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Forsyth County considering millage rate for parks

FORSYTH COUNTY — The Forsyth County’s parks and recreation board recently received updates on a variety of projects, including the possibility of a dedicated millage rate to fund the department.

Director Jim Pryor told the board during its recent meeting that the county commission is exploring the concept.

“What they’re looking to do is make [the department] its own tax district, kind of like the fire department is, where it has its own dedicated mileage and its own budget,” Pryor said. “They’re not looking to make us an authority where we break of from the government and operate separately.”

According to Pryor, the department is funded through the county’s general fund, as are several other departments, and the discussion stemmed from the budget.

“Right now we’re in what’s called the general fund,” he said. “We’re in there with the sheriff’s office and about 10 or 12 other departments. [That means] if you need to put more officers on the street, that pot gets a little bit zapped for those.

“We’ve gotten so big with parks and recreation that, I think, they’re looking for some dedicated funding.”


Construction update


Pryor also offered updates on two new parks, Matt Community and Lanierland, both of which should open within the next year.

He said Lanierland Park is behind Matt by about six months.

“Matt Community Park, construction started on July 13. It is well under way, and we’re estimating completion sometime in spring 2016,” he said.

“Lanierland Park, the first round of bids were rejected. We’re getting ready to send out to bid, and we will be able to set that schedule for sure once we get the plans in our hands and get it out to bid. ”

The county commission denied the first round of bids because they included just one synthetic turf field. The county wants all fields at the site to be synthetic.


Ropes course changes


A proposed ropes course at Sawnee Mountain Preserve could be different than others in the area.

Pryor said the department is hoping to do something that is innovative and would have a lower admission price than its counterparts.

“That market has kind of gotten saturated with the one in Buford, the one in Dunwoody and now the one in Lake Lanier,” he said.  “So we’ve kind of talked to these companies about doing something a little different, kind of creative, cutting edge. And we’re going to work on that avenue of things.”


History preserved


During the meeting, the board also gave the Historical Society of Forsyth County permission to place a kiosk at Poole’s Mill Park detailing its history.