Kennesaw and the CID hired Sizemore Group, an Atlanta-based architect, to poll residents on what changes they want to see, said Darryl Simmons, Kennesaw’s planning and zoning administrator.
Then, using money from a $114,000 grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission, Sizemore Group will look into whether those suggestions are feasible by doing a study that includes portions of both Kennesaw and the CID.
The city and CID jointly won the grant in June from the ARC’s Livable Center’s Initiative, which gives grants to governments for transportation improvements.
The study will be complete by the end of the year, Simmons said. Once done, the city and CID can apply for more funding from the LCI to begin construction on the suggested projects.
The consultant will look at an area of 270 acres in Kennesaw that includes City Hall, Adams Park and the Civil War Museum, as well as 3,360 acres in the Town Center Area CID, including Kennesaw State University and Town Center at Cobb Mall.
But Benita Dodd, vice president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, said her organization has looked into the ARC’s grants that fund such studies and she has no faith in them.
“The LCI (grants) don’t have a very good track record of producing results from what we can see,” Dodd said.
Dodd said she doesn’t think spending money on such studies is worthwhile because the suggestions for improvements are not often followed through all the way to construction.
“We don’t see much produced out of (the studies), and I’m very concerned that we have an abundance of consultants and a dearth of sound transportation initiatives out of the ARC,” Dodd said.
Kennesaw will host an informational meeting today at its Pigs and Peaches BBQ Festival at Adams Park on Watts Drive.
Simmons said the city chose to talk to residents at the festival because it will have a big crowd.
“The festival will draw in a cross section of people, so we thought that would be the best place to do it,” Simmons said.
At the festival, residents can look at the portion of the city included in the study and offer opinions on what they want to see in the area.
The consultant has not made any plans for the area yet.
The Town Center Area CID is also waiting to make plans until it hears what the public wants to see in the area, at its meeting Thursday at the O’Charley’s on Townpark Lane in Kennesaw, said Jennine Duelge, who is the finance manager for the CID.
“We haven’t even planned anything,” Deulge said. “We want the input from residents before we make that plan.”
Cobb Commissioner Helen Goreham said she wants to hear from residents about their suggestions. She would like to see the area become more walkable.
“There’s an emphasis on walkability, as areas become more developed out — not only for recreational purposes but as another choice to get to work,” Goreham said.
Duelge said the Town Center Area CID wants to improve conditions for walkers as well.
“We want to connect the area with sidewalks to give pedestrians access and create a sense of community,” Duelge said. “We also want more bike lanes and trails.”
Simmons said Kennesaw has a similar goal, making it a good project for the two to work together on.
“Kennesaw’s goal for downtown is to make it a more walkable community,” Simmons said.