Cooperation between Cobb County government and the residents of Vinings during the past year has helped provide the community with clear guideposts for the future.
The Vinings Vision Plan was a more than year-long effort by Cobb County government and neighborhood residents to develop a long-term master plan for the community, incorporating land use, transportation, historical preservation and other important issues.
Cobb County Community Developement Historic Preservation Planner Mandy Elliott said participation by residents was key to creating an effective plan.
"We’re already starting to think about how we’re going to implement it," she said. "It’s not just going to sit on the shelf. I don’t think the community would allow that to happen."
In practical terms, the plan approved in July lays the groundwork for the neighborhood and its development for decades to come.
Among many potential projects, the plan helped identify the need for small walkable parks, a heritage trail linking historic sites as well as a common area that would serve as a central gathering place for the community to hold events and activities.
Specific estimates vary from project to project in the plan’s final recommendations, ranging from $4,000 for directional traffic signs to $8.5 million for streetscaping on Paces Ferry Road.
The private-public partnership also led to the creation of the Vinings Community Conservation Alliance, which will help fund many of these projects.
For example, the the conservation alliance would fund recommended streetscape improvements. Likewise, the private nonprofit will be able to acquire land for parks, multi-use trails and historical interpretive trails. Transportation projects will be handled by the county.
The Vinings Village Homeowners Association started the effort when it asked the county for help in creating long-term strategies for the community. In March 2011, the Board of Commissioners requested the Cobb County Community Development Agency, Planning Division, to undertake a master planning process for Vinings. During the course of four public meetings, the Vinings Vision Plan attracted the input of approximately 440 people.
"They were very helpful in getting the word out," Elliott said of the homeowner’s association. "They really stepped up and did an excellent job in moving the process forward."
Through the VVHA, the county was able to include many civic organizations, including the Vinings Historic Preservation Society, Vinings Business Association, Vinings Civic Club and Vinings Women’s Club.
Cal Dortch, president of the Vinings Community Conservation Alliance, said there were minor disagreements on some issues during the process, but residents were uniformly pleased with the resulting plan.
"We had total consensus that it was something we wanted to do," he said. "At the very end we were all together on what we wanted the community to be."
The Vinings Vision Web site and plan are located here: Community Development Vinings Vision Plan.