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State could pay quarter million for median project

By Michael Davis

Henry County and the city of McDonough could wrangle as much as $250,000 from state transportation officials for a project to landscape the median of Jonesboro Road, the state's transportation commissioner told city and county leaders Tuesday.

A temporary state route, Jonesboro Road is being widened from two lanes to four between Interstate 75 and the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks just inside the McDonough city limits. City and county officials want to plant decorative trees and shrubs in the median to create a "gateway" effect as commuters enter the city on the busy corridor.

DOT Commissioner Harold Linnenkohl told a gathering of city council members from McDonough and county commissioners and their staffs that the state could possibly contribute the money if the local governments could foot the rest of the estimated $500,000-bill.

"It's an entrance into Henry County and into the county seat," said McDonough Councilwoman Gail Notti. "It's our first attempt to make such a statement."

Linnenkohl said he favored similar gateway projects, also implemented in Columbus and Macon, and he is trying to fund similar projects on Georgia's interstates near state lines.

"I like these gateway projects," he said.

Linnenkohl also expressed favor toward a project city officials hope will relieve some of the traffic around the downtown Square. City leaders want to extend Hood Street from Ga. Highway 155 to Ga. 42 and cul-de-sac Veterans Drive, which county officials complained bisects a county-city park.

"It's an accident waiting to happen," said County Commission Chairman Jason Harper.

The local governments would likely foot the bill for the work, but wanted state input before getting started.

"What you're talking about is keeping people off the Square – I think that's a good project," Linnenkohl said.