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Airport plans, youth center woes among top Paulding stories of 2013
by Tom Spigolon
December 30, 2013 11:42 AM | 1610 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff Photo<br>A Canadian fighter jet sits on the tarmac at Silver Comet Field during the Salute America 2013 air show in October.
Staff Photo
A Canadian fighter jet sits on the tarmac at Silver Comet Field during the Salute America 2013 air show in October.
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Paulding County continued its move toward developing more home-based services in 2013, though some residents pushed back against some of those efforts towards the end of the year.

AIR SURPRISE:

Though votes were taken publicly in 2012, Paulding residents were surprised in October to learn Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport’s operating board had signed a tenant which planned to establish the first air passenger service in metro Atlanta outside Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Signing of New York-based Propeller Investments prompted the board to change the name of the facility to Silver Comet Field and allow Propeller to begin work to renovate the three-year-old airport terminal building in anticipation of passenger service.

Propeller officials said the passenger service was part of a larger plan for recruiting aerospace-based industries at the airport, which could potentially produce thousands of local jobs for a community in which three of four residents travel outside Paulding to work.

The board also authorized airport officials to begin work to lengthen the runway by 600 feet and widen the taxiway by 50 feet.

Residents reacted by moving to challenge the required court approval of publicly-backed bonds for the taxiway widening. They also asked the Federal Aviation Administration to reconsider its earlier rapid approval of work to lengthen the Paulding airport’s runway after maintaining airport officials disguised their intent to use the runway work to aid in the establishment of passenger flights. Airport officials said the project already was planned for its current customers and tenants before Propeller came on board.

A Paulding state court judge approved the bonds – though an appeal was pending at year’s end. However, the Federal Aviation Administration agreed to do a more rigorous review of the runway work – delaying passenger service until at least 2015.

YOUTH CENTER PROBLEMS:

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice officials announced in June they would investigate allegations of staff members’ sexual abuse of residents at the Regional Youth Detention Center in Dallas The announcement followed a federal report in which almost one in three residents at the facility, which held suspects before they went to trial, reported sexual abuse – the highest rate in the nation.

Then, in October, the department announced it would close the center operated under contract with Youth Services International on Industrial Boulevard North and move the residents to other state facilities as part of a move to save the state $6 million annually.

ALMOST NEVER ON SUNDAY:

Voters went to the polls in 2013 with choices including city council seats in Dallas and Hiram, and approval of retail sales of alcoholic beverages on Sundays in Dallas and the county’s unincorporated areas.

County voters in a March vote decided against Sunday sales outside the cities. However, in a November election, Dallas voters approved Sunday sales within their city limits.

Hiram voters chose new councilwoman Kathy Carter to succeed Earlene Graham, who did not seek re-election.

ADMITTING TIME NEAR:

In health care-related events, work which began in spring 2012 continued throughout 2013 on the new WellStar Paulding replacement hospital at the corner of U.S. Hwy. 278 and Bill Carruth Parkway. Completion was set for April.

Meanwhile, Metro Atlanta Ambulance took over operations of Dallas-based Clark Ambulance in December and began work responding as Paulding’s new 911 emergency medical service.

UP IN THE AIR:

The second Paulding air show in October attracted three times the attendees of its inaugural 2012 show, bringing at least 12,000 to see the show at Silver Comet Field despite the threat of rain.

Its success prompted show officials in November to seek to break the show from Paulding airport control – and liability – by establishing it as a nonprofit entity.

FASTER RIDE:

Seven Hills Connector opened in northeast Paulding after years of planning. The road created a more direct link between the rapidly growing Seven Hills area and Ga. Hwy. 92 near the Cobb Parkway commuter route into Cobb County and Atlanta.ww

At year’s end, East Hiram Parkway was set to open after years of construction, creating a bypass around the congested Hiram retail district for commuters from Dallas and south Paulding to Cobb County and Atlanta.

HOME MEETINGS:

Paulding Chamber of Commerce officials announced in August a chamber-commissioned study showed a conference center could be successful in Paulding. The document recommended the project be located as centrally as possible, or within “proximity to the intersection of U.S. [Hwy.] 278 and Ga. [Hwy. 120].”

The area includes the new WellStar Paulding replacement hospital and the Bill Carruth Parkway corridor, which county officials see as a potential major area for economic development.

PARK IT HERE:

Paulding County began planning in July for a new seven-acre park adjacent to the county government and judicial complex on U.S. Hwy. 278 in Dallas. The park was to include a 2,000-seat amphitheater, walking track and more. The cost was estimated at $2 million, with funding to come from special purpose local option sales tax proceeds.



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