Like much of the nation, Cobb County has been on an economic roller coaster ride the past 10 years, experiencing ups in the early 2000s with a booming housing market and commercial construction, followed by a challenging dip around 2008 and the years that followed as a result of the Great Recession. But, that hasn’t stopped Cobb from continuing to grow – the area has managed to slowly rebound, and that is obvious in the county’s steady population increases (about 70,000 residents since 2005), expansions in the highway and interstate systems, downtown improvements in Cobb’s municipalities, introduction of the Atlanta Braves development and much more.
“Growth over the last 10 years has been up and down and up again with national economic fluctuations, but [Smyrna has been] steady in overall gains and financial stability,” says Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon, who has served the city for three decades. “Today, there are so many projects that have finally started to be developed, such as Belmont Hills and now Jonquil Plaza, or that are either beginning to move or are now finished, such as the new Kroger on South Cobb Drive and Sprouts on the East/West Connector.”
The Belmont Hills redevelopment zone has been a work in progress for at least a decade or more and is now a reality, moving rapidly toward substantial building in place this fall, Bacon says. “Getting to this time in our history took a lot of work and multiple entities working together. The city worked tirelessly in turning around critical properties, such as aging and failing apartments to assist in the transition of this property,” he continues.
The Jonquil site, located at the corner of Atlanta Road and Concord and Spring roads, has also been a targeted area for a long time. The 12-acre project is expected to undergo redevelopment very soon and is anticipated to be a mixture of high-end housing, retail and office space.
“I’ve said many, many times that the finish line keeps moving,” Bacon says. “I expect us to continue to grow and redevelop those areas that have aged, and to manage future growth and redevelopment responsibly. We launched a Smyrna Vision process last year, and following the plan established by citizens in that process will guide us toward what our community wants and needs, while conserving what we hold most dear … that hometown feel in a welcoming community.”