City eyeing options for $5M from parks bond
by Hilary Butschek
August 28, 2014 04:00 AM | 2102 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — The City Council is eyeing three parks and the Elizabeth Porter Recreation Center as options to spend $5 million that remains from the $25 million bond issuance voters approved in 2009.

Those parks are Flournoy Park and the future Chicopee and Blackwell parks.

The Parks, Recreation and Tourism Committee chaired by Michelle Cooper Kelly discussed its options but didn’t vote to allocate any money.

Kelly said the council will take time to mull the options, and when members vote to spend the parks bond, they will distribute it equally.

“We want to make sure we’re not heavily concentrated in one area of the city with parks,” Kelly said.

The city paid $30,000 more than it originally planned for one property it needed to expand the Porter Center, which is on Allgood Road near North Marietta Parkway, causing it to go over budget for the project.

Rich Buss, the city’s parks director, said parks bonds funds can be allocated to cover the overage.

The $3.5 million renovation of the Porter Center will expand the property from 1.8 acres to 4.8 acres.

Other potential projects to be funded by the bond include two pieces of land the city already purchased that are the future sites of Chicopee Park and Blackwell Park.

Chicopee Park is nearly 3 acres of land on Chicopee Drive purchased by the city in December 2012, Buss said. It would cost $440,000 to fence in the property and pave a concrete path inside that would enclose a new picnic table area and playground, Buss said.

Councilman Andy Morris said he liked the design for the park because it remains closed off from the adjacent neighborhood, Forest Hills.

“Chicopee is different because a lot of people live right behind it, but I like the trees that will keep the noise away from (the residents) and the picket fence,” Morris said.

The other undeveloped property, Blackwell Park, is quarter of an acre the city purchased on Blackwell Lane in April 2011.

The council agreed the best plan for the park was to keep it natural and plant more trees and shrubs.

Councilman Johnny Walker said residents want the property to remain undeveloped.

“We’re probably just going to make it a light, green space and a community garden,” Walker said.

The committee will hear more detailed plans for the area, as well as a cost estimate, at its Sept. 23 meeting.

Flournoy Park, a quarter-acre park on Roswell Street beside the Cobb County Courthouse, could get additions worth $95,000.

Additions could include new plants, such as azaleas and roses, as well as seating and granite steps into the park.

“It will open (Flournoy Park) up and make it a little bit more attractive,” Buss said. “We presented this in 2012, but the council decided to put it on hold.”

Councilman Philip Goldstein said because the park is adjacent to the courthouse, which is owned by the county, the council should present the plans to the county as well as request its help to fund the project.

“If we’re going to do Flournoy Park, I would encourage (us) to show this to the county. This (park) was originally done as a partnership with them,” Goldstein said. “Just out of courtesy.”

Discussion continues on school crosswalks

The Public Works Committee agreed to continue discussions at its Sept. 23 meeting about adding crosswalks along roads that border Marietta schools to make it safer for students to walk to and from school.

Dan Conn, the city’s public works director, said two new signs, one facing east and one facing west, that alert drivers with flashing lights when they speed, will be installed on Maple Avenue to slow down traffic on the road that borders West Side Elementary School.

Councilman Grif Chalfant said he wanted to see if the signs would successfully slow traffic before adding sidewalks.

“You put those radar signs up and see what happens,” Chalfant said.

Conn said one crosswalk could cost $2,500 to $5,000.

Walker said he wants to pursue further discussion because drivers speed too often on streets around schools.

“I get a lot of calls from the parents, and I have been over there a couple times when school lets out, and it gets really busy and there are a lot of speeders there, not just when school lets out,” Walker said.

While one representative of Marietta City Schools, Danny Smith, the executive director for support, attended the meeting yesterday, Mayor Steve Tumlin invited members of the school board and Superintendent Emily Lembeck to attend the September meeting to talk about solutions.

“We need to have a game plan (to install crosswalks), and I’d like (the school board) to be a part of it,” Tumlin said.

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