Kennesaw settles lawsuit with gas station developer
Ross Williams MDJ 6/7/18
A yearlong battle between residents of Kennesaw’s Ellison Lake townhome community and a developer hoping to build a gas station at the end of their street has come to an end.
The City Council voted this week to accept a settlement under which the city would use $150,000 in voter-approved sales tax funds to purchase 3.58 acres inside the development for the creation of a passive community park. The developer, meanwhile, would place a commercial business other than a gas station at the development’s entrance.
Convenience chain Speedway and Ellison Lake Partners, the developer of the 130-acre community, had plans to put a 24-hour convenience store with a filling station on undeveloped land near the entrance of Ellison Lake.
Residents fought against the proposed gas station at council meetings last year, and the city ultimately denied the request to build the gas station.
That prompted Speedway and Ellison to file suit against the city last June. The parties reached a compromise in January.
Monday’s unanimous vote to approve the settlement was the first vote cast by the council’s newest member, Councilwoman Tracey Viars, who was sworn in earlier that night.
Viars said although she was not on the council when the settlement was reached, she thinks it worked out well for residents and the developer.
“I think it was a good compromise for all the parties involved and a smart move on everybody’s part,” she said. “I think in the end, everybody gets what they want— the developer will get to develop the property, the residents at Ellison Lake will have a great asset in their neighborhood … All the way around, I think it was a good settlement for everyone involved.”
Ellison Lake residents seemed to agree. When the council made its decision, there were scattered applause from audience members. Speaking at the beginning of the meeting, Ellison Lake Homeowner Association President Joyce Yung said residents there were grateful to the city for reaching the compromise.
“Everyone here wishes to preserve the appearance, safety and lifestyle of our community,” she said. “As such, we would like to thank the mayor, the council and the city staff for their continued effort in preserving the tranquility of Ellison Lake from potential undesirable development. Addressing issues such as the one before you tonight demonstrates to everyone the city has the resources and sound judgement to protect the best interests of the citizens.”
KENNESAW MARKETPLACE MALL
You know what it looks like today but here is that property in the mid-stage, after the slum trailer park (Castle Lake MHP) was removed but before the new stores and 55+ Senior Development were put up.
You can take a look at the entire history of that Kennesaw property with photos and comments, at: https://castlelakekennesaw.blogspot.com/
The below shows the remains of the Castle Lake Mobile Home Park. One third of this park remains, the other 2/3rds was sold off to Fuqua, Inc for the Kennesaw Marketplace Mall. The remaining park is still a slum, but worth a lot more now being next to the new mall. The CLMHP is the triangular slice in the middle of the photo. It remains in Cobb County but the new mall was added to the City of Kennesaw 2 years ago.
Eye Witness Account Of The Stealing Of The General Locomotive
written by Joe Bozeman, FIFTH GENERATION KENNESAW
painting by Wilbur G. Kurtz
My roots in Kennesaw, GA go back to the building of the Western & Atlantic Railroad. This is the story of my Great Grandfather, James A. Skelton. A story of a boy born in the depths of poverty, at the time our nation was facing its biggest crisis, The American Civil War.
“Grandpa Jim”, as my mother calls him, was born on March 19, 1848 in a dirt floored shanty shack beside the tracks of the Western & Atlantic Railroad in Big Shanty, GA now called Kennesaw. His Grandfather Guess, a railroad laborer, built the structure while the railroad bed was being graded from Terminus, now Atlanta, to Ross’s Landing, now Chattanooga, TN. Jim’s father was a railroad laborer also, but died at an early age, leaving a widow and four small children. Being the oldest, Jim had to grow up fast, and this was not an easy task in the dirt poor section around Big Shanty. Very little opportunity existed. In fact, he and his family were little more than “white slaves”, depending on the railroad to make their way in life. They were free to leave railroad camps, but where else could they have gone to make a living?
Jim was 14 in the second year of The Civil War. The war complicated his life even more, States Rights meant little to his kind and quite frankly, many slaves lived a better life than he and his kin. What it boiled down to was this, Jim had no “dog in this fight”, but it would surely involve him sooner or later.
