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Town hall meeting to allow public input on green space
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Forsyth County News
Forsyth County residents may have the chance to try to convince commissioners what they think might qualify as good green space.
County staff has scheduled a town hall meeting for July 24 in the commission meeting room for residents to pitch their ideas for pieces of land they think should be nominated.
"We have people who have lived in this county all their lives," Commissioner Jim Harrell said. "People who know the land and where all the pretty spots are in the county."
Commissioners directed staff to schedule the town hall meeting at a work session Tuesday, following a green space analysis by the geographic information services department, in which the commission was presented with a map of desirable properties based on chosen criteria.
The commission chose the criteria to weigh property in the county based on factors such as cost, scenic preservation and water quality protection for rivers, streams and water bodies.
"I think it was an interesting exercise for us to try and see what it looks like," Harrell said. "It feels artificial to me. I'll be honest with you."
Harrell suggested holding the town hall meeting to get a better handle on the reality of viable green space properties in the county.
Commissioner Linda Ledbetter has been against the commission deciding what criteria is best suited for green space since the beginning.
"I'm educated enough to know I don't know what we should be looking for in green space," Ledbetter said. "I think we need a [consulting firm] who has done this before."
The commission still has not voted on whether to use one of four consulting firms who presented possible approaches to determining, mapping and acquiring properties for the $36 million in green space.
Lose and Associates, the Trust for Public Land, Pond and Co., and MACTEC have all voiced willingness to work with the county's GIS department to handle the county's green space portion of the $100 million parks, recreation and green space bond voters approved in February.
Residents have not yet had the opportunity to provide input in the process. The town hall meeting at 7 p.m. July 24 in the commission meeting room will grant them that opportunity.
Ledbetter voiced concern over the the potential tone of the town hall meeting. "If this is just people pitching their property to sell it, I'm not gonna come," Ledbetter said. "I don't want people trying to convince me to buy their property."
Harrell said the meeting is an attempt to let longtime county residents voice their opinions about what pieces of property are the most desirable.
"If you got a piece of property to sell me," Ledbetter said, "you're gonna think it's God's prettiest place in the whole county. I would if I were trying to sell it."