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Marietta City Council discusses feedback from surveys

MARIETTA — Marietta City Council heard feedback Thursday from the surveys conducted on economic development in March.

Sam Tuten, executive director of Marietta Main Street, gave the report on behalf of the Enrich Marietta group which is working to develop a downtown vision and game plan for public-private partnerships.

“We got really good responses… what we’re doing is having this presented to you first; the next steps in terms of the plan is we will meet back with OHM (the engineering firm hired with city funds last year) and (finalize) priorities,” said Tuten. “Then we will have public forum meetings and stakeholder meetings… This is not one and done, this is for the next couple months.”

He said feedback from community engagement events during First Fridays downtown and at Marietta College basketball games was positive.

“The majority of people like what they see, but there are core areas they’d like to see improved: walkability and gathering space,” said Tuten. “They put a high priority on downtown revitalization… as well as upkeep and added restaurants are what they want to see.”

The data, now in the hands of council, will aid in restructuring planning and in financial strategies, according to Councilman Geoff Schenkel.

“And I think it was well represented between millennials and the 50 (years old) and up population,” said Tuten. “A lot of the responses were more female, which statistically females in a household are the ones making the financial decisions so we want them to come down and spend their money here.”

In regular business, council also considered the following pieces of legislation in old business:

* Ordinance 199 saw its third reading Thursday, and council unanimously passed authorization for a power-purchase agreement with Pickering Energy Solutions for solar panels to be installed on the city streets garage.

* Ordinance 206 saw its third reading and council unanimously approved updates to the city’s table of organization.

* Ordinance 207, an update of city ordinances concerning state building codes, saw its second reading and no further action.

And in new business council also introduced and passed eight ordinances and five resolutions.

The three most time-sensitive included authorization for four additional seasonal laborers for the city harbor to be paid for through the Washington County Department of Job and Family Services summer hire program, the authorization of a part-time clerk for the city police department and a budget change for the 2019 Community Development Block Grant funds.

“This is the latest in the year that we’ve received those numbers,” explained Development Director Andy Coleman as he asked council to suspend the second and third readings of Resolution 60. “Every community in the state is getting those numbers in as soon as they can and the funds I’d like to see sooner here rather than later, (September rather than late November).”

Coleman previously presented to council Monday that the city’s loss in population this last year dropped the federal payout from an anticipated and budgeted for $410,000 to an actual $400,092.

The deduction in budget hit mostly the city’s Paint Marietta and Emergency Repair programs.

Council will next meet on Tuesday for a joint committee meeting between Lands, Buildings and Parks Committee and Employee Relations Committee at 4:30 p.m. to discuss ventilation at the Alderman Street city garage and Gold Star Park.

That meeting will be followed thereafter by Planning, Zoning, Annexation and Housing Committee at 5:30 p.m. to discuss medical marijuana zoning.

Both meetings will take place in room 10 of the Armory, 241 Front St.

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