McIntosh Parkway offers opportunity as community grows

Back in 1920, Robert Frost wrote the poem “The Road Not Taken,” which included a reference to a road “less traveled by.”

Ultimately, the road traveled least is one envisioned but never put in place. It looks like the proposed McIntosh Parkway will not be a “road not taken.” State grant funds have now been committed for the road project that will create a thoroughfare between Ashley Park and downtown – running parallel to busy Bullsboro Drive.

Drivers who spend a lot of time traveling around Newnan are already finding alternatives to Bullsboro with its numerous signal intersections and often heavy traffic. Those alternatives are generally on smaller surface streets.

The McIntosh Parkway will be a major road that will ease traffic and fuel more economic development. Local and state leaders deserve kudos for deciding to move forward with the parkway.

There will be some difficulties – rights-of-way to be obtained and the possible condemnation of property. Those problems will not, however, become any easier or less expensive if the project is delayed five or 10 years from now. Traffic, however, will continue to grow, and missed business opportunities would be just that – missed.

Newnan recently got word of a $1.75 million grant through the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank. Work on the new parkway should start in March 2015 and be completed by mid-2017.

McIntosh Parkway will be an east-west parkway parallel to and south of Bullsboro Drive. “We’ve always envisioned the connectivity from downtown Newnan up to Ashley Park or the retail area around Interstate 85,” City Manager Cleatus Phillips says.

The goal is to create a symbiosis between Ashley Park and downtown Newnan. While many towns the size of Newnan have seen their downtowns dry up, downtown Newnan has remained vibrant. Local leaders are wise to want to keep it that way – and to envision new connections between downtown and Ashley Park as a way to strengthen and grow the local economy.

There are opportunities, Phillips says, for the two areas “to thrive off each other.”

Estimated total cost for the project is $6.9 million. The city has already committed $5.2 million from Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds and transportation impact fees.

Gov. Nathan Deal says the GTIB grant projects “will not only enhance mobility in local communities, they will also keep Georgia’s business engine moving by improving access to retail and job centers.” We’re counting on it.

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