Plans of corridor improvements and construction leading to Carrollton’s Adamson Square were revealed to UWG faculty and staff members, but renovation on Maple Street will not take place until the construction project in Bankhead Highway is completed, according to Carrollton City officials.
The beautification plans for the city of Carrollton will focus on four specific corridors. Bankhead Highway represents the first corridor, from Cedar St to the bypass intersection, and Phase 1 -from Cedar St to the KFC- has already started. Phase 1 is expected to finish in the next 12 months, but it is not guaranteed.
Part of the process to embellish Bankhead started with changes in ordinances and implementation of new policies and procedures for private business investors to follow when building or remodeling. The changes would allow private investments to help further the process to completion.
The improvement projects were presented on Tuesday, Sep. 24, by Met Lane, city councilmember, and Erica Studdard, Community Development Director during the first Community Connections Forum hosted by the UWG Office of Community Engagement, in the Campus Center Ballrooms.
During the presentation, the community leaders said the next three targeted corridors are Maple Street corridor, Alabama Street corridor, and the Highway 27 corridor.
Improvement in these corridors may only start after Phase 1 is complete, but since no specific order was decided, it is not confirmed that the Maple street corridor will be the next in line for renovation.
Even changes in ordinances, policy, and procedures, as done for Bankhead, are not currently planned for discussion at city council meetings.
“I devoted everything to Bankhead,” said Lane, who ran unopposed for the Ward 4 Council Seat in November 2015, and whose term is coming to an end. With only two more meetings left and the end of his tenure as a councilmember on Dec. 3, the future of Maple Street is no longer in his power.
“We were trying to get the university plugged in,” said Lane. “…They’re the players here, why would we want to do something without them.” Discussion for improvement in Maple Street had started with former UWG President Kyle Marrero, but the process got delayed due to his departure.
One may find this situation disappointing as Maple Street is the main artery for more than 13,000 students and nearly 1,200 faculty and staff in getting to the West, East and Main Entrance of campus. Moreover, it is the only route to the Square and restaurants such as Waffle House, American Pie Pizzeria, and The Border. With businesses such as Club fitness, Bank of America, and Goodyear Auto Service, Maple Street plays a crucial part in the living experience of the students, faculty, and staff members.
Immediate renovations on the Maple street corridor would provide safer and more convenient conditions for the student, with fewer risks for incidents.
Alongside Tanner Hospital and Southwire, UWG is a major contributor and collaborator to the economic growth in the region. According to a report released by the University System of Georgia on the economic impact on communities across Georgia, the university contributes $604 million to the local economy.
(Further information is available on the official website of the University System of Georgia: https://www.usg.edu/news/release/university_system_of_georgia_increases_statewide_economic_impact_to_17.7_bi)
The same report states that 17,973 jobs exist due to spending related to UWG. As a result, improvements on Maple Street should be a priority to the council members, especially to the council members in charge of the wards where the campus is located.
The city of Carrollton is made up of 4 wards, with each ward run by a Councilmember. UWG and parts of Maple Street are located in Ward 1, represented by Councilmember Gerald Byrd and Ward 4, which will be under new representation after the election in November.
To begin discussing changes and improvements for Maple Street, at least two council members would have to add it to the agenda during the next council meeting.
Other Community Connections forums will take place twice a semester in the future to provide faculty and staff members with information on Carrollton and other surrounding communities.
Alma Beavuis is News Director for The WOLF Internet Radio.