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New Roswell square to boost business?

7:19 PM, Sep 3, 2012   |    comments
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ROSWELL, Ga. -- If you've been to Roswell chances are you've taken a stroll or had a bite to eat on Canton Street.  There's also a good chances you had no idea city hall and its 400 free parking spots were right across the street. That's one reason why the city is looking at a plan to re-route the intersection connecting SR 9, Canton Street and Magnolia Street.

Supporters of the plan say it would create a larger park for community gatherings, possible sites for business development, a pedestrian underpass to keep people and cars flowing freely and improve traffic flow through the area.

The project could also help expand the charm of Canton Street, making the area around it more pedestrian and bike friendly and give City Hall more prominence downtown.

William Lombardo and his wife say right now downtown Roswell has a lot of charm, but feels disconnected and admits most of the attractions are on one street.

"You can't get lost here. That's what you want to do. You want to have people get lost and forget where they parked their car. That's the whole experience," said Lombardo.

The city has looked at a number of projects in recent months, but this one, presented by the city's transportation department, seems more realistic in scope. One big reason, is that the city owns most of the property involved.

The state Department of Transportation has given planners a nod of approval to at least formally study the idea, which would involve re-routing SR 9. Seed money for a formal study could come from the November bond referendum in Roswell to support transportation and recreation projects. Visitors that talked with 11Alive, believe it would be money well spent.

"The first couple of times we came down here it was very hard to park. It was on the middle of the day on Saturday, we drove around for 15 minutes and tried to find a spot and couldn't find anything," said Angel Aucoin, who came to Canton Street to eat dinner with her family on Monday.

The city says it has no intention of rushing the project, and it has no idea where the $11 million dollars currently estimated to build it would come from. But city leaders believe it would be an important economic development tool.

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