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Powder Springs DDA Agrees to Land Sale for Downtown Development

June 11, 2021

Powder Springs Downtown Development Authority has agreed to terms with Novare Group that will have the Atlanta-based developer purchase 6.3 acres of downtown property in order to construct an estimated $38 million mixed-use development with multi-family units and retail space.

Under an agreement reached by the two parties in mid-May, Novare Group is set to purchase a 4.9-acre assemblage on which currently sits Powder Springs’ City Hall and Community Development facilities, along with a nearby 1.4-acre property on Hotel Avenue. The purchased land would be redeveloped by Novare to construct nearly 5,000 square feet of commercial property to allow for separate retail and restaurant spaces, along with 221 apartments with surface parking.

The project’s 221 multi-family apartments would create a greater residential presence downtown, which city leaders say would fuel current and new businesses in the corridor and other nearby areas.

“Real estate experts have been telling us for years: Retail follows rooftops,” said Mayor Al Thurman. “City residents have been seeking new restaurants and other businesses for years, and this will create further potential for those entities to come to Powder Springs.”

Novare will purchase the 6.3 acres from the Downtown Development Authority for $3.5 million.

“We at Novare Group are honored and excited to be working with Mayor Thurman and his team at Powder Springs on this mixed-use town center development at Thurman Springs Park,” said Jim Borders, CEO of Novare Group. “We are all in on the Powder Springs vision, the proximity to the Silver Comet Trail, and the overall friendly quality of life in southwest Cobb County.”

Powder Springs is in the design phase of a project to expand and remodel the city’s existing Municipal Court facility to add a second story to the facility and allow it to accommodate City Hall and Community Development personnel and operations. The city will relocate its personnel to other DDA-owned properties downtown after moving out of the its buildings on the city hall property assemblage and until renovations to Municipal Court facilities are completed.

Novare Group is no stranger to the metro market, having developed multifamily units in Atlanta, Lawrenceville and Newnan, as well as Augusta and across the Sunbelt region, from Virginia to Texas. Since its founding in 1992, it has developed more than 16,500 residences and 1.2 million square feet of Class-A office space, overseeing over $3.5 billion of real estate development and investment, according to its website.

Powder Springs is one of Cobb County’s fastest-growing cities, with an estimated population of 15,758 per 2019 Census estimates. It is also the county’s oldest city, originally incorporated as Springville in 1838 and later the nickname “Gunpowder Springs” because of the gunpowder-like sediment that resulted from the mineral content of the spring water. Today, residents and visitors to Powder Springs enjoy the closest downtown to the Silver Comet Trail, a 61.5-mile paved trail that runs through Cobb, Paulding and Polk counties.

W&A Engineering Expands into Metro Atlanta

June 11, 2021

W&A Engineering announced today the expansion of its team into Metro Atlanta. W&A
Engineering continues to grow its reach across the southeastern United States as they carry out
their mission to build better communities.

W&A Engineering’s Atlanta office will be led by Director of Operations W. Brant Aden, PE,
MBA, LEED GA. Brant has over 20 years of experience providing project management,
business development, and civil engineering design services to a variety of real estate projects
including commercial, industrial, multifamily, health, transportation, structural, and public sector

Over the past two decades, W&A has grown into a rapidly expanding multidisciplinary firm with
a national reach, having managed projects in 46 States. Since the firm’s inception, the foundation
for W&A Engineering’s success has been achieved through a commitment to building better
communities by providing innovative design, efficient engineering, and professional service one
client at a time.

W&A Engineering is an energetic and dedicated team of highly skilled, solution-oriented civil
and traffic engineers, surveyors, landscape architects, economic development consultants, and
planners. They strive to balance the needs of clients with the needs of communities to improve
the built environment and encourage quality projects in the public and private sectors. Through
the unlimited potential of their constantly expanding group of talented engineering professionals,
W&A strives to be the premier land planning and civil engineering firm in the United States.

With a team of over 80 professionals, W&A Engineering can provide Civil Engineering, Traffic
Engineering, Landscape Architecture, Land Surveying, Planning, Program Management, and
Economic Development Consulting to communities all over the nation. In addition to the new
Atlanta office, W&A Engineering also has offices in Athens, Augusta, and Monroe, Georgia, as
well as in Nashville, Tennessee.

W&A Engineering’s Atlanta office, located at 2300 Windy Ridge Parkway SE Suite 1105
Atlanta, GA 30339, will serve as a regional hub for W&A to continue to forge new relationships
and improve communities as they expand across the southeast.

