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UPDATE: South Cobbers Listen Up and Speak Out about Area Improvements at Town Hall Meeting

South Cobbers asked tough questions about new improvements and vision for three main areas: Mableton redevelopment district, the River Line area and the Six Flags corridor.

Approximately 150 South Cobb residents and Cobb County government officials assembled in the South Cobb Community Center for Commissioner Woody Thompson’s town hall meeting to learn about significant developments in the area and to have their say about issues affecting their community.

Cobb County Planning Division Manager Dana Johnson presented the main points of the South Cobb Implementation Strategy, a set of plans, previous studies and visions for three main areas of South Cobb­– the Six Flags Corridor, the Mableton Form-Based Redevelopment District and the River Line area.

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Johnson said the meeting was one of action and highlighted some of the next steps of action for each of the three areas in South Cobb.

  • Two of the main goals that Cobb officials have for the Six Flags Corridor, Johnson explained to the attendees, are transportation improvements and economic analyses to determine the possibility of designating it a tax allocation district. A TAD is a usually blighted area that is redeveloped with public dollars for the purpose of spurring investment in the area.
  • For the Mableton node­– the area from Mableton Elementary to the Mable House complex down to the South Cobb Community Center– the team of county officials  plans to continue work with Lifelong Mableton to improve the quality of life for older adults and to do what it can to encourage growth in the private sector there.
  • Johnson said the River Line ara has immense “marketability,” evident because of the investment by John Wieland Homes and now with Jamestown Properties. He also said this area has more historic and natural resources than any other part of Cobb County. The next steps for this area include working with Mableton Improvement Coalition and helping develop a pattern book for the area.

Johnson also briefly introduced the South Cobb Redevelopment Authority, which was reconstituted and expanded by the state delegation representing the area earlier this year. The board originally only covered Mableton.

The board’s purpose is to develop and promote businesses while creating jobs for people in the area. The board can land bank property and consists of seven individuals, four of whom were selected and approved by the Cobb County commissioners in July to serve four-year terms each. The other three members of the board will be selected by the state delegation and will serve one-, two- and three- year terms. The board’s first meeting will be in October, and South Cobb Patch will continue to cover the development of this board.

Residents asked questions of the Cobb County officials after Johnson’s presentation.

One woman stated that while she has been a South Cobb resident for some time, she has heard several times about improvements that she has never seen come to fruition. She asked for examples of improvements in the area that she can see.

Johnson offered Mableton Elementary as an example of improvement to the area as a result of an education SPLOST.

Michael Murphy, director of the , asked how transportation in South Cobb would be improved when three –two in South Cobb – Cobb Community Transit routes had been cut recently.

Members of the Chattahoochee Industrial Business Association expressed their concerns about the River View Landing (originally called River View on the Chattahoochee) development and

Andre Weathers, a South Cobb area parent, asked Thompson about the achievement gap in South Cobb.

Thompson responded that the county school board handles those issues and that the South Cobb area cannot compete with East Cobb, which has households with two parents who each have master’s degrees.

Weathers said “he was a little dismayed” about Thompson’s response.

Weathers, whose daughter is 3 and would go to Riverside Primary School once she begins kindergarten, said he and his wife look every day for a new home in a better school district.

He said he and his wife moved to Cobb because of the county's reputation for having great schools, but couldn't afford to live in East Cobb at the time since they had only one income while his wife continued graduate school. He said they moved to their home in South Cobb because of its location and affordability.

“A large part (of improvement) is leadership and vision in the county,” Weathers said.

South Cobb Patch will have more coverage from the town hall meeting, including a video. Check back to stay informed on what’s happening in your community.

Ivory Dorsey, Speaker, Facilitator, and Author September 14, 2011 at 11:07 AM
We showed up!! Concern, commitment, and community were evident. The leadership has a bold plan! We, as citizens have hope! South Cobb has a future! We are on the rise; get on board!
KWilson September 14, 2011 at 12:10 PM
As a both a resident and a business owner in South Cobb I'm very concerned that Mr. Thompson stated his constituents are not as educated as those in East Cobb and therefore must accept lower performing schools.
Average Citizen September 14, 2011 at 08:49 PM
It may be upsetting to hear, but the truth sometimes hurts. People just don't want to hear it or admit/acknowledge it. You know it's obvious that the majority of the residents in South Cobb have a lower income than those in East Cobb. And you know that a higher education usually brings in a higher income. Doesn't it make sense that people who bothered to get a higher education put education for their kids as a high priority? They are the ones that volunteer at the schools and spend time doing homework with their kids and probably hold fundraising events (which take a lot of personal time and effort). You reap what you sow when you raise children. You don't have to be a rocket scientist or a millionaire to do a good job. Of course there are these kinds of dedicated parents in South Cobb, but the few can't carry the weight of the majority in EVERY endeavor. I've voted for the "right" people and done all I know to do for 10 years hoping for the school system in Cobb to get better. It's just not going to happen if the residents don't care to MAKE it happen. I had to stop working and start homeschooling. I had high hopes for the Imagine school and knew people that spearheaded that project. That didn't turn out nearly as planned. East Cobb parents have higher educations AND they MAKE their schools better - not just "THEREFORE their schools are better".
Melissa "Mad Mel" Banks September 15, 2011 at 04:24 AM
I was a little shocked about the education comment. And while I agree with some points made above by "average citizen," and realize he was bombarded with questions but I was disappointed. I spend a significant amount of time and energy "promoting" the qualities of this town to my friends and neighbors because of my passion and I expect negative comments from blogs or neighbors who consider my efforts a "waste of time" but a comparison like that was disheartening. "Oh well we aren't East Cobb" kind of attitude doesn't cut it? I think the commissioner has done some great work and he did apologize for the broad statement but am I wrong to expect some positive passion from the folks we vote in? As a 3rd generation business owner in Mableton with a college education and a blue collar / working class family background I was slightly offended. So I guess the question remains, what does it take to get the attention of our school boards and elected officials - so that the concerns about education are addressed and heard - as they would be in say...East Cobb?
Ivory Dorsey, Speaker, Facilitator, and Author September 16, 2011 at 12:55 PM
Hope springs eternal in the human breast; Man never Is, but always To be blest: The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home, Rests and expatiates in a life to come. -Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man, Epistle I, 1733

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