The transformation of Franklin Road redevelopment is in the first stage. Beth Sessoms, City of Marietta’s Director of Economic Development, told the Council for Quality Growth, “The Mayor and City Council has begun exploring changing the name of Franklin Road. It is possible a decision can be made by the middle of next year after meeting with other stakeholders, including the Gateway Marietta CID.”
This may seem like an insignificant move but rebranding an area with a history of underperformance is a significant action. In November of 2013, the citizens of Marietta, tired of seeing investment and economic development go elsewhere, passed a $68 million General Obligation Bond to fund projects in two main areas:
- $64 million will be designated to redevelop the Franklin Road corridor.
- $4 million will go towards the improvement and beautification of Whitlock Avenue.
The investment on Franklin Road is crucial to Marietta’s continued development. The high crime rate on Franklin Road has made the area unattractive to developers and employers, thus reducing the number of jobs in the area. The Gateway Marietta CID was a key component in helping generate revenue to partner with the city to leverage money for the redevelopment bond.
The Franklin Road corridor is a prime location, located off I-75, the corridor is a premier opportunity for attracting new businesses, not to mention the new Braves Stadium, SunTrust Park is in close proximity. Redevelopment efforts can potentially improve the area’s schools and create a safer environment for residents. Hopefully, a domino effect will occur by surrounding businesses, such as hotels and restaurants, benefit from the revitalization efforts.
Removing the negative connotation Franklin Road emanates could be the first stage of many noteworthy achievements. The Council was in favor of the redevelopment bond, and now is in favor of a possible name change. The efforts of public-private partnerships are close to being realized.