Cobb County is eyeing 277 properties to purchase for parks, but will not release the locations of the potential parks. A 15-member committee appointed by the County Commission will meet behind closed doors to evaluate the properties and make recommendations. The County says the secrecy is necessary to keep land speculators from driving up the prices.
Critics, however, don’t buy the county’s argument now, particularly amid a recession that is socking property values. They say publicizing the locations of the properties could encourage owners to make their prices more competitive.
“I’m not sure if I really understand all of the secrecy around this,” said Jeff Wood, who serves on the 15-member committee county commissioners appointed to evaluate the properties. “I just happen to think that it is may be a little bit shortsighted because there is so much competition for the $40 million.”
Cobb County Commission Chair and candidate for Attorney General Sam Olens first deferred to the County Attorney about the secrecy, but then added:
Olens, however, said he would direct the county to disclose the locations of the properties the committee ultimately recommends, as he did after the 2006 parks bond issue. County commissioners, Olens added, will vote on purchasing the parkland in public after giving residents an opportunity to comment.