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Kennesaw SPLOST Projects Include Skate Park

Proposed Kennesaw projects include an amphitheater and plaza added to Depot Park, renovations at the community center and the addition of a skate park to Swift-Cantrell Park.

Whether you believe any extra tax in the current economy is too much, or that a special purpose local option sales tax, or SPLOST, is the way to fund current needs, the issue has spawned debate across Cobb County.

If passed March 15, the SPLOST is expected to generate $492 million for parks, recreation, public safety, libraries, senior centers and transportation projects for the county and Cobb’s six cities.

Proposed SPLOST projects that would directly affect Kennesaw include an amphitheater and plaza added to Depot Park, renovations at the community center and the addition of a skate park to Swift-Cantrell Park.

The special four-year tax would begin Jan. 1, 2012, just as the current one ends.

Proponents say SPLOST would insure that Cobb County continues to be competitive when seeking businesses to locate in the area.

It will keep millage rates low and improve infrastructure. They also say that 30 percent of the penny tax would be paid for by visitors to the county.

Supporters point to the many facilities that have been paid for by previous SPLOSTs, including road widenings, bridges, expansions of the county jail and the new courthouse just off of the Marietta Square.

If the SPLOST was to fail on March 15, the county would incur debt and it could threaten the county’s Triple A bond rating, said Rose Wing, a retired attorney who heads Citizens for Cobb’s Future.

The group organized more than five years ago to promote the 2005 special sales tax. That SPLOST, which expires Dec. 31, passed by 114 votes.

On the other side of the SPLOST issue are organizations including the Cobb County Taxpayers Association and the Georgia Taxpayers Alliance, working to defeat the extension.

Opponents say the list of projects is more of a “want” list than a “need” list. The county needs to take a more conservative look at the current budget and see what can be cut, said Lance Lamberton, president of the Taxpayers Association.

In the down economy, county commissioners need to be thinking more about cutting taxes than adding more, Lamberton said.

Of the nearly $200 million in the SPLOST assigned for municipal improvements, Kennesaw would receive about $22.11 million.

Here's a breakdown of some of the major projects that would directly affect Kennesaw:

Transportation

  • Operational improvements to Pine Mountain Road including curb, gutter, sidewalk (both sides), turn lane, bridge replacement, upgrade to the Smith-Gilbert Garden entrance (accel/decel lanes, stormwater improvements, new exit) and an intersection upgrade & signal at Shilling/Ellis Road. Cost would be $6.49 million.
  • Update Cobb International Blvd. to industrial standards. Cost would be $1.5 million.
  • Upgrade sidewalks to ADA standards; upgrade signage; improve street bike routes at a cost of $535,353.
  • Widen the road at Collins and Stanley and add drainage improvements and sidewalks to both sides at a cost of $1,15 million
  • Resurface various streets at a cost of $413,650.
  • Intersection and drainage improvements at the intersection of McCollum Pkwy and Cherokee Street at a cost of $388,000.
  • Infrastructure improvements including upgrading storm drains, culverts, sidewalks and curbs throughout the city and upgrading ramps to ADA standards at a cost of $1.1 million.
  • Intersection improvements to Cherokee Street including 10 side streets at a cost of $5 million.

Parks

  • Regional concrete outdoor skating facility to include street skating and transition skating areas with multiple bowls. Proposed location is Swift-Cantrell Park at a cost of $750,000
  • Smith-Gilbert Gardens Event Building, multi-purpose facility to be used for weddings, receptions, meetings, parties, programs, and events at a cost of $1.8 million.
  • Depot Park Improvements including an amphitheater and large plaza
    for a cost of $2.1 million.
  • Swift-Cantrell Park parking improvements include parking, landscaping, irrigation, and maintenance building at a cost of $650,00.
  • Community Center Renovation including the refurbishing of existing classrooms, meeting rooms and dance rooms. Pottery space would be added also for a total cost of $226,999.
Debra Williams March 08, 2011 at 03:12 PM
Let's look at how these improvements and additions will benefit the city in the long run. The opportunity to complete these improvements increase the opportunities for income not only for Kennesaw for but our surrounding cities. Improving the streets will encourage citizens to come into the downtown area, eat and play. The new skate park opens itself up to partnering with professional skateboarders to bring competitions into Kennesaw which will also bring in money for the hotels, restaurants, and shopping. A facility a Smith-Gilbert Gardens will offer additional opportunities for weddings in the fall and winter - again, increase in revenue. An amphitheater will allow citizens a venue to gather with family and friends for entertainment that otherwise would not be affordable to enjoy. I do not understand why people are viewing this as only spending and not looking at how these improvements can increase revenue and help build our area to be more attractive to visitors (who do spend money!) Take a trip to some of these similarly small cities as ours and look at how desolate they have become - a ghost town. I know, I've lived in these cities and know that had they had the vision to develop a SPLOST maybe they would still have businesses, jobs, and people moving in and living there. Vote yes for the greater good, for improvements that encourage revenue, for the future enjoyment for your families, and safer travels on the roads.

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