Archive for October, 2008

The following was submitted as the NPS is soliciting comments thereto:

… Observation is made based on active historic and archeological research personally conducted in or near park boundaries for documenting purposes in the last year 2007-2008.  Further, on access to the lower Chattahoochee river area growing up 1950’s-60’s; observations on current use of the lower park area; and “suspect” archeological evidences yet to be defined by the NPS.


Having returned to the Smyrna/Vinings area to live with a 40 year gap in experiencing access to the river, I was overwhelmingly pleased to find that a national park designation had been effected.  Fearing total development, I realized that the integrity of undisturbed “place” still existed from my youth.  First of all, that’s a good thing.


However, with recent scrutiny and time, I began to see some things that were not so good.  (1) infringement of outside park development density had, in places, caused trash and erosion effects. (2) invasive plant species were choking off access and visibility in places. (3) favored areas known as a child such as along Rottenwood Creek were now high in sewage evidences and trash accumulation, or difficult to access such as from Rottenwood Creek North to the “Narrows,” or known as Devil’s Race Course. (4)little knowledge of “place” was expressed by those encountered within the park – either by visitors or those working in the park. (5) historical or archeological evidences within the lower park boundaries were either unknown, unidentified, or unprotected. (6) feral animal evidences were relatively high (dogs, coyotes, etc.) (7) Park ranger or authority presences was essentially nil.


The observed use of lower park for running, walking, bicycling, and fishing, were positive use factors – there was little pause for solitude or knowledge which provides a connection with sacred space – as opposed to “utility” space.


ANY opportunity, among the proposed plans to address these issues would positively preserve an integrated public appreciation and joint participation.



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Some Fringe Wildlife

I’ve been getting out early the last few weeks, investigating my list of “archeologically” promising sites left on the margin of development around Vinings.


To say I’m usually observed with a curiosity of odd pursuit by joggers and those stuck in traffic would be right, but there is another startled world of interruption I regularly encounter. The four-legged variety seeking day shelter after a night of roaming and romping in the shadows, are much more distressed by my being out there.


Not being specific to where, I’ve encountered feral cats, wild dogs, two coyotes, one ferret, several raccoons, a rattlesnake the size of a python, possums, geese, and skeptically one large dark something that went crashing off through a thicket. 


…and we’re talking within a 2 mile radius of Paces Ferry and Paces Mill Rd.

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As recounted in “Vinings Revisited,”  Vinings had a vibrate Black Community up until the 1970’s, which was essentially short-changed out of their properties along Paces Ferry Rd to make way for high rise development.

Many had direct lineage to Slave ancestry and help build the railroad and community infrastructure dating back prior to the civil war. In the course of locating and taking oral histories of the oldest removed from this community,  Roy Braswell (age 99) discussed his mother’s death and his grandfather’s time from Logansville, Ga.

His grandfather was questioned by Union forces as to his owner’s treatment, his (grandfather’s mother) was sold to another family in Alabama when he was 7 years old, and how, when sold was given the last name of the family sold to…i.e. the family name of Braswell.

Not an entirely unique story of age and experience of the time, but listening to the depth and expression of his (Roy’s) story gives a chill to the power of voice.  A short piece of this interview will be added later today.

What makes this personal, is that Roy not only knew my father and grandfather, but as it turns out one of my own great grandfather’s relatives, by the name of Rockmore – residing in Logansville in the early 1800’s, married a Braswell there. Somehow this connection, although distant in a past I knew nothing about, makes me feel responsible almost 150 years later.

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Halloween in Vinings

One would surmise that the economy and politics de-jour are scary enough to be deemed the shrouds of darkness that decorate Vinings for Halloween.  The result of either, being more the anticipation of being tricked than a sour tasting treat.

“Little Two Points” (Paces Mill and Paces Ferry),  is a neglected example of this seasonal depression.  Weeds and untrimmed bushes surround a non-functioning fountain, and the former Starbucks property is the worse with knee high weeds along the street. I expect any day to see tumbleweeds rolling across the vacant patio beneath the flapping “For Lease” sign.  …At least “Figos”sign has some Halloweenish orange to it.

