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Plans for three parks detailed

County accepting bids for projects

POSTED: February 28, 2014 12:02 a.m.

CUMMING -- Progress could soon be made on several park projects in Forsyth County.

During a work session Tuesday, the county commission voted 5-0 to let the Parks and Recreation Department put three projects out to bid.

Among them are the first phases of the Eagle’s Beak property and Matt Community Park, both in northwestern Forsyth. Also approved was the third phase of Sawnee Mountain Preserve, off Bettis-Tribble Gap Road near Cumming.

All of the projects will be funded through the county’s $100 million parks and green space bond, which was approved by voters in 2008. Their estimated costs are $940,000 for Eagle’s Beak, $2.4 million for Sawnee Mountain and $6.3 million for Matt.

Exact timeframes for the projects haven’t been set, but officials hope work can begin later this year.

Elizabeth Cole with AMEC, an architectural landscape firm, presented the plans Tuesday.

She said the Eagle’s Beak project will include an “expanded and improved entrance,” as well as a paved access road to the rear of the property, where there will be a canoe launch on the Etowah River.

In that area, there will be 40 parking spaces and restroom facilities.

Cole said there also will be a second parking facility across the street from the historic Sherrill House to serve as a trailhead to several hiking trails. The house is being renovated by the Historical Society of Forsyth County.

Simon Wilkes, a parks employee, said the county will handle the creation of the canoe/kayak launch in order to save money.

According to Wilkes, that portion of the project involves securing a stream buffer variance from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“The Army permit has been acquired and the EPD variance has been approved,” he told commissioners.

The 15-foot wide launch will be part of the state’s Blueway, a series of access points to various waterways throughout Georgia, according to Wilkes.

The third phase of the Sawnee Mountain Preserve will be across Bettis-Tribble Gap road from the park’s first phase, which includes trails leading up the mountain to what is known as the Indian seats.

It will include parking spaces, restrooms and playground and picnic areas, Cole said.

The plan also calls for additional hiking trails, which will connect to some of the existing paths. “They’re going to be challenging because that portion of the mountain is pretty rugged,” Cole said.

She noted that none of the new trails will be handicapped accessible, but the playground and picnic pavilion areas will be.

The Matt Community Park will be off Wallace Tatum Road near Settendown Creek. Cole said the first phase will include two parking lots, a picnic pavilion, and four large multipurpose athletic fields, which can be used for football, soccer or lacrosse.

There will be a shared concession and restroom area between the fields. The project also includes a maintenance facility and walking trails.

Jerry Kinsey, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, views the projects as great assets for the community.

“We’re excited and ready to move on all of them,” he said. “It’s been a long time in planning since most of the property was purchased between 2008 and 2010.”


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