Allegood’s aims: Rec center anchors Acworth SPLOST wish list
by Haisten Willis
June 30, 2014 04:00 AM | 3104 views | 6 6 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood, right, chats with James Albright, director of parks and recreation and community resources for the city of Acworth, Friday evening at the corner of Old Cherokee Street and Logan Road. Behind the pair is the site for a planned community center the city hopes to build with the help of SPLOST funding.<br>Staff/Jeff Stanton
Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood, right, chats with James Albright, director of parks and recreation and community resources for the city of Acworth, Friday evening at the corner of Old Cherokee Street and Logan Road. Behind the pair is the site for a planned community center the city hopes to build with the help of SPLOST funding.
Staff/Jeff Stanton
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ACWORTH — The city of Acworth is close to finalizing a special purpose local option sales tax project list anchored by an $11 million new recreation center.

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.

Comments
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Kiarny
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July 02, 2014
This makes me think of what is going on in Texas right now, except it is getting forced on Acworth, not voted for. See this article: http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-Texas/2014/06/05/Austin-Liberals-Cant-Afford-Taxes-They-Voted-For

The other problem is that the county might help pay for the original expense, but the city people who did not even want this will forever be paying the upkeep.
SupporttheY
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July 01, 2014
Why would the city want to compete with the Y which is only 6 1/2 miles away?? Not to mention the Y doesn't cost taxpayers money!! Didn't the voters already say no to this years ago?



And since when does the Parks Department run the city?
Been There Done That
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July 01, 2014
I guess the city has not learned anything. It wasn't too long ago the city tried this and let the citizens of Acworth vote on it in their own bond referendum. The citizens were loud and clear and responded a collective "NO!"

Now the city leadership is taking their same idea and trying to cram it down the citizens throat again. When will the city's leaders quit thinking they know what is best and ask the people what they want?

As the previous post from Parks, Parks, Parks states, the city has given complete control over to the parks department. Since when is it up to a parks department to control economic development? It is a good thing there are two decent restaurants in downtown, if it weren't for them it would be a ghost town. Instead of costing the taxpayers money, why don't you go out and try to spread the burden of the tax base to businesses?

It is laughable to hear the stats from the city about the businesses that open in Acworth, they just conveniently don't mention all the businesses that close when they mention ones that have opened...especially in downtown.

And as Mark Gould stated, there is a facility not too far from there, just up Mars Hill Road, it is called the YMCA and in case you didn't know it, that is a top-notch facility that already provides what the city is attempting to recreate at a hefty price tag.

Hopefully one day the city will stop telling everyone in this community what they need and listen to them and hear what they want. Until then, we will just have to keep pouring our tax money in to the omnipotent parks department. This may be the final red flag that we need some new leadership. And that doesn't mean just promoting the parks director.
Mark Gould
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June 30, 2014
The article mentions that there is not a facility between Dallas Highway and Acworth. What about the YMCA? Why would parks and rec not partner with the Y to improve what they offer in a much cheaper way rather than spend millions on a new facility miles away from the Y?
Parks, Parks, Parks
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June 30, 2014
Why is Acworth so caught up with Parks and Recreation? This bedroom community's residents don't have time to enjoy a rec center because they are too busy commuting to & from work. If only the leaders would open their eyes and see that the City is in need of Economic Development...business recruitment & job creation. The historic downtown commercial district has more vacancies now they it has in over ten years. Could it be because the Parks and Recreation Department is handling Economic Development??? The industrial parks sit vacant along with several shopping centers. Perhaps if the City stopped building the Parks Empire and worked to create jobs then the City's taxbase could support a recreation center without SPLOST funds. Acworth has so much potential with all of the surrounding development such as Lake Point Sports, KSU's expansion and football team... unfortunately the City is missing its opportunity from poor leadership direction.
30101Dad
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June 30, 2014
If they build the Rec Center does that mean the Registered Sex Offenders that live on Logan Rd will finally be moved away from the Park?
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