Residents request community center improvements
by Noreen Cochran
ncochran@mdjonline.com
February 24, 2013 12:38 AM | 1596 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Ward 5 residents won’t let go of promises to fix the Lawrence Street Community Center, where a leaking roof stops basketball games and a swimming pool has been closed for years.

“Why is it taking so long?” resident Juanita Carmichael asked Parks and Recreation Manager Rich Deckman on Thursday at a town hall meeting hosted by her son, City Councilman Anthony Coleman, at City Hall.

Deckman didn’t have an answer for her, but Coleman did. “We’re still talking,” he said.

Carmichael referred to $1.1 million in improvements — which may mean demolition and rebuilding — for the community center as part of the $25 million parks bond.

She spoke after Deckman delivered a nearly half-hour presentation on nine completed parks, nine under design and five acquired, all using funds from the 2009 bond. It includes $3.75 million for Ward 5’s Elizabeth Porter Recreation Center, to which Carmichael also referred.

The city has been buying land fronting the North Loop, Deckman answered, to supplement the recreation center’s 2-acre footprint.

He assured attendees there will be progress. “You’re going to definitely see movement at Elizabeth Porter,” Deckman said.

He said the Feb. 13 purchase of the Turner Chapel A.M.E. Church’s Family Life Center for $1.2 million is within the bond’s constraints and is not taking funds away from the community and recreation centers. “There was the potential to move money around,” he said about the bond offering’s language.

Speeders still a problem

Resident and Board of Zoning Appeals member Ron Clark asked transportation engineer Challa Bonja about installing speed breakers on Reynolds Street.

He said there’s been an ongoing hazard on the street, which connects South Marietta Parkway with the Whitlock Heights community.

“I don’t think it’s fair for people who live on that street to suffer because of the traffic. I have asked the city about getting speed humps. Nothing has been done,” Clark said. “I guess if someone gets killed or hit, then they’ll put something over there.”

Coleman said criteria may not have warranted a speed table or speed hump under a citywide study conducted last year.

Bonja said the public works department will investigate during its next speed study, starting next month.

Updates from the department included 2005 and 2011 SPLOST projects.

Fairground Street improvements, including a roundabout at Allgood Road, won accolades from Cobb Life magazine for “solving quite of bit of confusion,” according to a handout distributed by Bonja.

Police write 350 tickets in five days

Maj. Mike Hathaway said the Slow Down Marietta initiative begun last month at Coleman’s urging included a five-day period in which 350 speeding tickets were written. “It’s not necessarily about generating revenue,” he said about fines. “It’s about slowing people down so we don’t have accidents.”

Hathaway said most speeders were going at least 14 mph over the limit, which is 30 to 35 mph in the areas patrolled. “They’re due a ticket, no doubt,” he said.

Some good news included a 7 percent drop in the crime rate from a 15-year average. “Citywide, we were down another 5 percent in January,” Hathaway said. “A lot of the initiatives we’re doing are paying off.”

He said there was a downside to low crime.

“We like to brag when things are down, but you can only get so low. The challenge is keeping it from getting too high,” Hathaway said. “The good thing is job security. We know we’ll always be needed.”

Code enforcement

Code enforcement manager Gary Thomas asked attendees’ help to beautify neighborhoods — or at least keep trash, abandoned cars and other violations at bay — by calling 770-794-5439.

“We do work a lot of cases,” he said, referring to about 6,000 violations in 2012. “We do miss some as well. Call us if you see something, especially if it’s something you see from your yard that we can’t see from the street.”

Carmichael asked about an eyesore on Edwards Drive.

Thomas said his department is having trouble contacting the owner.

“She’s a truck driver,” he said about the Douglasville resident. “She’s very hard to get in touch with. All the letters we sent come back.”

Low turnout

Coleman said after the meeting he was not upset by the low turnout.

“I probably have more town halls than any of the other council members. History shows you don’t always get a lot of participation,” he said. “What brings them out is if they’ve got an issue.”
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