Acworth reveals county building supply warehouse in case of second wave of COVID-19

Acworth City Hall in article about Baker Road annexationAcworth City Hall sign (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

In the first Acworth Board of Aldermen meeting back in council chambers Thursday evening, it was revealed that Cobb County is building a supply warehouse for items needed in the case of another public emergency.

Board members wore masks and sat with an empty seat between them to adhere to social distancing guidelines in the city’s first in-person meeting since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Acworth City Manager Brian Bulthuis announced that he and Chief of Police Wayne Dennard were on a call earlier that day with Cobb County officials.

Officials informed Bulthuis and Dennard that the county would be using money given to them through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to build a storage warehouse of supplies to be used in the case of a second wave of COVID-19 or any other public emergency.

“[The county] is going to have a 90-day supply on a myriad of items in case of another disaster,” Bulthuis said. “This is going to be things that all cities are going to be able to get in case there’s any problems … the idea is that we all will have the warehouse of where all the items are so if there’s a second wave of this or next year, there’s a tornado or something else, there’s going to be a warehouse full of supplies.”

Dennard said that it was disappointing to see that the city did not have a better stockpile of personal protective equipment, so seeing the county take this initiative is worthwhile. Bulthuis said he was pleased to see the county build the warehouse.

After the meeting, Dennard elaborated on the county’s plans. He said the warehouse will be in Austell and will house PPE and other items the county and cities think could be in short supply during another public emergency.

Dennard also said he believes cities will have to go through Cobb County’s Emergency Management Agency to receive needed supplies.

Cobb building this warehouse is much appreciated, Dennard said, as he again noted that Acworth was running low on PPE early on in the pandemic. The community worked together to provide the Acworth Police Department and each other with masks and other PPE.

“I don’t think anyone was prepared with the quantities of PPE for what came our way,” Dennard said. “I know from our own perspective as a police department, although we had some supplies of PPE for normal operations, we were not stocked up for long term need. … the county’s idea of creating our own local stock pile that is managed and maintained locally is a very good idea.”

Donations to the police department came from churches like Freedom Church and NorthStar Church — which both donated N95 and KN95 masks. Dennard said that records employees even created over 300 cloth masks for the department.

“Our city was very resilient,” Dennard said. “We are blessed with good leadership, good personnel, and great community partners, including the County and other cities. We quickly enacted protocols that kept our employees safe and our city function never lost a beat. Every critical service that is expected in regards to the functionality of the city remained intact.”

Arielle Robinson is a student at Kennesaw State University. She also freelances for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and is the former president of KSU’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists as well as a former CNN intern. She enjoys music, reading, and live shows.