw could share new library
Two aging libraries in Kennesaw and Acworth are in need of repair, and the SPLOST could fund the construction of a new location, Goreham said, but they’ll have to share it.
“Presently we have two very small old satellite libraries,” Goreham said. “Because of the limitations in space, they’re limited in what services can be provided, and I’ve been working for the consolidation of the two libraries into one regional library.”
The new library will be equal distances from Acworth and Kennesaw, but the land for the project has not been purchased yet.
The proposed library project would create a 30,000-square-foot space for city and county residents to check out books, as well as attend events for children and adults, Goreham said.
“I’ve been working on this for six years trying to bring both cities together to have a regional library,” Goreham said.
The project is estimated to cost $8 million. The city would pay $640,000 of the cost, and the county would pay the rest, Goreham said.
Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews said library patrons deserve a new location.
“I think both libraries are very busy libraries, and they’re some of the smallest in the county,” Mathews said. “And, having a larger facility would obviously accommodate more users.”
Allegood said he is excited about the new amenities of the shared library.
“The idea of consolidating the staff of the two libraries, and now having a regional library that has got a lot of square footage and that is technologically advanced and cutting edge is perfect for our citizens,” Allegood said.
The library in Acworth is only 2,000 square feet, and the Kennesaw library is 6,000 square feet, Goreham said.
Both the older libraries would close if voters approve the project, and Weatherford said it might cause some commotion among residents.
“There’s a core group of people who are going come out against it because they want to keep (the Acworth library), but I’m in favor,” Weatherford said.
New roundabout at ‘confusing’ intersection
A 10-year-old traffic problem could improve if a project to build a roundabout at the intersection of Ben King Road and McCollum Parkway Northwest makes the SPLOST list, Goreham said.
The intersection, which is near Kennesaw State University, has been growing as more commuters attend the college.
“As the college grows, we are experiencing more and more traffic issues, so we need to keep pace with the growth of the college,” Goreham said.
The project will cost an estimated $2.6 million, and Kennesaw would pay $600,000, while the county pays for the rest, Goreham said.
This project will solve a confusing intersection where five roads meet and drivers have to decide who will go first at a series of stop and yield signs, said Ernie Via, Kennesaw’s public works director.
“(The roads) come together and they come together at different angles and then split off at different directions,” Via said. “When drivers come out there, they’re often confused on who should go first.”
Mathews agreed the intersection could use an improvement.
“Years ago, it was a traffic circle when it was originally built, and it’s been modified by the county multiple times over the years,” Mathews said. “I think as technology and design has been improved over the years, I think, a traffic circle there will be a good solution.”
Weatherford, who has driven through the intersection many times, said he approves of the project.
“Ten times yes,” Weatherford said.
Byrne, who said he would like to see the plans for the roundabout before supporting it, said he thought the traffic near the university would continue to grow.
“That corridor has got to be fixed,” Byrne said. “I would strongly support addressing that transportation issue. I would put that project ahead of the other two.”