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Marietta, located in Cobb County, approximately 20 miles from Atlanta, is one of the booming exurban job centers growing up around the country. Cobb County likes to market the area's recreational attractions by referring to itself as "the fun side of Atlanta," and Mariettans spend hundreds of thousands of dollars sowing seeds and planting trees and shrubs to promote beautification throughout the city. The town square, bleached-white gazebos, and the antebellum mansions give Marietta the misty feeling of the Old South. Yet the Wall Street Journal describes the city as "the intersection of great economic, social and geographic changes." The city and surrounding county were totally transformed with office buildings, warehouses, light manufacturing factories, and retail shops. Cobb County invested more in infrastructure, including water, sewer, road, and other utilities between 1970 and 1990 than any other county in Georgia, and during that period more houses were built in the county than anywhere else in the state. The influx of new residents has even resulted in the popular use of the new pronunciation of the city's name, MARRY-etta, rather than the traditional May-RETT-a. In 2002 an analysis produced by the Georgia Municipal Organization and a local magazine considered such things as fiscal management, public safety, infrastructure, citizen participation, cultural activities, and community partnerships, and concluded that Marietta was a "City of Excellence."

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