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02 Rotary 4 19 2016x600Mr. Brian Stover, Paulding Rotary president, brought the meeting to order by addressing the floor with current issues and projects. As updates were accomplished the floor was then handed over to Rotary member Tim Lee. Mr. Lee introduced our guest speaker, Paulding DOT Director Scott Greene.
Mr. Greene came to the podium and expressed gratitude for the opportunity to return. Mr. Greene had previously given an address the Rotary club a year and a half ago and seemed more than happy to do so again. He began by outlining that this will be more of a update of what's going on at the DOT, as opposed to specifying a lot about specific projects. Also Mr. Greene asked that any member who had a question to please chime in. Mr. Greene expressed his appreciation for an interactive meeting.
Paulding County is a growing County and the infrastructure should be provided and guided through good planning. The update effort for the next County Comprehensive plan held its kickoff March 15th in Dallas with a stakeholder meeting at the Civic Center. Mr. Greene encouraged the members to participate in future public meetings because planning for growth is key to the future of how Paulding County enables itself to continue in sustaining that growth. Mr. Greene explained many projects are proposed in Paulding County's future plans, including public safety, transportation and recreation projects. Also, many of you know, the Richland Creek Reservoir will allow Paulding County to supply the growing demand for water without relying on water from others. As we heard at the last meeting, this project is in the early construction phase and should be completed by 2019. Future land use guided by the comprehensive plan, supported with utilities and highway systems will together provide the framework for the Paulding County of the future.
east hiram400Mr. Greene covered many of the completed projects and the various ways they were funded, such as the Seven Hills Connector, Ridge Road at Dallas-Nebo Road/Bakers Bridge Rd., Macland at Poplar Springs Road, Old Stilesboro Road at Highway 92, Ridge Road/Mulberry Rock Road at Highway 61, and Nebo Road at Dallas Nebo Road have all provided much-needed access and congestion relief. These projects were planned, designed and implemented by Paulding County using funds from the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST). In addition, some projects were completed through partnerships with Georgia DOT using federal or state fuel tax revenue for portions of the work. In order to secure the commitments, Paulding County typically used its resources in the planning, design and right of way acquisition, followed by State or Federal money for the implementation and construction. The percentage of County money versus outside resources has varied from project to project. This relationship has allowed Paulding County to accelerate many projects while maintaining most of the control and direction as we ourselves understand the needs of our own community best.
Mr. Greene was honest and fair in his assessment of the Paulding County DOT's results in that we are not doing enough to keep up with the infrastructure and safety needs but was proud of what has been accomplished. He mentioned the value of new connectors to provide options such as the East Hiram Pkwy (Bill Carruth Pkwy), which upon opening in February 2014, immediately saw 10,000 cars per day. Traffic has now increased to 12,000. The success only highlights the need for more areas that require congestion relief such as the North Paulding area. Also Mr. Greene's assessment did not exclude other, older, rural roads also need of improvement. Additionally, the necessities of maintenance for subdivisions and other responsibilities like stormwater have suffered. In the absence of adequate resources to preserve what we have, maintenance will turn to a more costly repair oriented approach in the future. These decisions were not made lightly and highlight the need for continued effort to attract businesses and other tax revenue opportunities needed to fund the growth of this county. The SPLOST is part of the upcoming election and as you all know the money to maintain and grow has to come from somewhere. While no time was spent evangelizing this tax, the need was underscored by the responsibilities facing the county.seven hills 600
Mr. Greene answered many questions from the floor with regards to specific areas around the county. Ultimately he encouraged everyone to participate as much as possible, with emphasis on participating in the Comprehensive Plan meetings, because this will lead to decisions on how our highway corridors will look, what density of housing will be allowed, and where our new retail and commercial centers will be located. Mr. Greene also asked many questions in the interest of gaining insight into the upcoming needs of the community. The decision is on us, as a community, to decide what the future face of Paulding County will look like.