Chamber seeks planning insight through Cobb County road trip

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 1, 2006

More than 40 people from Shelby County &8212; including at least seven mayors and five county commissioners &8212; will meet at the County Services Building in Pelham next Thursday for a field trip to Cobb County, Ga.

The purpose of the excursion is to hear how the bustling county deals with development issues, balancing rapid growth with the need to provide services and quality of life concerns.

&8220;If you&8217;ve got somebody who&8217;s already been through something, its quite natural to ask them how they did it,&8221; said Karen Ream, president of the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce.

Cobb County, described in an invitation from the Greater Shelby County Chamber, is a &8220;conservative, Republican community facing many of the problems we are beginning to feel in Shelby County.&8221;

Included on the agenda for the one-day workshop are speakers from the Cobb DOT and county commission and panel discussions with elected officials.

Ream said Cobb County enacted a one-cent sales tax to fund capital improvement projects to combat infrastructure problems and &8220;horrendous&8221; traffic. The plan is voted on in eight-year terms.

&8220;They came up with a development plan, took the plan to the people and the people decided,&8221; Ream said. &8220;It&8217;s very citizen driven.&8221;

The Greater Shelby Chamber earlier this year launched an aggressive advertising campaign encouraging Shelby County&8217;s state legislators to address local traffic issues at the state level.

&8220;The people we talk to indicate that they are so sick of the traffic problems they want an opportunity to fix this ourselves,&8221; Ream said. &8220;They want a referendum.&8221;

A mix of representatives from the private and public sectors &8212; including State Sen. Jabo Waggoner &8212; will get the opportunity to hear first hand what Cobb County officials view as the good and bad associated with their plan on Aug. 10