ducktown park audio clipReporter Frank Reddy talks with resident James Mooney about the planned changes to Ducktown Park.
One western Forsyth County park could be in line for a $100,000 makeover.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has announced its intent to award Forsyth County money to build a playground, walking trail, horseshoe pit and parking lot at Ducktown Park. Existing bathrooms could be renovated as well.
It's part of the organization's federal land and water conservation fund, which helps communities acquire land, develop parks and renovate existing properties.
James Mooney, who has lived next to the park with wife Judy since 1971, said it would "get quite a bit of use" when completed.
"There's already been a few people come out to the pavilion to have picnics," Mooney said.
The county parks and recreation department built the pavilion several months ago. Mooney said the trails planned for the park hold promise.
"My wife will probably do a lot of walking over there," he said. "It's supposed to be those rubberized walking trails."
Mooney said he's glad to have the park renewed. "I'd a whole lot rather have it there than a subdivision."
All that's remains is final approval from the Department of Interior. A spokeswoman for Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites said that shouldn't be a problem.
"I don't see any reason why it wouldn't get approved," said Kim Hatcher, public affairs coordinator for the DNR division.
The process is part of a $1.2 million recreational grant aimed at aiding 15 Georgia counties, cities and recreation authorities.
Ducktown is on the list, as is Dawson County's War Hill Park, which is slated to receive $80,000 to renovate campsites. The War Hill community is off Dawsonville Highway (Hwy. 53), just across the Forsyth County line.
The grant program is administered through DNR, and officials reviewed 57 applications this year.
Projects were scored on several critieria, including: proximity to people and communities; conservation efforts; threat of land being lost to development; and the number of organizations pledging to match the funds.
Ducktown resident Lisa Branscum was glad the local park made the cut.
"It's especially good for the youth," Branscum said. "I've seen a lot of young ball players and athletes in this area who will like it."
The current park setup features a baseball diamond, which because of deterioration is no longer used for the sport.
Mooney said before the county took over the land about two years ago, the property was used for the Ducktown Community Club.
"The community had a meeting," Mooney said, "and decided to turn the property over to the county because the county had been wanting it for a while."
He said the community club voted to turn the property over to the parks and recreation department.
"We made up a list of stuff we wanted to see there," he said. "We said if they agreed to do that stuff we'd turn it over to them ... When they took it over, they said they would keep the grass cut until they were able to start working on it."
County Commissioner Linda Ledbetter, whose late father L.T. Ledbetter founded Ducktown, said she is excited about the renovation.
"It's a nice park," she said. "It's a beautiful area and people will use it more if they add on to it."