For questions about services or to reach W&A’s staff at this location, please call (404) 551-3634.
For more information on available services, please visit

New Bachelor’s Degree at GHC Focuses on the Future of Engineering and Construction

June 10, 2021

The technology used in engineering and construction is rapidly advancing. Proficiency in digital skills is a must for the building and construction industry. And now, students at Georgia Highlands College (GHC) can pursue a bachelor’s in Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) to meet the rising demand.

BIM is the technology-driven process for estimating, creating and managing information and visuals on a construction project. A building information model represents a 3D version of every aspect of the project, from facade to foundation to structural steel.

GHC’s partnerships with local industry leaders in the field led to an affordable degree pathway to a fast-growing sector with high-paying careers.

“We surveyed business leaders, both near and far, to determine what needs they had and what skills they saw were lacking in the current workforce,” Dean for the School of STEM Sarah Coakley said. “We listened, and we built our curriculum around their feedback.”

Rob Gittens, of BIM Sync’d, stated the demand for graduates in this area is high and continues to climb year after year. Gittens’ company expertly helps other companies in the construction industry strategically adopt BIM processes into their workflow.

“With ever-changing technology and a heightened sense of efficiency, BIM and BIM modeling are becoming as integral a part of the job as 2D CAD drafting was years ago,” he said.

Coakley, who will begin as GHC’s interim Provost and Chief Academic Officer in July, added that building the program around what employers and industry leaders are looking for starts with a curriculum designed for practice-oriented study.

“Our students in BIM can expect hands-on learning, project-based program management experience, competitive internships, and so much more,” she said. “Our goal is for our graduates to be proficient in all of the main BIM software platforms that they are likely to encounter in the workplace.”

As a part of GHC’s collaboration with industry leaders, GHC will offer training on various software platforms at no additional cost to the students. Graduates will also complete their degree with several sought-after industry certificates, such as the SDS/2 Estimator Certification which teaches model-based estimating for realistic cost expectations.

The new bachelor’s program will go before the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools for certification this fall. Slated to come online in January, it is one of just two programs of its kind in the nation. The other is at Purdue University.

Visit for information on applying and getting started at GHC.

June Marquee Monday to Feature Shan Cooper

June 9, 2021

Monday, June 14 | 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Cobb Chamber will host Shan Cooper, Executive Director of the Atlanta Committee for Progress at its June Marquee Monday luncheon, presented by Superior Plumbing, on June 14, 2021 at the Coca-Cola Roxy Theatre.

In 2018, Cooper joined the Atlanta Committee for Progress team. The ACP’s mission is to provide leadership on key issues important to economic growth and inclusion for all citizens in the City of Atlanta. The committee includes more than 40 highly-engaged chief executive officers, university presidents and civic leaders who offer expertise in service to Atlanta and its future development.

While following the advice of top public health officials, the Cobb Chamber is updating its COVID-19 event protocols to include six people per table. At this time, the Coca-Cola Roxy requires masks for all attendees as they move around the venue. The Chamber will not conduct temperature checks at this event.

For a list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding attending Chamber events in person, please visit our site.

Parking is available at The Battery Red Deck for free up to three hours. For further parking options, please refer to the Battery Atlanta Parking Guide. A security screening will be required at check-in.


Check-in & Lunch: 11:15 AM

Program- 11:45 AM

Conclusion- 1:00 PM

Registration closes and refunds will no longer be available after June 9th. 

Thank you to our sponsors Superior Plumbing, Life University, Coca-Cola Roxy & Live Nation Special Events, Delaware North, Next Page Live Event Services, and Peachtree Tents and Events!

For Mount Paran Christian School, Bluebird Trail Brings Science to Life

June 9, 2021

After a lot of preparation and weeks of anticipation, lower school students at Mount Paran Christian School now hear the charming call of dozens of baby bird hatchlings across the school’s 68-acre campus. February was bluebird month in Georgia, when the brilliantly-hued Eastern Bluebird began the process of seeking nesting spots and crafting its signature cup-shaped nest in anticipation of warmer weather. This spring, MPCS students were front-and-center, supporting the bluebirds and witnessing the entire hatching process.

After years of development and habitat loss, pesticide use, and introduction of non-native species, the bluebird population had for decades been on the decline. Thankfully, due to conservation efforts, restrictions on harmful chemicals such as DDT, and increased public awareness, the number of bluebirds is no longer declining. To keep the positive momentum of stabilizing the bluebird population, MPCS deployed its own nesting boxes on campus during the 2018-2019 school year. For 2020-2021, the bluebird nesting program has grown, with seven nesting boxes on campus – one for each grade level from preschool age three through fifth grade. The boxes are placed in various locations around campus on the MPCS Bluebird Trail.

