Smyrna to update branding, approves Croy Engineering to manage Windy Hill Blvd. construction

Rendering of a Boulevard with a roundabout and wide pedestrian crossing

[Image above: rendering by Croy Engineering of portion of the Windy Hill Boulevard project]

by Arielle Robinson

Smyrna plans to update its city branding and approved an item related to the Windy Hill Boulevard project. The council normally meets on Mondays but it was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, hence the Tuesday meeting this week.

The City Council voted unanimously to award an RFP to Chandlerthinks LLC out of Franklin, Tennessee, to redo the city’s branding.

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The city took proposals from multiple companies earlier this year to start this project. After listening to 29 proposals and narrowing the list down to five for an interview, city staff decided that Chandlerthinks would be the best choice.

“This is something that I’ve been really excited about,” Mayor Derek Norton said. “We’ve got a lot of talented staff and now hiring this firm to redo our branding and all of our colors and all the images and website and all of that is just going to be a really good opportunity to have a refresh of some things that have gotten stale.”

Councilwoman Susan Wilkinson said that Economic Development Director Andrea Worthy mentioned a quality about Chandlerthinks Wilkinson likes.

“…One of the reasons this firm was chosen too is for their ability to reach out to the citizens and the public input part of it, so I like that part,” Wilkinson said.

The proposed cost for the branding is $81,331, which will come from the General Fund. 

City Council also voted unanimously to allow Croy Engineering to manage the day-to-day construction and inspection of the Windy Hill Boulevard project through December this year. The cost is not to surpass $557,640 and will be funded from SPLOST 2016.

This will also help cover the price for a senior professional and construction manager on an hourly basis.

The project, which goes from South Cobb Drive to Atlanta Road, is meant to improve traffic conditions along the stretch of road. According to Smyrna’s SPLOST page, the project includes widening roads, adding medians, and improvements for pedestrians.

The project has been met with polarized opinions, like many of the new projects the city has taken on within the past decade or so.

According to the Marietta Daily Journal, the project costs $55 million and is dually funded by Smyrna and Cobb County. It broke ground in early 2020 and was originally set to finish by May last year.

City Administrator Joseph Bennett mentioned Tuesday that Windy Hill has needed more time and resources. Furthermore, city staff is unable to dedicate the necessary time to appropriate management and inspection.

Because of this, the city would like Croy Engineering to take on the project.

Norton briefly mentioned the timeline.

“This item approves this through the end of the year, but we are anticipating that it will not take through the end of the year,” Norton said.

The mayor said the project will “hopefully” be completed by the middle of this year.

Video tour of the project

During city council and staff comments at the end of the meeting, Norton brought up the retreat the city held during the first week of January.

He said it was one of the better retreats the city has held over the past years.

“We really worked as a group,” Norton said. “We got a lot of big projects coming up…and I think Councilman [Travis] Lindley said it best, this is the next four years for the next hundred years. These are transformative projects with the Baptist Church nine acres and other things we’re doing.”

Norton thanked city staff and council members for the efforts they put into the retreat and said they learned a lot from it.

“We’ll be rolling out over the next little while some of those ideas and planning,” Norton said.

During her comments, Councilwoman Latonia P. Hines acknowledged MLK Day the day before and thanked the Smyrna Public Library for the event it put on for the holiday.

Hines also informed people that on February 23rd, the city will have its Black History Month celebration dinner at the big gym in the Smyrna Community Center. Clark Atlanta University’s Daniel Black, a professor and writer, will be the guest speaker.

Hines said attendees can find tickets on the Parks and Recreation website. You can also click here. General admission is $20.

Also, the newest city councilman spoke. 

Rickey Oglesby, Jr. is the new Ward 7 councilman. He seconded what Hines said about MLK Day.

Oglesby also said that he is visiting the Wetherbrooke community this Saturday.

“One of the neighborhoods that I did not get to because it’s gated during my campaign was Wetherbrooke,” Oglesby said. “So for the folks of Wetherbrooke, I will be visiting this Saturday at two o’clock during your annual HOA meeting. I’m excited to shake hands and meet and greet folks there in Wetherbrooke.”

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.

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