At a Wednesday meeting, City Council asked staff to explore the creation of new roadways around the Franklin Road area to connect the corridor to nearby universities and job centers.
If constructed, the roads would be paid for by the $68 million redevelopment bond issue voters passed in November that allowed the city to raise property taxes to fund the redevelopment of the Franklin Road corridor.
The city is purchasing aging apartment complexes with plans to raze them and sell the cleared land to developers. Two Franklin Road complexes totaling $20 million have already been acquired by the city, including the 386-unit, 25.2-acre Woodlands Park complex and the 348-unit, 24.3-acre Flagstone Village Apartments.
Tumlin believes new roads spur development and pointed to growth in the area around the Cobb Galleria Centre that came after the construction of Cumberland Boulevard by the Cumberland Community Improvement District.
“The roads not only help people get to and from, but roads create commercial impact,” Tumlin said.
Road details are foggy
No decisions have been made about where the roads would go, how long they would be or what they could connect. It also hasn’t been decided how many roads the city could build, but original discussions among council members before the bond was approved last fall suggested two roads could be constructed.
The next meeting of the City Council will be an agenda work session at 5:15 p.m. May 12 at City Hall, 205 Lawrence St.
Marietta has about $7 million set aside for new roads under its redevelopment bond.
Councilman Grif Chalfant, chairman of the city’s Public Works Committee, said he’d like to see just one road built. He doesn’t think the city can afford to build two new streets with the $68 million bond issue.
“It would be tough to make it with buying the right of way through different places with having two roads,” Chalfant said.
One road would get the job done, Chalfant thinks, and still foster the corridor’s revitalization.
“We are laying some strong seeds right now for redevelopment with the pieces that we’ve bought,” Chalfant said. “It’s a great start.”
Tumlin said his heart isn’t set on two roads, and he wants to review potential costs and other details before making a decision on the number of roads and where they will lead.
Roads may cater to universities
Road construction should complement redevelopment efforts taking place along the corridor, Tumlin said, and not be an afterthought.
“We can wait until everything is done, but that might not make sense,” Tumlin said.
An Atlanta Regional Commission study that looked at ways to redevelop areas surrounding Southern Polytechnic State and Life universities in Marietta — and connect those campuses with surrounding business centers — will provide a framework for the location of any new roads, Tumlin said, but the city isn’t obligated to build streets leading to the universities.
“We don’t want to over focus on 2 square miles,” he said.
Still, Tumlin said, building roads take time and the sooner the city can get started, the better.
“It’s more than just slapping a line down,” Tumlin said.
Council to vote on CID
Council members also discussed adopting a resolution to create a self-taxing community improvement district in the Franklin Road area, to be called Gateway Marietta Community Improvement District. City Council is scheduled to vote on that resolution at its meeting set for 7 p.m. May 14 at City Hall.
Community improvement districts, or CIDs, are formed by area property owners who agree to tax themselves at a higher rate, up to 5 additional mills, using the extra revenues to obtain additional state and federal dollars to pay for infrastructure improvements.
Cobb has two: the Cumberland Community Improvement District, whose governing board is chaired by Tad Leithead, and the Town Center Area Community Improvement District, whose board is chaired by Mason Zimmerman.
To form the CID, a majority of property owners representing 75 percent of the assessed value of the district must agree to the tax increase. The hiked tax rate would apply only to businesses, not residents.
If council members adopt the resolution, the CID could elect its seven-member board and set its millage rate as soon as late June.
In other business, the city’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism Committee opted to table discussion and action on the creation of a park on a 1.2-acre tract at the intersection of Whitlock Avenue and Kirkpatrick Drive and asked park department staff to complete an appraisal of the property.