Tina Baker, lower school administrator and lower school academic technology specialist, shares, “The MPCS Bluebird Trail creates an awareness that allows our students to be purposeful in caring for God’s precious creatures and the environment, while gaining an understanding that all of us have the ability and responsibility to make contributions in caring for this world.” The goal is for each grade level to monitor their own nesting box, with third graders overseeing a nesting box outfitted with a webcam.

The goal for the nesting boxes is to attract bluebird pairs – monogamous during the mating season – to campus. Students in the lower school are able to observe the birds, gaining awareness of the declining bluebird population while learning more about nature and how ecological impacts affect the environment.

Working under the guidance of local partner and Master Gardener Jim Beardan, founder of “Green Meadows Preserve Park Blue Bird Trail,” MPCS installed its first three nesting boxes in the spring of 2019. The school received a grant from the Robert F. Schumann Foundation to provide for the nesting boxes and the expansion of the lower school garden.
One challenge included finding ideal nesting box locations for the sometimes picky bird pairs. Another challenge is competition for nesting space from other birds. House Sparrows and European Starlings are fierce competitors for nesting spaces and are much more aggressive than bluebirds. Despite these challenges, the first year of the nesting boxes on campus met with success. In addition to four Carolina Chickadee hatchlings, 12 baby bluebirds hatched during the inaugural year. For the 2020-2021 year, lower school students welcomed 11 baby bluebirds, 5 Carolina Chickadees, and 2 Carolina wrens.

A new addition to the program in the spring of 2020 allowed interested fifth-graders the opportunity to serve as mentors to students in the other lower school grades. Students were chosen via an application process managed by Fifth Grade Teacher Shannon Howard. One fifth-grader shared, “I would love to teach other students about bluebirds. This would be a great opportunity to learn, grow, and reflect. Bluebirds are wonderful, beautiful creatures.” The fifth-grade bluebird mentor program was temporarily postponed this season due to COVID restrictions. There is also the potential to maximize cross-divisional learning opportunities with high school science student partnerships with the lower school.

As the program gains momentum each school year, the goal is to further integrate the nesting boxes into the lower school curriculum. Students will continue contributing to scientific research on bluebird populations as they report their observations and data to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s nationwide NestWatch program, whose goal is to track trends in the reproductive biology of birds. Observations will be added to those of thousands of other NestWatchers in a continually growing database used by researchers to understand and study birds.

MPCS has managed to help increase the local bluebird population, bring awareness of the plight facing the environment, and demonstrate that everyone can make a difference. Families can start by adding a nesting box to their yard. To learn more about the bluebird program at Mount Paran Christian School or how to build a nesting box, visit

About Mount Paran Christian School
Mount Paran Christian School, the largest private Christian school in Cobb County, is a non-denominational, college-preparatory school for students in preschool age three through grade 12. MPCS is committed to excellence in academics, award-winning arts, and championship athletics, all within a Christian environment with small class sizes. Founded in 1976, MPCS is fully accredited (SAIS/AdvancED) and located near Kennesaw Mountain on a 68-acre collegiate-like campus. Providing academic excellence in a Christ-centered environment, MPCS unites with home and church to prepare servant-leaders to honor God, love others, and walk in truth.

WorkSource Cobb Working to Help Businesses Find Talent

June 8, 2021

At WorkSource Cobb, the main mission is to provide and promote employment and training opportunities that strengthen our workforce. A qualified and educated labor force plays a critical role in the economic development and viability of our community. Businesses considering relocation or expansion need qualified workers to meet their business needs. WorkSource Cobb helps ensure an adequate supply of skilled workers while supporting the recruitment needs of businesses.

WorkSource Cobb provides a range of services to employers seeking a skilled workforce. The Business Services Team will work with you to determine the best approach in meeting your organization’s employment and training needs — at no cost. Services include:

  • Customized recruitment and hiring assistance
  • Funds for training new employees
  • Qualified candidate referrals and résumé screening
  • Business process improvement projects to avert layoffs
  • Job fairs and job postings
  • Access to the Mobile Career Center

If you are having difficulty in hiring workers with the skill sets your company needs, the following programs can help offset the costs of training:

  • On-the-Job Training (OJT)
  • Incumbent Worker Training (IWT)
  • Apprenticeships

Let us help you with your training and employment needs. Contact us today at 770-528-4300 or

The Dave Krache Foundation to Host Sports Fanatic 5K

June 8, 2021

The Sports Fanatic 5K is back and better than ever! Join the Dave Krache Foundation on Saturday, July 10 in Downtown Kennesaw for this year’s unforgettable race.

The Sports Fanatic 5K is a Peachtree Road Race Qualifier. Not a runner? Come walk and enjoy an incredible after-party for race participants!