He needed to earn some money to help his mother, so he decided to go to Cartersville, GA in search of work. Train crews on the W&A had told him there might be an opportunity there as a water boy or a locomotive fireman. So, on the morning of April 12, 1862, he purchased a round trip ticket to Cartersville and boarded a train in Big Shanty while it was stopped for breakfast at the Lacy Hotel. He had no idea that he was about to witness one of the most daring operations of the Civil War
It was a mixed train pulled by the locomotive “General” made up of three boxcars next to the engine, a combination passenger car, and two regular coaches. As he walked from the depot, he noticed a group of strangers standing around. He went into the combination car and took a seat. In a few minutes he saw a “passel” of men walk by heading toward the engine. He then heard someone uncouple the boxcar in front of him. He thought nothing of this because it was normal for the fireman and the brakeman to switch cars while the rest of the crew was eating breakfast. He raised the window to watch, and saw the locomotive and boxcars speeding up the tracks.
Someone yelled, “ They’ve stolen the train” and Fuller, Cain, and Murphy rushed out of the hotel and up the tracks in pursuit of the engine that had then disappeared and was probably nearing Moon Station.
I have always wished my Great Grandfather had run north with the pursuers. When he died on October 8, 1941, he was the last living witness of the stealing of the General. It would have been nice if he had been the last survivor of The Great Locomotive Chase, but being a boy of 14, I guess he thought his mother would have been worried about him. Besides, at the time most people believed the train had been hijacked by Confederate deserters from Camp McDonald.
Jim did not get a job with the W&A, and so at the age of 14, he joined the Georgia State Guards. It wasn’t what he wanted, but it would provide some money for his mother and the other children. His first assignment was guarding bridges along the W&A Railroad. This worked out well because he was close to home and could see his family often. But, in 1864 he was assigned duty that haunted him the rest of his life.
One morning in February 1864, he was sent to Augusta, GA where he boarded a train loaded with Union prisoners in route to the infamous Confederate prison at Andersonville called Fort Sumter, and was assigned guard duty at the stockade. It might have been better than combat, but it was terrible duty. The death rate from disease was almost as high for the Confederate guards as it was for the prisoners.
Jim stayed there until the prisoners were moved to other locations and then was assigned to a Confederate unit that was rounding up deserters in the North Georgia Mountains. When the war ended, his unit surrendered to Union General Judea at Kingston, GA and he walked south on the tracks of the W&A to his home in Big Shanty.
It was a terrible sight. The rail line was almost a complete wreck. What track that wasn’t torn up, rails heated and twisted around trees, had been lifted up and turned over like a section of fence.
While the destruction of the railroad was horrible, arriving home was worse. Both armies had passed through Big Shanty and nothing was left of his hometown. There wasn’t a thing to eat. It was just blank. The face of the earth had been swept clean, not an animal existed.
The Lacy Hotel, the shanty shacks, the depot, and homes were burned to the ground. His mother and the children were living in a wrecked rail car with several other families. They had survived on the little given to them by Confederate and Union troops and what they could find in the woods.
written by Joe Bozeman, FIFTH GENERATION KENNESAW
painting by Wilbur G. Kurtz
FRIDAY, JUNE 1, 2018
Mrs Viars wins the Post 2 Kennesaw Council Seat.
Viars wins in Kennesaw
Ross Williams MDJ 5/23/18
There will soon be a new face on the Kennesaw City Council.
Tracey Viars, a mother of three who runs a Kennesaw-based advertising and marketing company, defeated her opponent Kemela Carlson, who also has three children and who works in revenue management for Delta Air Lines.
Viars got 1,377 votes out of a total 2,352, good for 58.6 percent, while Carlson took 975 votes, or 41.5 percent, according to unofficial results.
Viars will finish the term of former Councilwoman Yvette Daniel, who resigned abruptly in January after missing 29 meetings over her two years in office, including 23 in 2017 alone. That term is set to expire at the end of 2019.
Viars said her edge in the race was thanks to her experience, which includes six years as a member of the Downtown Kennesaw Development Authority and three years as its chair, and serving as leader for a host of community events.
Note: The above totals did not include the absentee votes, they are included in the below totals.