Mableton should do what it can to separate itself from Austell if it wants to advance, according to the one-day analysis of various business and technical leaders in the Atlanta area.
The Urban Land Institute of Atlanta’s Technical Assistance Program committee, composed of professionals from various sectors, convened for a full day on April 11. They were selected to include an array of professional expertise and were not compensated for their time.
What is the ULI TAP?
The ULI, established in 1936, is a non-profit research and education organization, which promotes responsible land uses to create thriving communities. ULI TAP brings together professionals with various experiences and skills to offer their expertise to help communities solve development and redevelopment challenges.
What are Mableton's challenges?
One of the major challenges facing Mableton is its “poor reputation,” which TAP members say are actually related to the Six Flags area.
“Mableton got saddled with the poor reputation of the Six Flags area when there was no one rebutting the misperception,” according to the TAP analysis report, which also states that Mableton is fighting a reputation for being “redneck” despite the development of two John Weiland subdivisions.
What exactly is Mableton’s reputation? Should Mableton do all it can to separate itself from the Six Flags and Austell areas to change its “poor reputation?” How can this be done? Tell us in the comments below.
Who contributed to the analysis?
In order to support the TAP, Lifelong Mableton re-engaged those community members who participated in the Design Charette a few years ago during the initial planning stages of the Mableton Form-Based Code, a zoning designation which will allow for mixed-use development to help establish a pedestrian-friendly town center in Mableton. With the help of the AARP, 68 respondents were surveyed and ranked various elements of lifelong communities in order of importance.
Although Mableton is predominantly nonwhite, 11 of the 12 individuals who participated in stakeholder interviews were white. State Rep. David Wilkerson, who lives in Marietta and whose district serves a small portion of Mableton, was the sole nonwhite stakeholder interviewed. Three of the 12 interviewed were women.
What were the main objectives of the TAP?
The TAP focused on three objectives:
1. Provide feedback on the market opportunities in Mableton, focusing on:
- the kind of development best suited for the area in the next two to three years and then in the next three to seven years;
- what development (type, location, structure, etc.) would be most impactful; and
- what economic development strategies and incentives may be required to stimulate such development. This will include private sector feedback on the adopted form-based code;
2. Identify development impediments other than economic factors and recommend strategies for overcoming such impediments; and
3. Recommend strategies for marketing Mableton to attract development, specifically including using branding concepts.
What are the next steps for Mableton?
The TAP members identified several actions that can be taken to help redevelopment efforts in Mableton:
- Identifying a leader, called a “champion,” who can champion Mableton without any conflicts of interest. “At present, there is simply no guiding force that would be the one to sell Mableton when the brand is created and the marketing plan developed,” according to the TAP’s summary of recommendations.
- Consider creating a township. The TAP members recognized that incorporation may be inappropriate for Mableton right now, but a township could be an adequate fit for the community.
- Begin marketing and branding efforts by forming a marketing advisory action committee and developing a brand positioning statement.
South Cobb Patch will continue to explore the results of the ULI TAP’s analysis of Mableton this week and seek your feedback about what this group identified as strengths, challenges and its recommendations for actions that should be taken in the short and long term to improve redevelopment in Mableton.
Note: The article originally stated that Mableton is predominantly African-American. Although the majority of Austell is African-American, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Mableton is 54 percent nonwhite, but the majority is not African-American. The Census shows that about 16,900 people (46 percent) in Mableton identify as white and about 14,700 (40 percent) identify as African-American.