It's hard to believe that it's been almost 20 years since Powder Springs embarked on its Community Enhancement Master Plan (CEMP).
Created in 1996 under the leadership of former Mayor Richard D. Sailors, the CEMP outlined a series of proposed projects, funded through a combination of federal dollars and matching funds from the city.
The projects included bike and walking trails, streetscapes enhancement, sidewalks, transportation improvements and recreational development to name a few. The overriding goal of this plan was to reinforce the sense of community and special "small-town feel" through a linkage of existing neighborhoods, schools, parks and commercial centers, with downtown Powder Springs being the heart of the community.
Subsequent mayors and councils have continuously worked to implement the CEMP; former Mayor Bad Hulsey, current Mayor Pat Vaughn and their respective councils have ensured inclusion of the CEMP in federal transportation enhancement grants and SPLOST programs.
Projects that have been completed since the inception of the CEMP are the Wildhorse and Lucille Creek trails, a city-wide streetscape project where a network of sidewalks and landscaping were created, the Atlanta and Dillard street improvement projects, city gateways, Lewis Road and the Marietta Street project.
These completed project demonstrate the city's commitment to implementation of the CEMP. Part of the CEMP included the Linear Park Project (LPP), which was mentioned in the West Cobb Patch on Thursday. Below is a brief historical background on the project.
As mentioned, the LPP is part of the Community Enhancement Master Plan. The purpose of the LLP is to develop a 35-acre recreational facility between the Silver Comet Trail and Richard D. Sailors Parkway.
To come up with a concept for the park, an advisory and steering committee, led by Powder Springs Community Development Director Pam Connor, was created. It included several citizens, intergovernmental departments and members from several Powder Springs volunteer boards—Keep Powder Springs Beautiful Committee, Downtown Development Authority, Planning and Zoning and others.
While the advisory boards and steering committees have not met in several years, now would be a good time for all citizens to become acquainted to this worthwhile project.
Starting in early 2001, the initial conceptual master plan for the Linear Park Project was presented to the various committees. The presentation included design elements made up of stream and wetland restorations, natural areas with boardwalks and learning areas, playgrounds, and restrooms.
Other proposals included an open-air amphitheater made up of grass seating, an outdoor bouldering (rock climbing) area, water fountain feature and a plaza for food and special event vendors.
The citizens group provided feedback on the proposed elements and recommended additional features: a dog park, skate board and in-line skate park, and connections to the park from surrounding neighborhoods.
While some of the above suggestions are not etched in stone, they do represent a great starting point for this project. Have ideas on how to improve the project? Contact your council representatives and let them know what you would like to see included (or removed) from the Linear Park Project.
Finally, it’s important to point out that the overlying beauty of the CEMP was that it relied heavily on input from the citizens of Powder Springs. During the development of the CEMP, the city held at least a half dozen or so informational public meetings so that city officials could gather citizen input on improvements they would like to see in their city.
Most, if not all of the improvements you now see in the city are a direct result of this important partnership between citizens and community leaders. As someone who participated in many of the CEMP community meetings and advisory boards, it is incredibly exciting and rewarding to see the results of the combined efforts of citizens and community leaders.
This unique partnership has added tremendous value to the livability standards of Powder Springs. The addition of the Linear Park will certainly be another worthwhile addition to our growing cache of public amenities.
—Stan Kaady, Powder Springs