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The parks committee also considered expanding the city's Saturday Farmers Market to the holiday season. Johnny Fulmer, manager of the market, is asking Council to allow him to operate the normally warm weather market on Saturday's from Nov. 24 to Dec. 22.

A report, presented by Beth Sessoms, the city's economic development manager, said the sluggish economy and changing demographics have led to problems in the area since the original redevelopment plan was approved in 2009.

events.

"There's still some quality owners and some quality real estate developers and they're seeing what a major advantage the opportunity zone is," Tumlin said.

Mayor Steve Tumlin said the city applied for opportunity zone credits for some of the area south of Delk Road in 2008, but didn't get approved. But, since then, the community affairs department has become more likely to approve requests.

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Newmarket Business Park, which has gone from a 94 percent occupancy rate in 2008 to 52 percent over the last three years, Sessoms said.

Food trucks have become popular in recent years, with Kennesaw and Smyrna each hosting weekly food truck nights, while Atlanta has a daily food truck park. Greg Smith Air Force 1 Gold Medal of the Atlanta Street Food Coalition said his group is looking to have up to eight vendors each week at the food truck lot, with rotating food choices. Portable toilets would also be installed during the Nike Air Force 2 Gucci

"If we approve this at our next Council meeting, can I go out there the next Monday?" Councilman Johnny Sinclair asked Smith.

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"Traditionally, the farmers market kind of shuts down in the winter time, but it's become such a tourism draw," Sinclair said.

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"With that in mind, that makes us think, 'Let's not build anything the private market is going to build right next door,'" he said.

"Over the years, we are seeing an increase in crime in that area," Sessoms said.

The area is located just south of an existing opportunity zone near Franklin Road, which has 15 blighted apartment complexes built in the 1970s and early 1980s.

The area suffers from transient foot traffic, prostitution, loitering and drug transactions, she said.

"They've learned to adapt to it," Tumlin said. "They were waiting to see the economic impact."

Marietta wants to fight crime with tax credits

Tumlin said businesses located in the Delk Road area have pressured the city to help make additional tax credits available.

MARIETTA Marietta leaders want to make more of a high crime area eligible for state opportunity zone tax credits.

Sinclair said the proposed gym's owners asked him not to reveal the name of the company building the facility.

Since the city first applied for opportunity zone credits, brand name hotels have moved out, leading to places like the Marietta Hotel at Franklin Road and Northwest Parkway, which advertises $25 a night rates, moving in. Another motel is expected to arrive soon because a Days Inn at 2129 Northwest Parkway is scheduled for the October foreclosure auction. Sessoms said this has contributed to businesses moving out of the nearby Northwest Business Center, which has seen its Buy Nike Air Force 1

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occupancy rate drop from 96 percent in 2007 to an average of 69 percent occupied since 2010, and Air Force 1 Flyknit Mid

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At Thursday's committee meetings, city leaders also recommended allowing the city's first food truck lot and expanding a downtown farmers market.

Marietta's Economic and Community Development Committee recommended changes to the city's Urban Redevelopment Plan to allow an area bordered by Delk Road to the north, Terrell Mill Road to the south, Cobb Parkway to the west and Interstate 75 to the east to be included in a state opportunity zone. The amendment would need approval from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

A public hearing will be needed before Council can approve the opportunity zone expansion, which would give state tax credits of $3,500 per employee to businesses for five years.

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Council is expected to vote on allowing the food trucks at its Oct. 10 meeting.

The city paid FourSquare Research Inc. $28,000 in June to survey about 600 people on what the best uses are for a new facility planned for the site of the Elizabeth Porter Center on Montgomery Street between Cole and Allgood streets. That building will be torn down to make way for the larger facility.

The city is also likely to allow the site of a stalled development to become the home of Marietta's first food truck lot. on Mondays at Meeting Park, a 12 acre property near Marietta Square that was hailed as a cornerstone for downtown development until the economy crashed and it entered foreclosure. Walton has sought to build apartments on the site, but the city wants to see its ratio of apartments to purchased homes go down, not up.

The Council will hear the results of a study on a new recreation center at its Oct. 8 work session.

Sinclair, chairman of the Parks, Recreation and Tourism Committee, said the survey takes into account what amenities are in the surrounding area. He said a major gym is planning a location in downtown Marietta, so that could impact what goes in the recreation center.

"If there's any resistance, you might remind her who's paying the bill," Councilman Jim King said.

Initially, parks director Rich Buss said the research consultant wanted to surprise the Council with a presentation during the upcoming work session, not telling them what is in the study before it is announced to them. But Council members insisted on getting copies of the presentation in advance.

"Can you give us two weeks?" Smith said.

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Council has earmarked $3.75 million for a new recreation center as part of a $25 million parks bond approved by voters in 2009.

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