- For those who may not know you, can you tell them a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in Atlanta and have lived and worked in Cobb County for 30 years. I joined Childress Klein Properties as the Marketing Director in 1989. I got involved in the community and knew right away that I wanted to work and raise my family here. In 1992, I joined Kennestone Regional Health System which later became part of WellStar Health System.
While at WellStar, I served in senior marketing, communications and public/government affairs positions for more than 20 years. Most recently, I was responsible for developing the strategic direction and alignment of community engagement and sponsorship with philanthropy efforts, all of which were designed to secure and expand support for WellStar.
A longtime and current board member of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, I had the privilege of serving as chair in 2015. I am a proud graduate of the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
- As the new executive director, what is the direction of the Cumberland CID?
As Georgia’s first CID, the Cumberland CID had a vision in 1988 to transform the Cumberland Market Area. That vision has become a reality, and the area is a booming economic engine in Cobb County representing more than 5 percent of the state’s total economy.
In December 2017, the board released Blueprint Cumberland 3.0 after a year-long study, creating a new comprehensive vision and plan that continues to transform the district into a more walkable, dynamic, live-work-play-shop urban center and vibrant regional gateway. This plan promises more than $2 billion in direct investment into the district with more than a $3.5 billion impact on Cobb County.
I am looking forward to working with the board to implement the plan while actively seeking innovative new project ideas that will ensure that the Cumberland Market Area remains a competitive center in Georgia.
- What are you most excited about as you get started?
I’m thrilled to have joined an organization that is making such a significant impact on Cobb County, Georgia and the Region. The Cumberland CID is experiencing tremendous growth. It is one of the top job centers in the state with more than 100,000+ daily commuters and over 17,000 (and growing) people choosing to make the district home. I am excited to work with the board, investors and stakeholders to build on their success and continue the transformation of the Cumberland Market Area.
- On what projects have you focused currently?
The Akers Mill Ramp continues to be the highest priority for our board. The Northwest Corridor, 29.5-mile express lane project that opened in September 2018 has been hugely successful. There have been significant travel time savings for commuters. More than 4.2 million trips were registered in May, posting travel speeds 30 percent faster than the general purpose lanes. As a result, the corridor’s rush hour has been reduced by more than one hour during both the morning and evening commutes. However, the express lane project does not provide direct access into the district. We are working with our partners – Georgia DOT, Cobb DOT and the Atlanta Regional Commission – to fund and build a ramp to provide this much needed access.
- What is your favorite part of the Cumberland area?
One of my favorites is SunTrust Park and the Battery Atlanta. In addition to the fiscal impact of $18.9 million annually to Cobb County Government and our schools, this development brings Braves fans and visitors alike an unprecedented entertainment experience 365 days a year. Visitors enjoy a variety of culinary options, unique retail shops and a live entertainment venue, Coca-Cola Roxy Theatre. There is something for everyone and it has an energy all its own.
- What would you like the public to know about Cumberland CID that they might not realize?
Beautification is one of the Cumberland CID’s priorities. Not many people realize the Cumberland CID installed and maintains the landscaping along I-75 near Cumberland Blvd., I-75 at Cobb Parkway, I-285 near Paces Ferry and other areas within the CCID. In addition, we are partnering with Georgia DOT to maintain select interchanges at highway junctions.
- What are some of the challenges and rewards?
With large scale projects from improving infrastructure and transportation to designing parks and trails, it takes a tremendous amount of time to develop concepts, study, coordinate with major partners and stakeholders and prioritize funding and other resources to bring a project to completion. The rewards are many, with increased economic impact and return on investment and the continued transformation and success of the Cumberland Market Area.
- What are some of your recent successes?
We will be celebrating the opening of a one-mile extension of the Bob Callan Trail on Thursday, July 25th. The Bob Callan Trail is a pristine connection for the Cumberland community to national parkland at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA). The unspoiled river and walking trails within an otherwise urban environment provide biking, hiking and recreational amenities directly for the Cumberland community and connects the regional trail systems.
We have implemented the Zagster Bike Program with three stations and plan to add 13 more. You can rent a bike at the Paces Mill/Palisade and Cochran Shoals Parks as well as The Battery Atlanta. We are excited about our ridership so far. We launched the program in August 2018, and to date have logged more than 3,000 trips with an average trip distance of 2.5 miles. We currently have more than 1,500 members and growing.
- What’s next for the CCID?
For more than 30 years, the approximate 190 commercial property owners in the CID have been investing in critical infrastructure and beautification improvements. These investments have a strong track record of success and have enhanced access and investment in the Cumberland Market Area making it one of the most desirable communities to live, work, play and shop. Our goals will continue to focus on:
- Improving access, connectivity and placemaking
- Creating beautiful environments for pedestrian, bike and multi-modal users in the district
- Enhancing recreational areas and greenspace
- Supporting integrated transportation and transit solutions, further connecting the district throughout the region
Together with our partners, we will continue to transform the district for optimal success.