At Issue: Should Cobb pay for Braves stadium before buying park land?

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At Issue: Should Cobb pay for Braves stadium before buying park land?

LAST WEEK: SHOULD PARKATLANTA BE REPLACED?

Mayor Kasim Reed has said on many ocassions that if PARKAtlanta isn’t doing a satisfactory job, he will look to replace the company at the end of its contract. The union has been highly controversial since 2009 when Mayor Shirley Franklin’s administration struck the deal. Residents have complained about being unfairly targeted, over-zealous enforcement and being unable to appeal tickets.

But Reed has said he doesn’t want to have uniformed officers writing parking tickets. He’d rather they work to curb crime. So is the solution keep PARKAtlanta, go with another company, use uniformed officers, a combination of officers and civilians or something else?

Here’s what some readers had to say:

With just a little bit tweaking, a parking enforcement company could be good thing. I want police doing the heavy lifting. That’s why they used to have ‘meter maids’ back in day. And when a bunch of these in-city residents (and I live intown) [complain] about Park Atlanta, what they are really saying is I want people to get tickets, just not me. —Bill Jones

The only issue with Park Atlanta is for those who park illegally. I live at 20 Marietta St. and the unloading zone in front of the building is considered by some to be their personal parking space. Park Atlanta in doing its job, is constantly berated for ticketing those special people who deserve rock star parking at the front door. Their only other issue is they expect people to pay their fines. That six million you reported I assume is not all profit. They are a business. Let them bid again. — John Mount

Park Atlanta like many companies, came into Atlanta for one reason to grab buckets of money and give no regards to the residents of this city. This was evident with the astronomical tickets the agents wrote, even when there was still time on some meters. They should definitely be replaced. — Pam Grant

As of yesterday, when I was ticketed even though I was legally parked, I am of the opinion that Atlanta can do better than PARKAtlanta.

I went online to appeal. The directions say I am allowed only one attachment. They state that I should attach a copy of the ticket. That should not be necessary since I included the citation number. Instead I attached a picture.This system is unwieldy, unfair, and rigged. I vote for a different system. — Jane Saral

My vote is for keeping PARKatlanta. Yes there were complaints in the beginning, but now there is a great deal of parking signage, instructions, hours fee for parking, etc. There is also the Parkmobile app for Smartphone’s that allows direct entry into the app of the parking space number, time to park, etc. or one can use the scan of the QRC on each parking pay station. Also the app reminds one that the time is about to expire and allows one to extend the time remotely. If there are administrative issues, work those out don’t change the vendor. A new parking vendor will only create the same havoc that occurred when PARKatlanta took over from the Atlanta Police Department. I whole heartedly agree that polices officers should concentrate on public safety and not parking meter violations. It works in many other major cities why should Atlanta be any different? — Bill Balzer

I live in Brookwood Hills and these people are constantly canvassing our neighborhood to harass us! I live deep in the neighborhood (not close to Peachtree Street). My handyman was ticketed the other day for facing the wrong direction on the street. He was loading some stuff from my house that required him to face in this direction, and he was parked in front of my home. This also happened to my mother in front of my home. I hope the mayor fires these people. All they do is harass us. — Kimberly S. Tribble

My only experience with them was dishonest and deceitful to the point of fraud! My son and I never received any type of ticket on his car when we went shopping in Little Five Points, yet he received a notice in the mail AFTER his initial payment period had passed and then told to pay within 14 days of the original ticket, which he never received on his windshield, PLUS their late fee (total ticket fee was $70!) or I would be charged $90! — Greg Greene, on behalf of my son, Christopher Greene’s parking ticket.

— Dionne Kinch

Representatives of the Cobb Parks Coalition have appealed to the Cobb County Board of Commissioners at every meeting for many months to fully fund the $40 million 2008 parks bond approved by 65 percent of the voters.

However, after being told the funds would not be available to buy the park land because of the Great Recession and a tax increase, county officials say only $20 million will be available to buy park land.

Many of those public speakers at the commissioners’ meetings have wondered why the full amount could not be made available through the debt service fund, requiring no tax increase, since the commissioners were able to fund nearly $400 million for the Atlanta Braves to move to Cobb.

The county would need to buy 8,000 acres of park land to meet its Cobb Comprehensive Plan 2030 goal and attempt to meet the national standard of 10 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents. Many residents said they want the property tax approved for Park Bond 2008 to be used first before transferring funds for the 30-year Braves stadium bond.

Commission Chairman Tim Lee has said a tax increase would now be needed to pay for the $40 million Park Bond 2008.

Lee, who is facing a runoff on July 26 with retired Mike Boyce for chairman, has reorganized a citizens committee to review and recommend available parkland with an October deadline.

Again, parks advocates have requested this process be streamlined by buying the properties already approved for purchase eight years ago before they are lost to developers. To date, there has been no response from the commissioners.

Should the Park Bond 2008 referendum be honored with full funding of the $40 million? Or should the Braves funding come first with maybe half or no funding for additional parks in Cobb? Send your comments to communitynews@ajc.com.

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