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Liberty Hill Park plans progressing

By Walter Geiger A consulting firm has completed work on the environmental assessment of a 76.83 acre tract owned by Lamar County on Hwy. 36 East where it plans to build Liberty Hill Park. The county bought the land from the federal government for $1 in 1999 after plans for an FAA facility there were abandoned. Originally, the FAA planned to install an air traffic control radar array on the property but those plans were later abandoned. The consultants, Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, determined development of the park would have no detrimental environmental impact. The park is a SPLOST project among those on the priority list for the next round of one percent local option sales taxes to be voted on by Lamar voters in the March 17 referendum. Phase one is expected to cost about $400,000. ’We have gotten one grant from DNR for $100,000 and are close to getting another $100,000 grant. We should know in April,’ county manager Bob Zellner said. ’We are already working to harvest the timber there and that revenue will help pay for some of the costs, too. I cannot estimate that amount yet but every little bit will help,’ commission chairman Charles Glass added. The land fronts Hwy. 36 East in a sweeping curve near its intersection with High Falls Park Road. It butts up against a 588 acre tract owned by Vulcan Materials that was once sited for a rock quarry. That project has been on hold for quite some time now after fierce opposition from those living in the area. The Hwy. 36 curve is problematic and will require a deceleration lane for a park entrance at considerable cost. The county claims it is a safety issue and is in discussions with DOT with regard to who will pay for it. The complex will include fields for baseball, softball, soccer and tennis along with playgrounds, picnic areas, a pavilion, maintenance office and storage/ workshop building. ’The bottom line is this is a SPLOST project so we will make it happen. Being able to cover some costs with grants, some with timber revenue and any other sources we can find will help us deliver a better product with the limited funds we have available,’ Glass said. Questions and comments regarding the proposed park should be submitted to county manager Bob Zellner at 770-358-5146 or bzellner@lamarcountyga. com. Legal notice regarding the availability of the environmental assessment is published on page 2A of the 2.28.17 print edition of The Herald Gazette.

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