ALPHARETTA, Ga. — City leaders got an updated roster of street and parks projects in line for funding if voters approve special taxes this fall.
The City Council heard a report on the latest cost estimates for street upgrades that would be funded if voters pass a five-year extension to the current county-wide transportation sales tax, or TSPLOST. If approved on the November ballot, the .75-cent sales tax would bring in an estimated $59 million to Alpharetta, all targeted for local street and pedestrian improvements.
Right now, city leaders have listed some 13 top-tier projects totaling $50 million for funding.
Among the most expensive would be $10 million for Webb Bridge Road widening and improvements from Morris Road to the Greenway. Another $10 million is targeted for the North Point Parkway Corridor, although that would not fund all the city has planned for the area.
Alpharetta Public Works Director Pete Sewczwicz said the total cost of all the improvements targeted for North Point will run from $30-$40 million. The $10 million in TSPLOST money, he said, would be seed money to draw grants, possibly from the Georgia DOT or other agencies.
Cumming Street improvements would receive $7.3 million, maybe half the cost anticipated to fully upgrade the route, Sewczwicz said.
Other top-tier projects on the list include mid-block crosswalks at Alpharetta Elementary School and at Manning Oaks Elementary, an Alpha Loop extension from Old Milton Parkway to Northwinds Parkway and improved pedestrian crossings from City Center to surrounding churches.
The list also includes about eight other lower-tier projects that would be funded if more sales tax money flows in above the conservative estimate.
Sewczwicz said that because costs for asphalt and labor in flux currently, he would like another couple of weeks to present final, best-guess cost estimates before the City Council finalizes the list.
“I’d like one more stab at it before it comes up for a final vote,” he said.
The council also heard the latest update on a proposed $29.5 million bond to fund Alpharetta Parks.
Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Morgan Rodgers highlighted a list of 11 items focused on upgrading and expanding services at the city’s parks.
Wills Park is under consideration for about a third of the funding, with $5 million going toward the build-out of the Equestrian Park. Another $4 million would go toward redesign and upgrades to trails, the dog park and the disc golf course, among other amenities.
There was lengthy discussion about a $3 million allocation to preserve and expand the park at the historic Farmhouse community at the northeast corner of Ga. 400 and Old Milton Parkway.
Councilman Dan Merkel said he had to question whether investing in what is basically a historic site that sits right next to one of the busiest highways in Metro Atlanta is a good idea.
He said he doubts it would draw a lot of visitors. Those that did walk down, he said, would see a plaque, “and Ga. 400 is going to be right on your shoulder.”
But Councilman Donald Mitchell, who has pushed for added funding to the arts and history throughout his terms on the council, said the location represents one of the oldest settled sites in the city and represents value in its heritage.
The city is expected to hash out more details on the parks list in later meetings.
Local voters passed a $52 million bond referendum in 2016 with about half devoted to capital improvements and land acquisition for Alpharetta parks and recreation. The rest of the money was applied to transportation projects.
Voters also approved a $29 million bond in 2011 to help fund development of the downtown City Center multi-use project, which also includes park areas.
They passed a $24.9 bond referendum in 1997, again with about half the money dedicated to parks.
Right now, Alpharetta property owners pay $5 million each year to retire debt from three earlier bonds. Final payoff for the first will not occur until 2026. The other two are scheduled to be retired in 2032 and 2041.