The city of Marietta and the community dedicated Joe Mack Wilson Park, 190 Roswell St., in a ceremony May 23.
The park, at the corner of Anderson and Roswell streets, honors former Marietta mayor Joe Mack Wilson.
"I didn't work as much with Joe Mack as his family and Governor Barnes, but you see his footprints in this city and this state, and I'd say he was one of the most powerful men I've ever met," mayor Steve Tumlin said. "Joe Mack used his power purely for this city, the county and this state. The General wouldn't be here in the state of Georgia, and there are so many things that would have never gotten done. I know as mayor that I'm privileged to enjoy the things he brought to this city."
"A lot of different people have been involved in this project," city manager Bill Bruton said. "The project doesn't just include the park, it includes all of Roswell Street, and we're currently working up near the Big Chicken trying to get that entrance to the city ready. As we were designing Roswell Street and trying to think how we could create this wonderful entrance into our downtown, we saw this area that was basically just a mound of dirt and a little grass," he said. "A lot of people sat down and thought about it and said what a wonderful opportunity it was to give a wonderful entrance to the downtown and give this wonderful front door to show the beauty that we have in Marietta."
Many people, including previous City Councils and elected officials, supported the project, Bruton said. "A lot of this project was created from visioning processes that occurred in 2001 and 2002, including Envision Marietta for all of these beautiful entryways into Marietta," he said. "While the park was being built, we had a wonderful opportunity thanks to Victoria Turney and her committees with the Marietta Kiwanis Club for a Forever Remember statue that would really evoke a lot of feelings for the families that are left behind when people go off to war and folks who serve here locally including public safety officials."
"Look around and you will see Joe Mack Wilson in everything in our community," former Georgia governor Roy Barnes said. "He looked after Cobb County, he looked after Marietta, and he looked after me," he said. "Joe Mack knew how to use the levers of power not for the benefit of himself but for the benefit of his community. His first and his last love was always the city of Marietta. The square in Marietta and the renaissance that is being experienced and has been experienced the last few years is a direct result of the efforts of Joe Mack Wilson. Everywhere we look, we see his handiwork. He never used his influence for personal gain. Joe Mack's impact will be with us forever."
"I think it's remarkable that 20 years after he passed on that this community is still recognizing his accomplishments," Wilson's granddaughter and former GPTV producer Ashlie Wilson Pendley said.
About Joe Mack Wilson
Wilson served as mayor of Marietta from 1990 until he died in office May 17, 1993. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and served in the Georgia House of Representatives for more than 25 years, where he served as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.
During his lifetime, Wilson developed the Platinum Triangle Community Improvement District, doubled the funding for roads in Marietta and Cobb County, developed Kennesaw State University and relocated Southern Technical Institute (now known as Southern Polytechnic State University) to Cobb County. He was very active in the community, serving in Marietta Kiwanis and the Downtown Marietta Development Authority.
Wilson received several awards for his service to the community including the Cobb County Citizen of the Year award, Honorary Alumnus and Founder's Award for Kennesaw State University, the Georgia Municipal Association's Public Service Award, the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation award, the Georgia Mental Health Association's Most Effective Legislator of the Year award, the Cobb County Bar Association's Liberty Bell award, and the Frank Simpson Memorial award.
A devoted family man, husband and father, Wilson owned and operated a three-generation, family-owned business with his sons.
The project was funded by a grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission.
Encouraging revitalization of Marietta's current parks and establishing new parks for active and passive use are goals City Council established as part of Marietta's vision statement.
More info: Marietta's Parks and Recreation Department, 770-794-5601