Kennesaw comprehensive plan and street lighting project move forward

Brick Kennesaw government building with four tall wooden columns

By Rebecca Gaunt

Kennesaw City Council received a report on the city’s strengths and weaknesses, as shared by members of the community, at Monday’s second hearing for the 2022 updated comprehensive plan.

Albert Treviño, Kennesaw’s assistant zoning administrator, is in charge of the project that will shape Kennesaw’s growth for the next 20 to 25 years. Keri Stevens of the Atlanta Regional Commission is in charge of updating Kennesaw’s vision and goals, as well as the land use, transportation, housing, and economic development elements.

Community input was gathered through online surveys, by setting up tables at public events and at community meetings. 36 people gave feedback at the in-person events and 312 people responded to the online survey, which can be found here.

Treviño shared some of the key takeaways with Mayor Derek Easterling and council members.

“Residents are very pleased with our city parks and events, our police department, our historic districts and also our downtown. All in all, feedback regarding the city’s cultural institutions like the Southern Museum and the Smith-Gilbert Gardens seem to increase the attractiveness of the community and improve the quality of life for residents,” he said.

Respondents also expressed concerns about traffic, being perceived as a college town, road conditions and the desire for more trails and sidewalks. Some participants said Confederate imagery, such as the storefront for Wildman’s Civil War Shop, hurts the city’s image. Wildman’s owner, Dent Myers, died at the age of 90 in January. He opened the downtown shop in 1971. According to its Facebook page, the shop reopened to the public last month.

Respondents said they’d like to see more restaurants and retail downtown, parks, theaters, and family-friendly spaces.

52% of respondents rated Kennesaw’s quality of life as high, 42% said average and 6% rated it low.

The report also included demographic data from the U.S. Census. Kennesaw has 33,036 residents with a median age of 33.3 years. Cobb County’s median age is 37.3.

The population is predominantly white, but the Black population grew 3% in the last decade, according to Treviño.

Kennesaw has a median income of $70,930. For homeowners, it’s $79,698, and for renters, $51,959.

Read the plan update in full here. It’s scheduled for adoption June 30.

In other business:

Council approved 25 new street light poles with LED lights on Knightsbridge Road. Funds for the $68,113 installation will be covered by the city’s street light fund. The increased service will require an additional $439 for monthly service.

“We’re pushing as hard as we can to get everybody in the city protected by these outdoor lights. I’ve heard over and over and over that streetlights are one of the great protections to keep crime down,” Councilman Pat Ferris said.

Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.