BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – The SPLOST funded Youth Sports Complex will be located behind the farmers market and Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris hopes to have it completed by next season.
The Youth Sports Complex will feature four ballfields catering toward the younger age ranges from T-ball to coaches’ pitch, and eight and under leagues. Paris explained that there isn’t room to expand the ballfields at Meeks Park and often the recreation department must move the bases to accommodate each league.
The new four ballfields will be tailored for each age group and give children better fields to play on.
The Sports Complex will also feature a multi-purpose field for sports such as soccer, football, rugby, field hockey, lacrosse, and more.
Between the baseball and multi-purpose fields will be a handicap playground area with ADA compliant structures for children to enjoy.
Paris added that the Union will execute the project as much as possible in-house, but SPLOST funds will be used to cover the rest. The county’s already started moving dirt for the ballfields.
The new Sports Complex marks another investment Union County’s taken in local children as well as athletic facilities. Last year, the Sports Center opened to the public and quickly became a local necessity. Originally intended for indoor sports and walking track, COVID-19 vaccine administration requirements demonstrated another great use of the gymnasium. The local health department administered vaccines from the Sports Center for several months until moving back to in-office vaccination.
The new restroom at Meeks Park is almost complete. The time-intensive project will provide a closer bathroom for event-goers during events like the Sorghum Festival. The county had to pipe underneath existing roads within the park to connect the restroom to city sewer lines. TVA granted Union County $50,000 for the project. Paris thanked Will Nelson who serves on the TVAs Regional Resource Stewardship Council for his part in securing the funding.
The new restroom also helps to pave the way for another larger project in Meeks Park, an amphitheater. Paris has plans to build a covered 1,200 amphitheater and stage for live performances in the same area as the bathroom and Sorghum Festival building. The project won’t take place this year and maybe not until 2023. Once complete, it will offer a venue for church choirs, local bands, youth plays, outside performances, and festivals to host events. The cost will be covered in part by recreation department revenue and SPLOST funds.
Pavilion #3 in Meeks Park was also recently completed. The new updates connect the pavilion to the nearby gazebo with an ADA compliant ramp. Some of the new round picnic tables are handicap accessible as well.
Another potential SPLOST project is Fire Station 13. It would be located around Ivylog Bridge and provide nearby fire department services to around 300 homes in the area. The building would also provide housing for an ambulance. Paris is also considering use some of the county’s $2.3 million in American Rescue Plan Act fund for the project.
BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – Among the several contract and agreements signed during the June Union County Commission Meeting, two pertained to future improvements to Meeks Park.
In the first agreement, Al Garnto Fine Art Studio will design, construct, and erect a floral-themed, full-color, metal sculpture. The sculpture will be located at the new pavilion and cost a maximum of $3,500.
“We appreciate Al. He’s always worked with us on all the sculpture items in the park. We felt like this would be the add on to make our new pavilion,” stated Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris.
Garnto will also work the architect for a new design in front of the double gym once it’s completed.
The second agreement focused on developing a new restroom facility within the park. It’s between the county and Engineering Management, Inc. to design a wastewater pump state. The cost of the agreement is $16,200 and went into effect on June 8, 2020. TVA and Meeks Park will fund most of the new restroom facility project in part because it falls within the TVA floodplain.
“In our long-range plan, we hope into two to three years to put an amphitheater in Meeks Park. We’ve worked with the TVA for several years on trying to design and locate a restroom,” explained Paris. “They are funding the majority of the cost of this, but not including the wastewater pump, so we have to pump the effluent from the site into the sewer line.”
Union County had to apply for a permit from TVA to build the new restroom.
Multi-Development Moratorium Extended
The multi-family unit development moratorium was extended for another 190 days from April 2, 2020. The original resolution went into effect on Aug. 6, 2019. The county prolonged the moratorium to continue to work on new regulations.
“The county is still in the process of rewriting our guidelines for multi-family and multi-story housing units,” added Paris. “We did a moratorium to prevent additional units from being built until we had time to study and see what we could do to make sure our regulations could catch up.”
Union County also entered into an agreement with CHA Consulting to provide a conceptual site plan and feasibility study for the Union County Jail. The cost was $2,500. Commissioner Paris doesn’t foresee this project being built until the “distant future,” but they are beginning to look into possible options.
“I hope it’s light-years away. Anyway, we’re also having to evaluate property along the way. We feel that we need to be looking at that property now, so if we find a parcel that the Sheriff and myself feel’s a future site, we must evaluate,” explained Paris.
U.S. Army Garrison Fort Benning and Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Hall, Lumpkin, Union, and White issued a memorandum of agreement to expedite local and regional mutual aid assistance, share information, and sustain emergency aid.
Union County contracted Freeman Gas for propane services in the amount of $0.89 per gallon for the next year.
Teague Nall and Perkins, Inc. (TNP) was contracted out to provide engineering consulting services on an as needed basis and will be billed monthly.
-An addendum agreement between Union County and AT&T Georgia was signed for adding additional rate elements to the existing E911 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) equipment and software. The cost was $1,500 and went into effect on Sept. 30, 2019.
ACCG Group Self-Insurance Workers’ Compensation Fund issued a $4,000 Employee Safety Grant. The money will go toward firefighting equipment, such as gloves, boots, and helmets.