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.
“Projects delayed by the economic slowdown are now coming together and significant progress has been made in the past two to three years,” says Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews when asked how he would describe the growth in his community over the past decade. “The city’s economic development team has done an exceptional job of building relationships and fostering public-private partnerships, which are now producing results. Growth is occurring in every dimension — new business openings, existing business expansion and residential development.”
Mathews, who is serving his eighth year as mayor, says three notable Kennesaw improvements over the past decade include their downtown development, including the 2010 completion of the pedestrian underpass connecting Depot Park with Main Street; city leaders prioritizing investment in infrastructure to support a long-term vision and secure SPLOST funding, such as creation of the storm water utility, transportation improvements and new commercial development; and the city’s continuation to invest in diversified recreational and cultural amenities that create a high quality of life for its residents and encourages tourism like the successful Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, in addition to Smith-Gilbert Gardens and Swift-Cantrell Park that was voted in 2012 as one of the “Favorite Parks” in America in the national Live Positively competition.
“The transformation of our downtown into a true hub for our city has taken a long time to come to fruition. It required many elements to come together, including the right plan, property, agreements, developer, financing, political will and governmental support,” he says. “We had a rare opportunity to develop our town center into a true downtown district, and it’s been exciting and rewarding to take all the right steps to make it happen.”