Countywide, voters are expected to decide on a six-year renewal of the 1 percent local sales tax Nov. 4. If approved, county estimates say the tax will bring in $750 million from 2016 through the end of 2021.
Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood said the tax renewal will be important for his city, which will receive an estimated $20.8 million over six years.
The Cobb Board of Commissioners will decide July 22 whether to put the tax renewal before voters.
The biggest project in Acworth is an $11 million recreation center, which would be built at the intersection of Logan Road and Old Cherokee Street. 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, construction could start on the new center by 2017, Allegood said.
Acworth is asking the county to pay $8.5 million of the center’s cost. The city would pay the remaining $2.5 million from its SPLOST cut, Allegood said.
He said the community center is part of a downtown redevelopment started in 2005.
“One of the centerpieces, strategically, was to build a community center that would have something for everybody within our community,” Allegood said.
James Albright, Acworth’s parks and recreation director, said there isn’t a similar facility north of Dallas Highway, and he went over some of the space’s potential functions.
“We foresee some type of large area for sports activities,” Albright said. “Then you’ve got your breakout rooms for dance and aerobics classes, a space for senior citizen activities and some type of large banquet room.”
Albright estimated the community center will span 30,000 to 40,000 square feet.
Smaller projects important, too
Allegood said about half the dollars in the city’s SPLOST list would go toward road, sidewalk, stormwater or other infrastructure improvements.
One big project is a series of improvements to Nowlin Road from Nance Road to North Cobb High School.
“We call it one of our main street projects,” Allegood said. “It’s a continuation of improvements to Highway 293 from Acworth to Kennesaw.”
The project would cost $3 million, with half coming from Acworth and half from Cobb County.
“It’s stormwater, road and sidewalk improvements,” Allegood said. “The sidewalk component to it helps us with our mission to connect every neighborhood and every part of our community with sidewalks. The road project ends right in front of North Cobb High School.”
A separate line item lists $750,000 for sidewalks.
“In this day and time, every citizen in every community wants to have walkability,” Allegood said. “Without an adequate sidewalk and trails, you don’t have walkability and you can’t connect all your neighborhoods. We have 14 parks, two lakes and four beaches and we want to make sure every part of our community is connected to all of our parks as well as our sports programs, schools and our downtown.”
The list also includes $350,000 for improvements to Newberry Park, $3.1 million for Logan Farm Park improvements and $500,000 for pavilions at Cauble Park.
Logan Farm Park spans 100 acres, according to Albright.
“Plans for Logan Farm Park include improvements to our existing trail system and sidewalks to create connectivity between the parks and the surrounding neighborhoods,” Albright said.
Newberry Park would see upgrades to its baseball fields, according to Albright.
“It’s one of our oldest baseball fields in the community,” he said. “It’s kind of a historic character type of facility. We want to make improvements there to the field conditions, with a better lighting system and parking.”
New library could be in the works
Cobb Commissioner Helen Goreham is a big proponent of a new library between Acworth and Kennesaw. She said the project has been in the works for more than five years.
“As far as SPLOST projects that will improve the quality of life for our community, those are great projects,” said Goreham, who represents northwest Cobb including Acworth.
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. It would replace two older libraries located in each city.
The project is estimated to cost $8 million. Kennesaw would pay $640,000 of the cost and the county would pay the rest, Goreham said.
The library in Acworth is only 2,000 square feet, and the Kennesaw library is 6,000 square feet, Goreham said.
Allegood supports the project, especially because none of the dollars come from Acworth’s SPLOST list.
“Those dollars are not on our list; those are county dollars allocated for a regional library,” he said. “We’re really excited about that. That’s a high-profile project that will be that will be really important for us.”
Allegood said the old library probably would be torn down to make room for more parking.
“We continue to have big demands for parking downtown,” he said. “We’ll be looking to expand our parking in downtown by taking out the old building.”
Acworth will have a community meeting July 10 at City Hall to let residents take a look at the projects. The council is expected to vote on a final SPLOST list July 17, Allegood said.