It looks like the city is starting to crack down on more drug deals…
By Katie Fallon
Marietta Daily Journal Staff Writer
MARIETTA – The city will soon have money to bolster neighborhood safety in the Franklin Road corridor.
The United States Department of Justice announced Tuesday that the Marietta would receive an initial grand of $175,000 for 2006 under the federal Weed and Seed program. For each of the next four years, the city is eligible to apply for additional awards of up to $175,000 a year.
In March, Marietta was named one of 32 cities across the country to receive approval as a Weed and Seed Community. The award money should arrive before Oct. 1.
The Weed and Seed program is designed to help prevent and reduce criminal, drug and gang activity in communities with high crime rates. “Weeding” is done through increased law enforcement involvement to rid a community of criminals and drug users and traffickers. “Seeding” is done by community groups and private organizations that help implement programs to address the community’s problems.
The United States Department of Justice Community Capacity Development Office sponsors the program. It includes law enforcement, community policing, neighborhood restoration and prevention, intervention and treatment. The Weed and Seed strategy includes collaboration, coordination, community participation and leveraging resources.
Terrill Mill Road to the south, South Marietta Parkway to the north, Interstate 75 to the east and Cobb Parkway to the west will border the targeted Weed and Seed area in Marietta. Franklin Road runs down the middle of that area, which also includes the portion of Delk Road between Cobb Parkway and I-75.
Various neighbor groups and nonprofit organizations in the area formed a Weed and Seed committee before the city received approval. Those groups likely will provide input on how to spend the $175,000 grant.
“I would imagine that those people still will have a say in the allocation of the money,” city spokesman Matthew Daily said.
The city plans to hire a project manager to help coordinate Weed and Seed resources and work with community groups to see where the money is most needed.
Daily said the committee is working on a job description for a project manager and would post it soon and start fielding applications. Approximately $35,000 of the award money will cover a project manager’s salary.
Otherwise, Daily said a very specific budget was created when the city applied for the funding.
He said $89,000 will go to law enforcement and community activities, which will fund increased patrols, police time to work with the community to strengthen relationships between police and residents. The money will not cover hiring extra officers.
Daily said more than 50 percent of the money will go to police activities and the remainder to community development activities, such as youth and community programs. Partnerships will be strengthened with the Boys and Girls Club, the Latin American Association, Travelers Aid, Center for Family Resources and the Cobb Community Collaborative.
Marietta City Manager Bill Bruton said it is no secret that the focus of the city’s Weed and seed program is the Franklin Road corridor.
“The city of Marietta is serious about cleaning up Franklin Road,” Bruton said. “People should know Marietta is not a place to commit crime, especially Franklin Road.”
The journey toward improving Franklin Road and its surrounding neighborhoods began four years ago when the city increased efforts to clean up the area for residents and business owners. Since, a Franklin Road Taskforce formed, and later, the Weed and Seed committee.
Mayor Bill Dunaway said the Weed and Seed money would help accomplish a goal the City Council has set to increase safety in neighborhoods across the city.
“The resources that will be made available to Marietta will help us enhance the community and begin redevelopment in an area of the city that is in great need,” Dunaway said “We are very excited about the possibilities.”