Roswell’s $50 million project could get citizen oversight

Roswell residents could soon have more say in a nearly $50 million project that has struggled to win citizen’s favor over the past decade.

City officials are considering forming a new citizen advisory committee for the Atlanta Street Historic Gateway.
The gateway project involves construction to widen Atlanta Street to four lanes with roundabouts and more than 200 trees. The work is not scheduled to start until 2023 but plans have upset some business owners and residents since the Historic Gateway plan was first proposed in the early 2010s.

The road widening requires businesses to lose some of their property through right-of-way acquisition by the Georgia Department of Transportation. The state department is funding 80% of the project.

Councilwoman Christine Hall said during a transportation committee meeting on June 24 that public input will bring transparency to the project as it moves forward. She is drafting a plan that suggests the scope of the advisory group’s duties.

Councilman Mike Palermo said members of the community wanted to meet with city officials on the project last year and in 2018 but their requests were denied. That fostered distrust, he said.

Director of Transportation Muhummad Rauf met with residents twice in 2020 before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, he said. Concepts for the gateway’s roundabouts and multi-use trails were developed with the help of a citizen advisory committee in 2011 and 2012, he added.

During the transportation meeting in June, Rauf advised Mayor Lori Henry and City Council members to limit the feedback from the potential new citizen advisory committee to visual enhancements that would help beautify such things as lighting and sidewalks along the corridor. The project design was approved in 2012 and work since that time has been done based on the design.

Council members will review a draft of how the advisory group will be structured during a transportation meeting on July 29.