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Projects plentiful for possible parks bond

Commission looks over wish list

POSTED: March 14, 2014 12:04 a.m.

CUMMING — Forsyth County commissioners have reviewed a sampling of projects that could be funded through a potential parks and recreation bond program.

Among them are: $11 million to improve several existing parks; $8 million each for Lanierland Park and the second phase of Matt Community Park, both in north Forsyth; and about $3 million for land, design and construction of a community/gymnastics building at Haw Creek Park.

During the commission’s work session Tuesday, Chairman Pete Amos said there would be several more discussions about the list, as well as the possible referendum, which would be the second in six years.

In 2008, voters overwhelmingly backed a $100 million bond plan that the county has used for parks, recreation and green space.

The list also includes $6 million for a conceptual master plan on six parks along Lake Lanier in northeast Forsyth: Athens, Chestatee Bay, Rocky Point, Six Mile, Wildcat Creek and the fourth peninsula at Bethel.

Amos said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “assigned us these parks they can’t afford and now we’ve got to do something with them.”

“If they approve our plan, we can do stuff with them and have a bond and green space without having to pay for the land,” Amos said after the meeting.

While the list has been identified, Amos noted these projects could be a long ways off.

“We have a [possible] transportation bond that’s much more needed,” he said. “This was just to generate information to talk about. It gets the information out to the public.

“We’ll probably talk about it two or three more times. It’s nothing we’re in a hurry with right now.”

During the work session, Commissioner Todd Levent appeared to be against the bond referendum, or certainly the way it would be handled.

He noted those with a $400,000 home would be paying twice the price as the owners of a $200,000 home, but would be using the parks in the same way.

“We need to think about all of this because is it fair to charge somebody a tax on something they [don’t use],” he said. “It’s taxation without representation, so be careful.”

But Commissioner Brian Tam noted this wouldn’t be a case of the commission approving a tax hike.

“These things we’re talking about are going to be voted on by the voters,” he said.

After the meeting, Amos said there’s also no hurry for a “B-list” project of $16.5 million to acquire land for, design and build an aquatic center in south Forsyth.

He said Cumming’s aquatic center is fine for now, but a second facility could someday be used to accommodate swift growth on the county’s south end.

“It is in the long-range process right now,” Amos said. “[The city has] a great aquatic center right now. They’re doing a great job.”


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