Just days into his second term, Powder Springs Mayor Al Thurman presented his vision of the city to an over-capacity crowd at the South Cobb Business Association luncheon.
Under the theme of “Fireside Chat with South Cobb Mayors” at the luncheon held at Presbyterian Village, Thurman along with Austell Mayor Ollie Clemons Jr. served as the keynote speakers. Attendance was larger than expected, with organizers having to pull out additional tables and chairs.
“How do you keep a small-town feel but grow?” Thurman asked. “Quality development and listening to the citizens.”
Following its groundbreaking this past October, the $10 million Westside Woods Sports Complex is set to open in August along Hill Road, just off Highway 278/C.H. James Parkway. Thurman said the facility, which will offer year-round soccer, e-sports events and local programs, will anchor economic development along C.H. James and complement growth already underway on Richard D. Sailors Parkway.
Powder Springs’ new downtown park, meanwhile, is expected to be completed this spring in time for a mid-May grand opening, which Thurman said will revitalize the city center for visitors and residents alike.
Opportunities for Powder Springs residents to give their city their feedback have been ongoing and will continue. Thurman cited the city’s business surveys launched last spring by Powder Springs Economic Development in its efforts to retain existing businesses. As of Wednesday, 100 businesses have responded to the survey, with more than three-quarters of respondents giving the city an overall positive rating as a place to do business. So far, results show 28% giving Powder Springs the top rating of "excellent" and 51% the next highest rating of "good."
The year’s first quarterly town hall held later this month will highlight other ongoing efforts and developments within the city, and give residents the opportunity to ask city officials their questions. Powder Springs’ annual “State of the City” and budget kickoff meeting is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28, at the Ford Center.
As Thurman’s counterpart in neighboring Austell, Clemons said their two cities had long enjoyed a history of working together even prior to his election in November. Clemons is the city’s first new mayor in three decades, succeeding longtime mayor Joe Jerkins, but as councilman and mayor Pro-tem had previously served as acting mayor during Jerkins’ health issues.
He said his city is pursuing a potential multi-use sidewalk project with Powder Springs and Cobb County that would connect the two cities’ downtown areas as well as the Silver Comet Trail. Also being considered is a new recreation center, which Powder Springs and the county may also have a hand in developing and constructing, and ultimately giving more residents a new amenity to use.
“At the end of the day,” Clemons said, “we work better together.”