Residents in Marietta attended a Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday in support of a referendum that would authorize the county to issue $40 million in bonds for parks.
About half a dozen supporters of the referendum attended the meeting and made their case for more greenspace, according to an article in the Marietta Daily Journal.
This is not the first time supporters of the 2008 referendum have spoken out. The advocates are part of a group called the Cobb Parks Coalition – a team of volunteers from around the county who desire the board follow through on voters’ wishes.
“Those bonds were never issued by then-County Chairman Sam Olens and later by Chairman Tim Lee, who both said they would not issue the bonds if it required a tax hike,” the article reads.
The issue became popular again in 2015 after the economy showed signs of recovery, the MDJ reports. Lee proposed the recreation board review the referendum and compile a list of potential properties to be purchased with the yet-to-be-issued parks bonds.
According to the article, the board unanimously approved the bond proposal, but the chairman and county finance director said they cannot issue bonds worth the full amount and another funding source has not been identified.
Advocates of the referendum expressed their concerns during the public comment portion of the meeting on Tuesday, many of them saying if the county can afford to build a new Atlanta Braves stadium, which required $400 million in issued bonds – then the county should be able to find money for parks.
Lee reportedly spoke to the MDJ after the meeting. He said he was serious about acquiring more parkland, but has not yet discussed alternative funding options with the finance director. Lee said they would look into that when the county prepares its budget this summer.
The Parks and Recreation Department is soliciting proposals for potential greenspace until April 15 through the county website, by mail or at one of several scheduled public input meetings, according to the article.
The next meeting is scheduled for March 17 at the South Cobb Community Center.