The ordinance, which legalizes the sale of beer and wine within the downtown district but does not legalize the sale of liquor in Cedartown, requires that only those businesses with the majority of their income coming from food sales can distribute beer and/or wine.
“The issue is not beer and wine in Cedartown, because we already have it,” Commissioner Bobby Alexander stated. Currently, non-liquor alcohol sales are allowed throughout the Cedartown city limits, but not inside the downtown district.
Alexander inquired as to the legality of allowing alcohol distribution everywhere but in the downtown area. “If we were to deny these people on Main Street, could they not sue us?”
City Attorney Mike McRae responded in saying, “We’ve had a problem with that twice in the past. We’ve had claims made against the City of Cedartown for that denial. We have a legal problem allowing it in certain districts but not allowing it in others.”
The ordinance was passed 4-0 after a motion by Commissioner Wilburn Brown, which was seconded by Commissioner Bert Wood.
E.B. Slaughter Realty’s proposed land annexation was tabled for the second time.
On January 13, the commission heard from numerous members of the Cherokee Circle community as they voiced their concerns over the estimated 327 residential and 101 town homes being placed on 91.23 acres. The vote was then delayed until further studies could be done.
During the Feb. 3 meeting, the board was updated on the studies, but did not take any action.
On March 10, the commission discussed the matter during executive session, but did not take any action. “Slaughter had requested annexation before and potentially a zoning of the property as HUD (Housing and Urban Development). Because of the density of the project, it was sent to the Coosa Valley Regional Government Commission for review. During that review process, Mr. Slaughter changed and asked the commission to zone the property as R-1, not as a HUD development.”
McRae proposed that because it will be a different zoning, the board will hold a second public hearing. The board then moved to table the discussion until the rescheduled April 21 meeting.
City Manager Barry Atkison stressed that the March 18 SPLOST (Special Local Option Sales Tax) is not a new tax, but an extension of the previous SPLOST.
“I’ve had a lot of commentary of the last couple of weeks about the upcoming SPLOST vote,” he said. “I want to make sure that everyone in this room knows that this is not an additional penny of tax. This is continuing the current SPLOST.”
He later stated that if the SPLOST is continued, then it would aid the Cedartown Fire Department with equipment needs as the commission carried a motion to match an $81,000 grant for the department.
Main Street Manager Jim Kelly said that he has “not gotten any negative response” from the SPLOST. “There are different projects involved in that...we are moving well ahead with that [SPLOST] and I think a lot of folks are understanding now that it is more important than ever.”
The Cedartown Housing Authority was approved to move forward with a $6.5 million project at Cedar Ridge. After a motion by Alexander and Johnny Barrett, the board unanimously approved a tax abatement for the Housing Authority project.
Atkison went on to say that the Feb. 28 community clean-up project was a success. He said the during the sweep of the Goodyear community, the clean-up crew disposed of 12 dump truck loads of metal, five loads of tires and estimated that they did away with 8.7 tons of “junk.” After Atkison’s suggestion, the board approved a $3,000 budget amendment for the community clean-up.
Jane Wyatt, on behalf of the Cedartown Parks Commission, said that the Peek’s Park contractor assured her that he will “be out of there by the Arts Festival,” typically held in May.
“They will not be finished, but they will be out of there and it will be cleaned up,” she said. “As of now, we have paid them (contractor) $67,308.56. I feel really good about it and its going to be beautiful.”
She went on to introduce the board to Solomon Prescott, chairman of the Turner Street Park Improvement Committee. Wyatt said that she had previously met with the committee regarding Turner St. Park issues.
Prescott told the board that he is asking the city for aid to upgrade some of the park’s equipment so that “the children of the community can have a safe place to play” now that the city pool is closed. “With the pool closed, we don’t have a lot of options.”
He elaborated in saying, “There are a lot of things wrong with the park as a whole. Through meetings and with the help of the Parks Committee and the City Manager, we have come up with a plan about how to get the park up to speed, as far as the community is concerned.” Prescott said that he wanted a “solidarity agreement” with the city to help fund the upgrade. He said that the park’s basketball court needed to be resurfaced and the baseball field needs improvements, such as building dugouts and placing a net behind home plate. “These are things we need to help get some programs off the ground.”
Later in the meeting, the board revised the contract with the Cedartown Little League. “The contract is simply a modernizing of things that we did not have in the contract before,” McRae said. By renewing the contract, the city agreed to aid the league with public utilities (i.e., water, sewage and power). “They’ve done about $20-25,000 worth of improvements this year.” It was decided that the league would present a financial report to the city every other month in the year.
Karolyn Hutcheson, reporting on the Chamber of Commerce, said that “Project Westlake” could soon be underway. The project, she said, would need 100-150 employees, a $40 million investment and approximately 30 acres between two sites in the Cedartown area. She also said that a new map of Polk County is in the works. Hutcheson said that many contractors might be questioned in regards to the placement of the recently built subdivisions.
The Main Street Manager said that the ownership of the Welcome Center property has been finalized. “We should be moving in at the end of the year or the first part of next year,” he stated.
Kelly also stated that next year will be the 150th “birthday” of Cedartown; he is currently considering a yearlong celebration of the anniversary.
The manager added that the Department of Community Affairs reviewed the city and declared that Cedartown could still be a “Main Street city.” He said that he hopes that Cedartown could become a nationally recognized Main Street city.
With Gary Redding’s resignation from the Historic Preservation Committee, Atkison nominated Scotty Tillery for the position, which was approved 4-0.
The board also approved a budget amendment up to $1,500 for an alarm at the Northwest Park log cabin, though Atkison did not believe it would take the full amount. He said that an alarm was needed due to vandalism problems in the area.