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Cumming City Park closed for makeover

Renovations could last until fall 2015

POSTED: January 24, 2014 12:20 a.m.
Crystal Ledford/

Cumming City Park has closed in preparation for renovations. Structures such as these will be removed to make way for improvements.

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Cumming City Park will be closed to the public for an indefinite amount of time, officials announced this week.

Greg Little, director of the city’s recreation and parks department, said the closure is needed as department staff begin preparations for renovating the park. It took effect Wednesday.

“We wanted to make everyone aware that in preparation for the eventual building that is going to be going on there, there is a large amount of removal and takedown of the buildings, fencing and those types of items,” Little said.

The city council approved a conceptual design for the revamped park last month, and agreed to the closure during a meeting Tuesday night.

The proposed changes include removing the old swimming pool and creating a new multi-purpose building.

The structure would house offices that are currently located across the street in an old church building, as well as several rooms for activities such as dance and exercise classes.

Other improvements include the addition of a kids’ splash pad area, an outdoor amphitheater, new playground and “tot lot” areas. Parking would be added throughout, along with a boardwalk nature observation area.

Funding for the project will come through an agreement with Forsyth County.

The city agreed to provide the county with $5.3 million that it is entitled to from 1-cent sales tax revenue for two new parking decks for the new county courthouse. In exchange, the county agreed to give the city $4 million for parks and recreation improvements.

On Tuesday, Little said the park closure is needed to ensure the public’s safety.

“[We want] to reduce the city’s liability and to allow our workers to work without the public being around and possibly in danger,” he said.

After the meeting, Little said he was unsure of the project’s exact time frame. However, he noted that the agreement with the county stipulates that the renovations must be complete by fall 2015.

“I think the final check from the county came in October, which meant we had 24 months from that time to complete the project,” he said. “… I’m hoping we can proceed a little bit faster than that and hopefully even get part of the summer of 2015 out of it.”

A cost analysis of the project is under way.

“We’ve got to wait on ground bores to make sure there’s not an excessive amount of rock, which will affect the price,” Little said.

He said department staff will soon begin taking down the park’s old amenities. Those include a pool, which hasn’t been used since the Cumming Aquatic Center opened in 2011, as well as several small buildings, baseball fields and scoreboards, playground equipment and picnic tables.

“We just want to go ahead and be prepared so that when we can get approval to start building, [construction crews] aren’t waiting on us to take stuff down,” Little said.

 

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