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Polo Fields, other projects aired at latest parks board meeting
Lanierland

At a recent Forsyth County Parks and Recreation board meeting on Wednesday, May 4, Director of Parks and Recreation Jim Pryor gave board members an update on multiple capital projects across the county.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Pryor said Forsyth County would be closing on the Polo Fields “probably sometime early next week.”

“Things are progressing with everything,” Pryor said.

In February, Forsyth County Board of Commissioners voted to approve an acquisitions contract between the county and the owners of the Polo Fields that was “contingent upon” acquiring funding for no less than $7.5 million, to initiate a county-sponsored rezoning of 57 acres of the land previously planned for the proposed Denmark Park to single-family residential district (Res3) and to authorize the sale of the land for possible bids from developers.

In March, commissioners voted to approve removing the sale of Denmark Park in a purchasing agreement with the owners of the Polo Fields and rescinded the approval for rezoning the 57 acres of land and authorization of the sale of the land.

At the May 4 meeting, Pryor said that everything with the environmental assessment for the Polo Fields “went well,” and that he would be meeting with United Futbol Academy soon to “get the ball rolling to talk about the new lease agreement” for the fields.

Pryor also said that, while UFA will be able to continue to keep its programs at the Polo Fields, any upgrades to the fields or programs will have to wait, possibly putting future funding in the “2025 SPLOST category.”

Chairman Gary Cooper asked if the park would have a master plan, and Pryor said that it would be so the department would know how much potential upgrades would cost.

In the meantime, Pryor said that the fields will operate the same way they do currently.

Speaking on other projects, Pryor said that upgrades are “going pretty good” but “some of our projects are taking a lot longer than I’d like to [think] they were originally planned on taking.”

Pryor chalked the delays up to the large number of projects sitting in the county’s capital projects department, which was created “about a year ago” to handle large projects across different departments.

“[The capital projects department] came in and of course they talked about roads and water and parks and the new [administration] building,” Pryor said. “There’s a lot of projects to manage, so while they were hiring staff, they were trying to wrap their arms around all the projects.”

While Pryor said that the department helps push parks projects through permitting, schedule meetings with contractors and push out bids, there is a delay because many parks projects are “sitting in line with road … and other projects.”

Currently, Pryor said that the expansion of Lanierland Park is on track, as well as Eagle’s Beak Park.

According to Pryor, Eagle’s Beak Park is scheduled to open on Nov. 1, and Lanierland is expected to open before the end of the year.

He said that the upgrades to Sharon Springs Park, the Matt Community Park Recreation Center and the expansion of the Central Park Recreation Center have not begun, and the anticipated dates of completion were to be determined.

During staff updates, Laura Pate, deputy director of recreation, said that the county’s summer camps were full with families also on waiting lists.

She said that she was glad to see that the camps were full, but the department would need camp counselors and other part-time workers to help camps and programs run smoothly.

To apply for a summer job, Pate said that residents can check out the Parks and Recreation blog on the county’s website at www.forsythco.com