Festivities begin at 7 a.m. Registration is $25 online before July 7, $30 to register July 8, and $35 to register day-of on July 10. Participants can register HERE.

The Dave Krache Foundation was founded in 2012 to help local kids play in their community league sports in and around metro Atlanta – even if his or her family is not in a financial position to afford the application or park fee. The Foundation focuses on boys and girls playing softball, baseball, football, basketball, and more, and currently relies on support from small businesses and individual donors.

Know a kid that needs help? Let us know where we can be in touch:

Registration for Cobb PARKS 2021 Summer Adult Athletic Leagues Now Open

June 8, 2021

2021 Cobb PARKS Adult Leagues are currently open for registration!

Spikeball League

Spikeball is a team sport played by two teams of two players. Opposing teams line up across from each other with the Spikeball net in the center. Once the ball is served, players can move anywhere they want. The object of the game is to hit the ball into the net so that the opposing team cannot return it. Registration is $70/team and $35 for individual registrants. Leagues will play 7 weeks plus a single elimination tournament. The number of teams in each division will determine the league/playoff structure. Teams will play a best of 3 series each week. Teams will consist of 2 (min) – 4 (max) players. Only 2 players may play at a time.

Leagues will be offered in West Cobb at Lost Mountain Park and in East Cobb at East Cobb Park with Terrell Mill and Fullers Park as alternate locations. Men’s Leagues will be played on Tuesday night and Coed Leagues will be played on Thursday night! Players ages 16+ are welcome to play. Registration for the Summer Spikeball Leagues will open Sunday, May 9th. Registration will close Thursday, July 1st. Games will begin July 6th & 8th!

Terrell Mill Thursday Coed Kickball League

Registration closes Monday, June 28th. Individual registration closes Wednesday, June 23rd. League starts Thursday, July 8th. $160/team for an 8-game season. $30/individual registration.

Al Bishop Thursday Cornhole Leagues

Registration closes Sunday, June 27th. League starts Thursday, July 8th. $70/team for 6 weeks plus a single elimination post season tournament. $35/individual registration. Beginner open, intermediate men’s and coed, and advanced open leagues offered.

Sunday Men’s & Coed Flag Football Leagues

Registration closes Sunday, July 4th. Individual registration closes Sunday, June 27th. League starts Sunday, July 11th. $440/team for an 8-game season. $55/individual registration.

Terrell Mill Monday Ultimate Frisbee 7v7 League

Registration opens Friday May 21st and closes June 27th. League starts Monday, July 12. $120/ team for an 8-game season. $25/Individual.

For questions about any of the programs, please contact Brody Whitlock at 770-528-8862 or

Georgia Commute Options to Host Return to Office Roundtables

June 7, 2021

This time last year, Georgia Commute Options mobilized virtual events, digital resources, and webinars to help employers around the region adapt to telework in the time of COVID-19. As employers start to return to the office, or are at least considering their next steps, we would like to give you the opportunity to gain valuable insights on what executives, managers, and employees throughout the region have reported about their telework experience over the past year and what concerns they have with their return. 

Is your organization still thinking through how to bring employees back to the office? Have you already learned valuable lessons during the return process? Join us for one of our roundtable sessions to share and learn from other employers throughout the metro region.  

GCO is hosting multiple roundtable sessions virtually starting on June 8 through June 17.

  • Learn some of the best practices for maintaining a hybrid work environment and considerations for employees commuting back to the office. 
  • Get a sneak peek of GCO’s new Return to Office resources that we can customize for your organization’s needs. 

Click here to register for one of our roundtable sessions. Contact Ali Nuckles at for more information.

Georgia Symphony to Receive National Endowment for the Arts Grant for Sensory Friendly Concert

June 7, 2021

The Georgia Symphony Orchestra has been approved for a $10,000 Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts to support its sixth-annual Sensory Friendly concert, which will take place on March 12, 2022.

 “It is a tribute to the GSO’s board, staff and musicians to have received this grant from the NEA,” said GSO Executive Director Susan Stensland. “We are excited to contribute to the arts and culture of our region in such a unique and positive way for members of an often-underserved community.”

The GSO’s Sensory Friendly Concert is an integral part of its educational and outreach program. Featuring a vibrant, selection of orchestral music to delight, enchant and stimulate the senses, this extraordinary performance series is designed to create a safe and welcoming experience for individuals with sensory sensitivities and their families.

During this 50-minute program, the orchestra relaxes house rules and encourages the audience to respond to the music however they choose, whether that be moving around the concert hall, dancing, or vocalizing along with the music.  A Quiet Zone and a pre-program instrument “Petting Zoo” also are provided.  

For more information on GSO programs, visit