Duluth planning chief leaving for Smyrna

DULUTH - Duluth's longtime planning and zoning chief Ken Suddreth has resigned to take a job as director of community development for the city of Smyrna.

Suddreth, who has been in the position in Duluth for seven years is leaving for the Cobb County city which has a population of 50,000, almost twice as large as that of Duluth. Feb. 2 will be his last day on the job in Gwinnett County.

"It's a bigger city, the staff is bigger and the budget and there are more opportunities," Suddreth said in a telephone interview on Monday.

In farewell, the City Council presented him with an elegant, framed picture of the fountain and its reflection in the pool on Duluth's Town Hall Green at night.

"Ken has served us very well for seven years now," Mayor pro tem Douglas Mundrick said. "We appreciate everything Mr. Suddreth has done."

Council member Jim Hall added, "We thank Mr. Suddreth on the job he's done and wish him well."

In regular business, the panel awarded a $75,000 bid to the HDR firm in Dunwoody to develop and design the city park master plans for six recreational areas. These include Taylor, Rogers Bridge, Scott Hudgens, W.P. Jones and Church Street parks and the Central City Bikeway.

Nine proposals ranging in price from $31,500 to $240,725 were submitted.

In speaking for the winning bid, Kathy Marelle, Duluth parks and recreation director Kathy Marelle, said a committee ranked the proposals based on "scope of service, experience, community involvement, value and the Central City Bikeway.

"We wanted to know where the company was located, how easily accessible it was and their experience of local government," she said.

HDR, which specializes in park design and planning, ranked high in community involvement and scope of service, she said.

"All their services are in-house, and they offered more community input of all the proposals," Marelle said. "We liked the way they looked at our community. HDR was the best value."

In other business, the council:

•Awarded the bid of $29,000 or Mauldin & Jenkins to conduct the city's audit for the years 2007 through 2010.

•Amended the Fiscal Year 2007 budget to include payments by two athletic associations of $3,937.50 each for the use of the Bunten Road Park baseball/softball fields. The agreement calls for the city to maintain the fields before, during and after the events.

•Approved amounts of $3,682 and $6,3000 to repair water leaks in Bunten road Park and at the Duluth Public Safety building and approved the sale of property on Romulus Drive, bought in 1963, through public auction or sealed bids.