Kennesaw eyes plans for new public safety building

The brick Kennesaw Police Department building with 6 small columns on a portico

By Rebecca Gaunt

The Kennesaw Police Department might be getting a new home next to the expanding public works building on Moon Station Road.

Kennesaw City Council approved putting funds from the American Rescue Plan toward solving the crowded conditions at City Hall in December. The city was approved for a total of $13 million. The estimated cost of expanding the public works building is $2 million. The expenditure qualifies for ARP as measures to improve social distancing and ventilation.

The second floor expansion will allow many city employees who currently work out of City Hall to relocate. Planning and zoning, economic development, building services, code enforcement, business licensing and GIS will operate in the new space.

The first floor lobby will be renovated, a window will be added for business licenses, and Americans with Disabilities Act access will be improved.

Outside, parking will be expanded to meet ADA requirements and to securely park city vehicles.

“The intent is to get our staff the professional setting that they deserve, but also for our residents and our business owners and our prospective people to come in and really be able to show them the professional setting we want to portray,” said City Manager Jeff Drobney.

Marty Hughes, assistant city manager, told Council Monday that staff had to “look inward” due to the cost of commercial property when considering the new public safety facility, funded by 2022 SPLOST funds.

“We’re looking at probably getting 30,000 square feet, but a lot will depend, obviously, on the construction costs. The goal is to get 25,000 if we can afford it,” he said.

By placing it on city property next to the public works building, Kennesaw will save millions on land cost that can be put back into the building, according to staff.

“For us, it’s critically important that we have a one-stop shop for community development,” Drobney said.

While the suggested location was met with approval from council members, it was a discussion-only item and was not yet up for a vote.

According to Drobney, the public works expansion will start this year and the city will soon be putting out requests for proposals. Work on the new building for the police department is currently slated for 2024, but he is looking into moving that up to combat rising construction costs.

Zoning issues on the agenda for the next council meeting:

  • Mehta Enterprises requested to rezone the property at 2857 N. Cobb Parkway from mobile home park (MHP) to highway general business (HGB). Site plans include a gas station and convenience store and a retail structure with multiple units.
  • Devin Riley, LLC requested that 1972, 1994, and 2004 Duncan Dr. be rezoned from single family residential (R-20) to central business district (CBD). Thirty-five townhomes and an underground stormwater detention facility are planned.

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.