Revitalization and scenic change is on its way in South Cobb. Last week, the Cobb Board of Commissioners (BOC) voted 4 to 1 in favor of creating a new tax district in South Cobb. The new Six Flags Special Services District will tax commercial property owners an additional 3.5 mills on their property taxes beginning next year to revive the district. This public-private partnership plans to bolster growth and improve a blighted area known for a high crime rate. The property tax revenue will be used to improve interchanges and streetscapes, providing picturesque gateways into the area. The passage of this proposal is a major milestone for economic development of South Cobb.
According to the Marietta Daily Journal, Dana Johnson, Cobb’s deputy director of community development, said the increased tax will be levied on 237 properties, including Six Flags Over Georgia and is expected to bring in $660,000 annually.
Earlier this year, July 22, 2014, the Council for Quality Growth testified before the Cobb BOC in support of creating a tax district for South Cobb. The Council is pleased to see the BOC pass the proposal, which not only allows for the necessary growth in South Cobb, but for the county as a whole.
You may recall, in September the Council for Quality Growth hosted the South Cobb Developers Opportunities Lunch at the Epicenter. Speakers and panel members included Governor Roy Barnes; Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee; Cobb County District 4 Commissioner Lisa Cupid; South Cobb Redevelopment Authority Chair Ed Richardson; Cobb County Community Development Deputy Director Dana Johnson; Cobb County Schools Chief Leadership and Learning Officer Grant Rivera; Six Flags Director of Marketing Linda Jensen; Lynwood Development President Woody Snell; and Ali Katoot from MK Industries.
Michael Paris, President and CEO for the Council for Quality Growth, introduced Commission Chairman Tim Lee, who spoke about the opportunities that South Cobb has based on its location and prospects for economic growth. Chairman Lee expressed his support for redevelopment in South Cobb. Commissioner Lisa Cupid expounded on this theme, expressing that Cobb is closer to Downtown, Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, and the highway system than many parts of in-town Atlanta. South Cobb is seen as a logistically attractive option because of this prime location, as well as its affordable cost of living and its diverse population. Developers and businesses are beginning to see this and are investing in South Cobb’s infrastructure, with road improvements and opportunity zones being created for business, residential, and civic projects. Cupid also spoke about the attraction that Six Flags offers for tourists, as well as investors, in South Cobb as it continues to grow, referencing the proposed Special Service District (see below).
South Cobb Redevelopment Authority Vice-Chair Doug Stoner introduced Governor Roy Barnes, who expressed his interest in South Cobb as a huge redevelopment opportunity. South Cobb has great potential because of its location, but also is showing great economic potential as it continues to grow and attract young families and children. He spoke about South Cobb being in a unique position because of the willingness of the private sector to provide resources for redevelopment in conjunction with a County Commission that is willing to invest in the county’s infrastructure. “When making money intersects with great public policy, that is a powerful force,” said Barnes. Barnes encouraged the continued support and investment in South Cobb.
South Cobb Redevelopment Authority Chairman Ed Richardson spoke briefly about how South Cobb has many ingredients for success – it just doesn’t realize it. Richardson then introduced Reverend Christopher Boyd, Executive Pastor at the Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral, the church organization responsible for the construction of the Epicenter. Boyd spoke about the great asset the Epicenter has become for the community, averaging over 50 events per month since its opening this past January. The Epicenter, a $35 million investment in South Cobb, provides almost 113,000 square feet of space, including professional and social meeting spaces, as well as opportunities for food, fitness, and fun for people of all ages.
A panel, moderated by Cobb County Community Development Deputy Director Dana Johnson, consisted of Cobb County Chief Leadership and Learning Officer Grant Rivera; Six Flags Director of Marketing Linda Jensen; Lynwood Development President Woody Snell; and Ali Katoot from MK Industries. The discussion ranged from opportunities arising from redevelopment, including the pros and cons of doing so in South Cobb; how to turn education of the youth and of the community into valuable assets; as well as using Six Flags as a solid economic anchor for the area.
The size and development diversity of the crowd was a positive sign that development in South Cobb continues to expand and grow. The Council for Quality Growth thanks all who participated and will continue to support economic growth and development within the region.
The South Cobb Developers Opportunity Lunch was a precursor to rebuilding Cobb’s Future.
To view an overview of the South Cobb Redevelopment Authority, click HERE.
To see a fact sheet about the South Cobb Redevelopment Authority and to see the boundary map, click HERE.
To view the proposed Six Flags Special Service District, click HERE.
To review an inventory of redevelopment sites that are available in South Cobb, click HERE.