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Mary Alice to get makeover at Hwy. 9
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Forsyth County News
For two decades, Cumming has sought to improve the intersection of Hwy. 9 and Mary Alice Park Road. It would appear the wait is almost over.

“Finally, the state and federal government is getting around to do that project,” said Mayor H. Ford Gravitt during a city council meeting Tuesday.

About five years ago, the city agreed to pay for a portion of the project. Since then, the state Department of Transportation’s priorities have shifted.

But the DOT is ready to begin acquiring the property necessary to begin work.

The city voted Tuesday to pay $1.5 million toward acquiring the land needed to accommodate a four-way signal at Mary Alice and Meadow Drive.

“This project has been at the center of controversy and problems for many, many years,” Gravitt said. “[We’re] finally hopefully going to see some progress out there.”

In other developments Tuesday night:

• The city is prepared to condemn two parcels along Buford Dam Road for which it has been trying to get easements.

Since September, City Administrator Steve Bennett has secured all the other needed property.

The project will widen the road and bridge to four lanes with sidewalks between Hwy. 9 and Sanders Road. It will be a joint effort of the city and DOT.

In addition to right of way expenses, the project is expected to cost more than $5 million, with the DOT footing nearly $2.46 million of that.

“Hopefully, you’ll do it without condemnation,” Gravitt told Bennett.

•   •   •

The city approved amending its 2009 budget to come in line with state requirements.

The city was able to balance the budget despite some revenue declines from its police department, fairgrounds and playhouse.

Expenditures were up in each department except for fire and capital projects. The city pulled additional money from various departments to cover the areas needed.