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County pulls plug on reservoir plan
Calhoun Creek likely had lowest chance of success
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Forsyth County News

Forsyth County has abandoned its interest in a potential Calhoun Creek reservoir.

The proposed reservoir near the Dawson-Lumpkin county line was pitched to county commissioners in April 2011 by the Georgia Reservoir Company.

The company said the pumped storage reservoir would cover 590 acres and hold about 10.6 billion gallons of water, which could be provided to Forsyth County in times of need.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard brought the concept before commissioners Tuesday to ask if they planned to continue exploring participation in the project.

“After we spent a little bit of money and some due diligence looking at that, I believe the board of commissioners, for a host of reasons, cooled on the issue involving Calhoun Creek,” Jarrard said.

“The reason I’m bringing it to you today is because we have received some Open Records Act requests related to some of that due diligence paperwork.”

The law states documents related to land acquisition are exempt from the act until the action is completed or abandoned, he said.

With no active efforts moving forward, Jarrard was unsure of the commission’s intent for Calhoun Creek.

“You look sort of like you’ve abandoned it,” he said.

The commission discussed keeping the project open to allow the option to remain, but ultimately decided the due diligence work, such as an appraisal, would need to be redone in the future anyway because of the lapse of inactive time.

The commission also decided to declare abandonment to give “peace of mind” to the landowners at the site of the proposed reservoir, as Chairman Pete Amos said.

Rebecca Carter, president of the Etowah Hills Corporation, appeared almost in tears as the commission voted 5-0 to terminate its interest in the reservoir.

Carter said she’s been fighting the Calhoun Creek plan since the proposal was made in 2011.

The nonprofit Etowah Hills Corporation created an alternative Etowah Hills reservoir plan as “a defensive measure” against the Calhoun Creek proposal, she said.

“The people do not want the Calhoun Creek reservoir,” Carter said. “The plan itself is very flawed.”

Carter filed the open records request because the information could assist Etowah Hills in developing its plan for an emergency reservoir, which could also be beneficial to Forsyth County.

She asked commissioners to please put any consideration in Calhoun Creek to rest, stating the company that came with the proposal is “gone.”

The county has explored several opportunities to participate in reservoir projects as its water needs continue to grow.

Two projects still under consideration include a proposal in Dawson Forest and the Glades reservoir, a plan spearheaded by Hall County.

Commissioner Brian Tam said of all the reservoir options reviewed, Calhoun Creek appeared to have the “lowest chance of success.”