With all the civic and society pronunciations of beautification and “spirit,”  it seems somebody needs to rally those positive resources, rather than leave appearances to apparently numb private ownership who can’t find (or pay for) Mexican swing-bladers.  Otherwise, the ghouls and spoils of  lost “stuff” will continue to gather and soil your view at the light as you just try to get home and ignore a sense of collective responsibility of place.   Boo……

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from “Journey Out From The Mundane Shell”  (more info can be found here )



On A teak foredeck

of an ocean schooner,

you were reclined

in a ratten chaise

sipping a slow gin to China,

while Humprey Bogart

massaged your feet,

and over the wind,

you purred…





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From MDJ 10/8, the Cobb Plannning Commission approved 4-1 a rezoning application by D&A Investment Group and Pereira Management for a mixed-use development on Paces Ferry Road near Cumberland Parkway. Commissioner Bob Hovey dissented.

The Board of Commissioners will decide on final approval at their zoning meeting on Oct. 21.

Attorney Jim Ney, representing Paces West, said his clients oppose the development, indicating his clients would  be “overwhelmed by the development, which he said is too dense.” “It will loom over us,” he said. “It’s simply being crammed in there … we think it’s an absolute catastrophe.”

Ron Sifen, representing the Vinings Homeowners Associations, said he too was concerned about traffic and the density of the development. “The applicant is asking for everything, including the kitchen sink that could go on 10.5 acres, …with the current housing market, the county doesn’t need another couple of hundred units “dumped into the market.”

Commissioner Tom McCleskey pointed out “The economy will be a big part of this project being built,” he said. “This is a very complicated project, and it’s a very, very long way from being built.”

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How many cars can pass on a two lane street at one point in time? The answer is two… one going both directions. 

Z-40, which is a rezoning of the ground between Paces West and Marriott Courtyard, is a ploy before the Cobb County Planning Commission (hearing Oct 7th) to build 2 residential buildings (450 units), a high rise office tower, and a 78,000 sq. ft. shopping center. (see e-mail from Ron Sefen Rsifen@aol.com below)

Take the current # of cars passing on Paces Ferry, multiply by insanity, equals = nowhere. Yeah but everybody who would live there would work and shop there and contribute no traffic, right?

Of course with tightened commercial project financing, maybe they’d just carve out a giant hole and leave it on the side of the mountain for better money like what’s happen on upper Stillhouse Road and downtown Smyrna.

If you don’t start getting angry, vocal, and collective about stopping Paces Ferry development, it’s not going to be a recession that brings home values down – you’re not going to be able to leave home or ever get back if you do.

Tony Doyle


Hello Vinings.  The Z-40 Zoning is scheduled for consideration by Cobb County in October.  It comes before the Planning Commission Tuesday. 
Z-40 will generate about 14000 car trips per day, at least 9000 of which will travel on Paces Ferry Road.  Traffic studies on the previous developments, now under construction on Paces Ferry, projected that those developments would cause traffic on Paces Ferry to exceed the capacity of the road.
The current zoning is for 2 high rise office buildings, which would generate more than 6000 car trips per day, approximately 3500 of which would travel on Paces Ferry.  Z-40 proposes 2 highrise residential buildings (450 residential units), plus a highrise office tower, (total of about 600,000 square feet of offices), plus a 78000 square foot shopping center.  Obviously the traffic impact of Z-40 would be much worse than if the property were developed as currently zoned.
Please send emails opposing Z-40.  Right now, we need emails to the Planning Commission.  After the Planning Commission makes a recommendation, you will want to send an email to the Commissioners.  You will receive more information later.
In addition, we really need a large turnout for the Planning Commission meeting and the Board of Commissioners.  Planning Commission meeting is Tuesday Oct 7 at the Commissioners Meeting Room at 100 Cherokee Street on the Square in Marietta.
Send your emails to

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