Ward 4 Councilman Talks Concord Road, Atlanta Road at Meeting
About 20 people attended the Ward 4 town hall meeting Thursday.
Charles “Corkey” Welch, Councilman for Ward 4 in Smyrna, held what he hopes to be the first of many town hall meetings for people of his ward on Thursday night at City Hall. Around 20 people attended, airing some of their concerns, as well as hearing Welch’s report on some often discussed projects.
Welch opened the town hall by commenting on the 2013 budget. He said he had just recently seen the progress on the new budget and that he is looking forward to reviewing it further.
“From what I’ve seen so far we are in good shape as far as the city goes compared to many of our surrounding communities.”
One project on the minds of many in Smyrna, especially Ward 4, is the Concord Road widening project, which was discussed at length.
“That is the project that is going to effect us all more than anything over the next several years,” Welch said.
Welch explained that engineers are saying that the project will begin in September and that the plans are “solid.” The city, he said, is getting ready to obtain the last property to move forward on the north side. Remaining properties to the south are only partial takings, he said.
“For the most part the properties along the north side have been acquired. “We are now working on the south side.”
Two houses on Concord Road had been demolished this week to make way for construction, Welch said.
One resident from Laurel Hill town homes on Concord Road asked Welch if there was any plan to lower the speed limit of 45 mph on Concord Road to help cut down noise in the area. While the councilman said he did not know of any plan to change it, he did have a few choice words.
“Speed limits is a tough issue. Should it be 45 on Concord Road when its 45 on the East West Connector? That makes no sense to me but I don’t set the speed limits.”
The councilman also gave an update on the Atlanta Road median project, which he said is about 20-percent complete at this point. The median will run from Windy Hill to Paces Ferry, he said, and traffic engineers have told him it is being constructed mainly as a safety precaution. The medians, Welch was told, will help direct traffic flow better.
While the Spring Road pedestrian bridge is not in Ward 4, Welch chose to give an update on it based on overall interest among Smyrna residents. The bridge, Welch said, will be “set down” in one piece on May 5 and 6 between midnight and 3 a.m.
Welch concluded his report by offering a positive outlook for Smyrna, saying that new growth is coming to the city and will be reflected in the next meeting of the city council.
“As far as the agenda, we have more on the agenda than I’ve seen since I took office in January. “We are seeing things that are starting to pick up. Lets hope it stays that way for a long time to come.”
While attendees at the meeting seemed positive overall, they did have some questions and concerns of their own.
One resident asked Welch if there was any truth to the rumor that a Big Lots store might move into the old Kroger on S. Cobb Drive. The councilman said that while he has heard that rumor, at this point, it is only that. He said that while what goes into the old Kroger building is a critical issue, the lease isn’t up until October on that building and that a change isn’t expected until then.
Janet Calhoun, President of the Homeowners Association for Laurel Hill town homes said that 29 of the 45 town homes there are not addressed to the street that they face. This problem, she said, creates an issue when fire, police or EMS have to be called. Calhoun said she has had trouble getting traction on the issue with officials, even though she herself has had to call the police only to have them searching in vain.
“We’ve had problems. They can’t find us,” she said.
Welch said he had already addressed that issue with the council but that he would continue to pursue it.
While Welch made it clear that the happenings in Ward 4 are his priority, seeing Smyrna successful as a whole is his main goal.
“We are one city, we just happen to be seven wards that make up that one city,” he said.