South Cobb County appears to be making strides toward rebranding and redevelopment in 2014. This action to begin the transformation of this region – much needed in South Cobb County as it is known for its struggling properties and high crime – is being fueled by residents, elected officials and the business community working together to ensure that 2014 is a year for change.
These rebranding and redevelopment efforts include several distinct actions. For one thing, the County is considering the renaming of six roads surrounding Six Flags over Georgia in order to reduce confusion; currently, three of these six streets contain the name “Six Flags” in their title. The County held a public meeting in January to gain citizen feedback on these proposed changes. The South Cobb Redevelopment Authority will provide their feedback on March 17th at a 9:00 a.m. meeting; the Board of Commissioners will vote on the proposed names changes on March 25th at a 7:00 p.m. meeting.
A second area of focus in these redevelopment efforts is the upgrading of residential developments in South Cobb. Council Sustaining Member H.J. Russell is planning to purchase three apartment communities, and there are also six new planned residential developments that will span 325 acres in the area around Six Flags.
The Board of Commissioners has also approved changes to diminish big box retailers in South Cobb County in favor of development that more closely resembles a neighborhood community feel. The Cobb County Board of Commissioners approved the 2014 Comprehensive Plan in January; a large portion of this plan rezoned parcels of land on the future land use map in South Cobb from being designated for community action centers to neighborhood activity centers. This shift is important, as the former designation allows for the development of big box retailers like Home Depot or Staples, while the neighborhood activity center designation limits the number of permitted commercial uses for the parcels, but allows for the development of small offices, grocery stores and limited retail.
In an interview with the Marietta Daily Journal County Commissioner Lisa Cupid, the representative for southwest Cobb, commented on the Commission’s rezoning decision and its implications for South Cobb County:
“The Neighborhood Activity Center category would be more appropriate in density and scale…One thing we want to do is make sure this area [referring to South Cobb] looks more like a neighborhood and not a thoroughfare.”
Finally, certain South Cobb communities are striving to shift from what Commissioner Cupid calls “bedroom communities” – where people live, but do not work or participate in recreational activity – towards communities that are more mixed-use and pedestrian-friendly. An example is Mableton, an unincorporated area of South Cobb. In 2011, the County Commission created the Mableton Town Center, a redevelopment district including more than 477 acres. Propelled by resident’s energy and the work of a nonprofit called the Mableton Improvement Coalition, a revitalization plan has been formulated for the district to create a more livable, walkable mixed-use community. Although Mableton is unincorporated and has no city government to establish a development plan, the community has enjoyed support from the county government in drafting the redevelopment plan.
The Council for Quality Growth is a strong supporter and partner with Cobb County in its redevelopment efforts. The Council co-hosted the first Cobb Redevelopment Forum with Cobb’s Competitive EDGE and Revitalize Marietta, where a discussion panel focused on redevelopment efforts in South Cobb. South Cobb is also being considered as a location for this year’s Cobb Redevelopment Forum. Finally, the South Cobb Redevelopment Authority is sponsoring the Council’s March 22nd Cobb Advisory Committee – just days after providing their recommendation on the proposed street changes around Six Flags Over Georgia. The Council will continue to monitor and offer support to redevelopment efforts in South Cobb County and throughout the Metro Region.
To read about these changes from the Cobb County Redevelopment Agency, click HERE.
To read the Marietta Daily Journal’s coverage of this story, clickHERE.