At the Board of Aldermen’s Thursday meeting at City Hall, Mayor Tommy Allegood also announced that a $21.5 million, 85,000-square-foot assisted-living community is coming to the city’s historic downtown.
The playground, which will be funded with SPLOST 2011 funds, will attract many visitors after it opens in March or April, Allegood said.
“It’s going to be spectacular,” he said. “It’s going to be a big, big draw.”
The contract was approved 5-0 in the meeting’s consent agenda, a cluster of 12 items discussed in Monday’s work session. Allegood said items on the consent agenda are budgeted, but any amounts over $2,500 must be presented for a vote.
During the mayor’s comment portion of the meeting, Allegood said a 7-acre patch of the city’s historic downtown is on track to become Dogwood Forest of Acworth, set to open in April 2014.
“The contractor will begin on the Day’s Chevrolet property,” he said about a former car dealership at Main and Cowan streets that relocated to Cobb Parkway. “The investor loan closed. They will be actually breaking ground within the next two weeks.”
He said the property, rezoned at the request of owner Dan Needle, has been reinvigorated after the economy stalled the project.
“That’s something really, really exciting to be able to see that piece of property transformed,” Allegood said. “It’s one of our gateways.”
He said all the other progress enjoyed by the city has been dampened by the previous inactivity.
“We still always get that question, ‘Well, what are you going to do with that property?’ We’ve always known what we were going to do, we just didn’t know when it was going to happen,” Allegood said. “Now the next time you hear that question, just say, ‘Jan. 11, you can come to the ground-breaking.’”
Allegood said the news is “a great way” to end the year.
“We’re blessed as a community,” he said. “God has really blessed us in a very special way.”
The meeting also included recognition of the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Cobb Area Council Citizens of the Year: District 37 State Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta), Andy Duncan and Kennesaw City Councilman Bill Thrash.
All three honorees were humble in their acknowledgement.
“Good quality of life doesn’t happen because of one person,” Tippins said. “It happens because of a lot of people.”
Duncan said he enjoyed donating resources like products from the two Chick-fil-A restaurants he owns.
“I can’t say enough about this community,” he said.
Hailed by Allegood for his “courage, inspiration, devotion and dedication,” Thrash said there is a synergy between the neighboring cities.
“We’ve joked for years about forming one city and taking over,” Thrash said.
Alderman Bob Weatherford said his friendship with Thrash did not prevent him from stealing the honoree’s ideas.
“One of the things you don’t want is for him to come up to you and say, ‘Hey, I got an idea,’” Weatherford said to laughter. “One of those ideas was Acworth Young Aldermen. We’ve had it in place seven years now. It was his idea and we stole it.”
Other recognitions included the presentation of the Lifesaving Award for the National Police Hall of Fame to Cpl. Luke Reynolds for administering CPR to a 74-year-old woman and the introduction of newly sworn Cobb County Superior Court Judge Robert D. Leonard II, an Acworth resident.
A briefing before the meeting included the appointment of Alderman Tim Richardson as the 2013 mayor pro tem and a review of SPLOST funds by Bulthuis, who said income was exceeding expectations.
“We overcollected $164,000. If that trend was to continue for all 48 months, we would end up with $791,000 more than what was originally projected,” Bulthuis said. “The end projects may be better off than the early projects because there may be additional monies at the end. In the past, we ended up cutting stuff.”
Other items approved by aldermen Thursday include:
A new contract with Public Works Director Mark Hipp, who will head the newly combined departments of public works and power, with an $8,000 raise to $92,000 a year.
Annual contract renewals for parks and recreation, community development, information systems and tourism department heads, as well as Police Chief Wayne Dennard, City Manager Brian Bulthuis, Assistant City Manager Brandon Douglas, Treasurer Sharron Burtz and City Clerk Regina Russell.
An alcoholic beverage license for Edgar L. Kellman Jr.’s restaurant Bar-B-Cutie.
Transferring $17,815 to the Special Needs Development Group for maintenance of Horizon Field for children with disabilities, $13,840 for Paulding County-based RGS Landscape Management for mowing and landscaping, and $192,863 in workers’ compensation insurance through the Georgia Municipal Association
$25,454 for a 2013 Ford Explorer through a Georgia statewide contract with Morrow-based Allan Vigil Ford.
Allegood said after the meeting the vehicle will replace a 1999 model with “a jillion miles on it” that is beyond repair but still retains some value.
“It’ll be auctioned. We collect those old cars and vehicles. We’ll have four or five and we’ll sell them all at one time,” he said. “It makes sense for someone to buy them all.”