Roswell calls for support of federal funds for riverbank project, Doc’s Cafe restoration

Water from the Chattahoochee River flooded Riverside Park in Roswell in 2018. Roswell’s funding request includes $6.5 million for part of the city’s riverbank restoration project at the former Ace Sand Company site near St. Andrew Catholic Church on Riverside Road. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
Water from the Chattahoochee River flooded Riverside Park in Roswell in 2018. Roswell’s funding request includes $6.5 million for part of the city’s riverbank restoration project at the former Ace Sand Company site near St. Andrew Catholic Church on Riverside Road. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Roswell is seeking more than $7 million in federal funds for two projects and is asking the public to help by providing written support of the plans.

The city is seeking federal money to transform the former Ace Sand Company site along the Chattahoochee River into a riverside recreation space and to restore the historic Doc’s Café building and create a preservation site.

The city is asking citizens to show their support by completing an online form through Congresswoman Lucy McBath’s office. The online portal is open through April 18. The form asks for citizens’ name, address and a statement about the projects.

McBath would request the monies from the Community Funding Project, according to her website. The initiative was approved by the House Appropriations Committee earlier this year. Funding from the project is available to state and local governments and some nonprofits, and community support is a factor in selection.

The two local projects were selected by Roswell’s Recreation, Parks, Historic and Cultural Affairs Department.

Roswell’s funding request includes $6.5 million for part of the city’s riverbank restoration project at the former Ace Sand Company site near St. Andrew Catholic Church on Riverside Road. The location is one of several in its Roswell River Parks Master Plan, which calls for development of city parks along the Chattahoochee River.

A breakdown of costs at the Ace Sand site was provided by Roswell and shows the funds would pay for project work along the riverbank, native planting, building a children’s educational stormwater garden, a fitness trail loop with exercise equipment, parking, a picnic pavilion, restroom and more.

The funding request includes $800,000 for the restoration of Doc’s Café. The former restaurant near Oxbo Road was a social gathering place for Black residents during segregation. Roswell plans to make Doc’s Cafe a historic preservation site for local African American heritage with developed park space and a draw for tourism. The center would also have exhibits and educational programs, a Roswell statement said.

A February statement from House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said the committee would accept 10 community project requests from each House member, but a relatively small number would be funded.

“Our bipartisan reforms will produce a small number of projects with strong community support, a transparent process where no member’s family can benefit and where projects are audited to ensure money was spent as planned,” DeLauro said in February.

In Other News