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Funding woes delay projects
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Forsyth County News
A decision to table plans for two recreation centers in south Forsyth divided the county commission in a 3-2 vote Thursday.

Citing economic concerns, Chairman Charles Laughinghouse said the funding for either site did not seem doable.

"With the downturn in the economy and the decrease in sales taxes and impact fees being non-existent ... I don't see spending money for projects that may not get done," Laughinghouse said Friday.

Funding for a center at both sites -- Fowler Park, at Hwy. 9 and Castleberry Road, and the Buice property, at Nichols and Old Atlanta roads -- would come from a $100 million greenspace bond and 1-cent sales tax money.

Commissioners Patrick Bell and Brian Tam voted against the delay. The board could revisit the issue later in the year, according to Laughinghouse.

"Whenever we get a real handle through the budgeting process a little further in the year ... things could change," he said.

The commission approved moving forward with both recreation centers, estimated at 46,000 square feet each, in a March 19 meeting, but the matter of how to pay for them had not been resolved.

In other greenspace-related matters, the board voted to take a first step toward a master plan, or future blueprint, for the Wallace Tatum property in northwestern Forsyth.

The commission voted 3-2 to solicit bids for architectural services, which could involve deciding where to place a library and senior center on the 186-acre property.

Commissioners Jim Harrell and Jim Boff opposed the measure.

Harrell said the board had not sat down and "decided philosophically what we want to do with the property."

"I think this is premature," he said.

Tam said moving forward with the bidding process would help in decision making when it does come time to develop a master plan.

Bell and Tam wanted to move forward with master plans on other properties the county has bought as part of the $36 million earmarked for greenspace in the bond. That measure was voted down 2-3.

In other business, the board approved the following:

• A partial update to the comprehensive plan, which will be submitted to the Georgia Mountains Regional Development Center.

• A reclamation project on Holtzclaw Road, about 2 miles from Hwy. 369 to Chattahoochee Elementary. The project is funded by the current 1-cent sales tax.

E-mail Frank Reddy at