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Parks won't be on campus
But sites are near two schools
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Forsyth County News

Two north Forsyth parks will be opened near the schools mentioned in a bond referendum, instead of on their campuses, according to a resolution county commissioners passed Tuesday.

The future Lanierland and Matt Community parks will be funded with the money set aside for a joint venture with the school district in the $100 million parks, recreation and green space bond.

Though not identified specifically on the ballot in 2008, the $7.9 million had been presented in information to voters that it would be for some type of joint venture with Liberty Middle and Chestatee Elementary schools, said County Attorney Ken Jarrard.

“It was a little bit unclear with specificity what we were going to be doing,” Jarrard said. “But the overall sentiment was we were going to be doing a project either in conjunction with the board of education at the physical campuses of those schools or somewhere in very close proximity.”

Challenges at each school prevented the possibility of adding athletic fields to their campuses, he said. Those included infrastructure that would be too costly to relocate at Chestatee and the prospect of lighting at Liberty that neighbors would find unacceptable.

The resolution, which commissioners approved in a 5-0 vote, explains the circumstances of the vote and the situations at each school that prevent funding fields on campus.

Each future county park will be located within the district of the respective schools, the resolution states.

Matt Community Park, at Wallace Tatum Road and Matt Highway, is about a half mile from Liberty.

Lanierland Park, on Jot Em Down and Jett roads, is about 2 miles from Chestatee.

Jarrard explained that spending the $7.9 million for these parks is within the bond language, but the resolution was presented “out of an abundance of caution.”

In February, commissioners bonded out the remaining nearly $17 million, which includes the $7.9 million for the north parks and funding to extend the Big Creek Greenway to Sawnee Mountain Preserve.

On Tuesday, the commission also voted 5-0 to approve allocating $1.5 million in uncommitted bond funds for six projects prioritized by the parks and recreation board.

Those include, in order: replacing playground equipment at Central Park; expanding the playground at Sawnee Mountain Park; building a greenway trailhead with restrooms on Union Hill Road; remodeling restrooms and landscaping at the Sharon Springs Park tennis complex; adding a greenway trailhead for future phases; and building a restroom facility connected to sewer at Chattahoochee Pointe.