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Roads completion makes timing right for Oakwood to push for development, officials say
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Oakwood should seize the planned Dec. 31 completion of a four-lane parkway as an opportunity to ramp up economic development efforts, city officials said Monday.

Mayor Lamar Scroggs even suggested the city consider hiring a consultant or some other expert to help promote land that’s available for development.

He cited Thurmon Tanner Parkway, a project involving the city and Georgia Department of Transportation. The road, with street lights and sidewalks, will run between Plainview and Mundy Mill roads.

The project also represents the final segment in the entire parkway, which runs between Atlanta Highway in Oakwood to Phil Niekro Boulevard in Flowery Branch.

"I’m talking about an overall view of using Thurmon Tanner and putting a program or package of some sort together," Scroggs said during an annual retreat involving City Council and city staff.

The city could "send a package (to prospects), give them traffic counts, give them things they might be looking for," he added.

City Manager Stan Brown, OK with economic development efforts, frowned on the consultant idea.

"It seems like about every consultant I deal with, we end up training (that person)," he said. "What you’ve just described, we as a staff could do, if that’s a priority. We are the best source of information for all that data you’re talking about."

Scroggs said, "It doesn’t matter with me if we do (the marketing) in-house, if we can get on with the program."

"If we have all the information, why not keep it in-house?" Councilman Sam Evans added. "We can have things on our website, vital information ... that people can link to."

Later in the meeting at City Hall, city officials developed a priority list, with economic development and marketing as one of the goals for the upcoming 12 months.

"We must, with the economy this bad, sell ourselves," Scroggs said. "And we’re coming up with a road here that’s a perfect place for business."

"I believe the mayor is right," Councilman Gary Anderson said. "We’ve got to double-sell ourselves. ... What better time to do it than with the opening of this road."

The council cited 11 other priorities to pursue, including resolving space issues at the city police department, moving the public works department to a new industrial park on White Road and increasing the city’s presence on the popular social networking site Facebook.

Council members listed sidewalks as their top priority. The city just completed a project adding sidewalks, brick crosswalks and landscaping on Railroad Street.

Following the retreat, the council held a brief monthly meeting, voting to approve a $98,676 contract for paving short sections of several roads throughout the city.

The work, which involves milling, patching and overlaying, is scheduled to wrap up by Nov. 30.

Among the areas targeted are Plainview Road, from the Interstate 985 overpass to Atlanta Highway, and McEver Road, from Oakwood to Flat Creek roads.

Brown said with the contract under budget, the city may work with the contractor to add other roads to the list.