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County to add more green space
Echols Road site part of District 5
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Forsyth County News


Forsyth County’s most recent green space purchase is expected to close in the next week.

The $2.5 million deal, which is for about 85 acres along Echols Road off Buford Highway in District 5, will be funded with money from the $100 million parks, recreation and green space bond.

The purchase price is $30,000 per acre, except for pieces encumbered by easements, which cost $15,000 per acre.

Commissioner Jim Boff, whose district includes the east Forsyth site, described it as a great deal, especially compared to previous county green space purchases, which have run as high as $120,000 per acre.

The site was brought to Boff’s attention by a real estate agent.

“It was for sale at a good price, it’s near the [Lakeside Middle] School and will probably cut back on some density in that area, which will be nice for people because it won’t be developed,” he said.

The county’s inspection period before purchase will conclude Dec. 31, the last day for closing.

Boff said the sellers indicated the properties would need to be purchased by the end of the year for tax reasons.

The commission approved the purchase in a 3-2 vote at its Dec. 16 meeting, with commissioners Brian Tam and Patrick Bell opposed.

Bell said he wasn’t comfortable without more information about some electrical easements on the property and the remaining bond funding for green space acquisition.

“I’m not totally against it,” he said. “I just wasn’t sold on it.”

Bell said he didn’t delay the vote because the site meets the approved criteria for green space, including protection of a portion of Haw Creek from development.

No plans have been made for the property, but Boff said he is interested in hearing what residents would like to see there.

Even with the pending purchase, the commissioner said his district has less green space than other areas of Forsyth.

“District 5 still needs its fair share,” he said. “It has little green space, very few parks, no blueway and no bike path. It all bypasses District 5, and yet we pay our taxes here just like everybody else.”

Boff is looking for additional sites to acquire, though he said funding could be an obstacle.

The bond, which voters approved in 2008, designated $36 million toward buying green space.

Spokeswoman Jodi Gardner said the county will have about $3 million remaining with which to acquire green space after the Echols deal.