Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Cobb Opinions: $40 million for parkland?

By David Lariscy, David Musser, Patty Mulholley, Larry Ceminsky, Shirley Devries, Chris Dusack, D.A. King, Tom Crawford, Carolyn Debavadi
For the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 10/26/06

Cobb voters will decide in November if the county should issue bonds to generate $40 million to purchase parkland. Commission Chairman Sam Olens said the commission has not decided what property the county might buy, but he said the land predominantly would hold passive parks for nature walks, not ball fields.

Olens said open land ranges in price from $100,000 an acre to more than $300,000. That means the money could buy anywhere from 133 to 400 acres. Olens said he also envisions "pocket parks" in areas that might include east Cobb, Vinings and Oakdale. Do you plan to vote yes or no?


A vote yes will ensure parkland for Cobb's future generations.

It is imperative that the county preserve a portion of the remaining green space for parkland. It is estimated that only 10 percent, or 220,000 acres, of Cobb County are undeveloped.

With so little green space left, it would be a great benefit to future generations to have more parkland.

Shall we allow developers to cut down the trees, build mega-houses and increase demands on the infrastructure?

I say forbid it by voting for the proposed bond issue.



Added green space will help current residents' quality of life.

I will vote yes for the bond issue to purchase parkland in Cobb County.

The added green space would be good for residents' quality of life, would help property values and would help alleviate flooding. Property is only going to get more expensive, so this should be done as soon as possible.

If land is not set aside for parks, it will be developed, which would most likely add to traffic problems, crowded schools and environmental problems such as flooding.



Lack of information on land to be bought could be scary.

How in the world can you vote on whether to allow the county to issue bonds for $40 million when they are not telling you what and where the land is?

This could be a scary.




Not specifying land keeps costs low; parks lure employers.

When we consider the trade-offs between quality of life and our governmental taxation and spending, there is very strong incentive to vote yes on the bond referendum.

Recent studies indicate that undeveloped property is being developed at the rate of 6-plus acres every day in metro Atlanta. That is more than 2,200 acres of green space developed into residential and commercial developments. That is 2,200 acres that would not be a walking trail, a wildlife preserve, a place for grandchildren to play, or a passive park for our golden years.

Approving the ballot question means that we would give the county the authority to issue 10-year bonded debt of $40 million to acquire land for public parks. These new bonds would be paid for from tax dollars currently being used to retire previous debt and from growth of the Cobb County tax base, NOT from a new additional tax.

Because advance expressed interest in acquiring specific property can inflate asking prices, it is not prudent to identify specific land tracts beforehand. It is part of the plan to acquire property for passive use and for land banking. This plan does not require structures and development for sports activities.

Yes, as land is acquired by the county, it is taken off the tax rolls. But those tax collections are quickly replaced by adjacent rising property values and other developments. Top-of-the-line-employers choose to relocate to Cobb County for the quality of life that our community offers for families. These companies create jobs, new homeowners and taxpayers.

We must protect green space now for the future enjoyment by our grandchildren and their children. A small, wise investment today keeps from becoming a major expense tomorrow.

Please join me in voting YES.



The more green space, the less pavement to cause flooding.

The more land we dedicate to building parks, the less construction and paving will be done.

Areas are being flooded because there is no place for the rain to go. Destroying forests destroys natural habitat for wildlife.



Bonds a cheap way to buy land that will only appreciate.

Cobb County voters should vote in favor of the park bonds. Price appreciation rates for Cobb land is higher than prevailing bond rates. In other words, we can borrow money cheap to buy assets that appreciate.

There are not many large pockets of land left in Cobb.

The medium-sized pockets are being assembled and turned into high-density communities. If the county does not do this now, it might not have the chance in the future.

I see more and more residential and retail [development], but few, if any, new parks. As Cobb continues to grow, residents will require more park space.

Smaller "pocket parks" would increase property values, reduce traffic to larger parks, and promote a better sense of community.

Oh, and this [the bond issue] won't increase taxes. Sounds like a win-win to me.



Time is running out to ensure luxury of having parks in future.

There are still a few areas that do not have strip malls, divided highways and traffic jams. If we don't buy some of these green areas, our children will never see what we do today.

With the U.S at 300 million people and going on half a billion at mid-century, $40 million for park land today will provide the ultimate luxury 20 years from now.

Yes to more parks and nature walks in Cobb.

While we still can.

D.A. KING, Marietta


A no vote is appealing because ballot resembles a blank check.

I am leaning towards a NO vote for the park bond, not because I'm against parks but for the following reasons:

1. County does not specify on the ballot the type of park (More soccer fields?).

2. County does not indicate where the parks would be or how many.

3. County does not say how park development from raw land would be paid for (Afraid to tell us?).

4. County states park bonds are free because other bonds are being paid off (not so, a loss of a tax cut is the same as a tax hike).

Blank checks to politicians should not be an option, re: laptop computers.



Increasing land values support argument for buying it now.

I plan to vote YES. I am 72 years old and have lived in west Marietta since 1966. I have witnessed accelerated growth and development which have taken so much of our green space.

I am for intelligent growth. There is a lot of unnecessary clear cutting that takes too many trees. Unfortunately, the wording on the ballot does not make clear that the passage of this issue would not result in more taxes.

Land values are increasing rapidly. Now is the time to provide money to save green space.



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