Praise for MIC’s Economic Development Summit in the Marietta Daily Journal

Oct 30, 2022 | Zoning

Marietta Daily Journal, Friday, October 21, 2022


The makings of a city … just maybe

Hopefully, you are aware of an upcoming ballot question for some Cobb County residents regarding Mableton cityhood. As a Mableton resident since 1999, I was just pleased to see that the question of cityhood will be on the ballot. As I have written previously in this column, it was important to me that Mableton was not left out of the loop on the cityhood question. As you know, several other areas of the county had answered the question before them in the prior election.

Moreover, I want to send my kudos to the planners, attendees, and panel participants for the Economic Development Summit put on by the Mableton Improvement Coalition. It was held recently at the spacious EpiCenter in Austell.

It was worth an admittance fee to hear the presentations and positive dialogue from the panels. The real caveat was to hear the historical references from former Governor Roy Barnes. It was enlightening to learn of the progress South Cobb has made over the years. Just think, at one time we had no representation on the Board of Commissioners. Now we have a district commissioner, a chairwoman, who resides in South Cobb. We truly have come a long way, baby.

It was quite interesting that the question of cityhood for Mableton was not asked of Governor Barnes during the Q& A opportunity. However, for me, one did not need a fall semester course in deductive reasoning to catch the drift of his presentation and futurist perspective. It appears to me that the underpinnings for those in favor of cityhood may proffer a different basis for cityhood than that of the other areas of the county that were unsuccessful last spring. I would just quote the suggestion offered by an elected county official in attendance that said, “Just tell the story.”

The event was an ah-ha moment for me because I could not recall a more productive, positive day spent discussing an area of the county that left you thinking about the possibilities ahead and a way forward to better ready for the future.

I met new residents who shared why they chose Mableton; I met new business owners, like myself. I also heard spirited feedback from some new businesses expressing their frustrations from the onerous delays, surprise assessments at closing as well as the overall deaf ear to the trials and tribulations of being a business owner trying to open up on time in Cobb County. I enjoyed the opportunity to be the moderator of the last panel of the day. Yes, it was well attended and lively. It included Mr. Allen Fox, GA Department of Economic Development, Dr. Dana Giles, Principal, Pebblebrook High School and Ms. Lisa Crossman from Cobb Douglas Public Health.

The day reminded me of the title song by the late Luther Vandross, “Here and Now” and then I think about the group En Vogue’s title song, “What’s it’s gonna be?”

A better than fair point was made repeatedly by the MIC President, Ray Thomas, who said, “If all we do is talk today, we have failed in the purpose of this event”. I could not agree more. It is easy to talk about it but the challenge is to be about it.

By the way, it was not a good day for the waistline, because of the superb cuisine provided, but the agenda topics served as a wonderful baseline measurement for Mableton going forward.

Thank you Mableton Improvement Coalition, you have truly provided the grist for the mill of change if we can determine what to do with it.

To my fellow Mabletonites, vote your conscience on the ballot question of cityhood, along with the other key races before you in a few weeks.

Michael Murphy is a former special assistant to the Cobb Chairman. He’s lived in Cobb County for over 20 years.