Marietta

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Marietta is a municipality located in central Cobb County, Georgia6, and is its county seat. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 58,748, making it one of metro Atlanta's largest suburbs.

Marietta is little known outside the Atlanta area except as the location of a speedtrap on Interstate 75. The traffic speed limit drops from an almost entirely unenforced 65 mph to a rigidly enforced 55 mph on Interstate 75 as it passes through the city limits. Marietta did appear in the national news in November 2004 when two 13 year old schoolgirls at Cobb Middle School poisoned 10 of their classmates with a cake. Marietta also appeared in the news in July 2006 with the indictment of two jihadi terror suspects.

Atlantans know that the sole local landmark in Marietta is the Big Chicken, a large, metal, animated chicken structure. Southern Polytechnic State University and the unaccredited Life University are located there. The municipaity also operates its own school district, separate from the county. Dobbins Air Reserve Base is on the south side of town, separated from SPSU by a Lockheed-Martin manufacturing plant. The school district is the smallest in Metro Atlanta, operating only one high school, Marietta High School, one middle school, Marietta Middle School, and several elementary schools. Many, such as Marietta High School, and A.L. Buruss are Georgia "Schools of Excellence." Mean SAT scores in Georgia are among the lowest in the United States.

Voting in the municipality is overwhelmingly Republican, as is the true across the northern arc of middle class Atlanta suburbs. Notwithstanding the libertarian rhetoric of Marietta's elites, the municipality operates Marietta FiberNet, a fiber optic network currently being privatized (sold) to a company, and Marietta Power, both under the auspices of the Board of Lights & Water (BLW). The BLW is also party to the Cobb-Marietta Water Authority.

Downtown Marietta features Glover Park, the town square and former location of the now ornamental county courthouse. The Strand Theatre on the square is being renovated to its original design. CSX trains between Atlanta and Chattanooga still run a block west of the town square, past the train depot (now the visitor center) and the Kennesaw House, one of only two buildings in Marietta not burned to the ground in Sherman's March to the Sea.

Marietta's sister cities are Heredia, Costa Rica and Linz am Rhein, Germany and Sukkur, Pakistan.

The city's official website is located at http://www.city.marietta.ga.us.

Contents

Geography

Marietta is located at 33°57'12" North, 84°32'26" West (33.953353, -84.540614)1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 56.9 km² (22.0 mi²). 56.7 km² (21.9 mi²) of it is land and 0.2 km² (0.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.27% water.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there are 58,748 people, 23,895 households, and 13,022 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,036.2/km² (2,684.1/mi²). There are 25,227 housing units at an average density of 445.0/km² (1,152.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 56.49% White, 29.50% African American, 0.32% Native American, 2.97% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 7.99% from other races, and 2.65% from two or more races. 16.93% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Big Chicken

The extraordinary attention paid to the Big Chicken, a grotesque advertisement situated on an otherwise undistinguished intersection, reflects both the pervasive ugliness of unrestrained suburban growth and the pathetic emotional need to relate to a marker or place of orientation of any kind in a sea of sameness. Suburbs like Marietta have difficulty establishing identities separate from their core urban areas. This problem is exacerbated when they are suburbs of cities like Atlanta that are themselves poorly defined.

Terrorism

On Wednesday July 18, 2006, Syed Ahmed (a georgia tech student) and Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, both U.S. citizens, were indicted for a jihadist terror plot involving Dobbins Air Reserve Base in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta.

Further Reading

  • Albert C. Smith and Kendra Schank, "A Grotesque Measure for Marietta", Journal of Urban Design, October 1999, Vol. 4, Issue 3. (A critique of the ugliness of unrestrained suburban growth.)
  • Bernard McGhee. "Dad Apologizes for Poisoned Cake at School." Associated Press November 18, 2004.
  • n.a. "Atlanta Pair Allegedly Trained For Jihad: Men Allegedly Scouted Targets in Washington, Atlanta Area." CNN.com. July 19, 2006.
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