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Splash Pad Coming to WaCo?

By Elizabeth Jordansplash

Staff Reporter for the Sandersville Progress

Adding recreation, attracting visitors to Washington County, and providing economic development are just a few of the reasons the County and the City of Sandersville are looking to construct a splash pad and a disc golf park in the community.

“This will be a new recreation facility with unique features,” explained County Administrator Chris Hutchings.

When considering options for recreation, requests for pools or water parks have been heard – but liability and the cost to construct and upkeep the pool has driven other communities to close their own pools.

“A lot of counties and cities are closing their pools and building splash pads,” said Hutchings, noting that the costs and liability are minimal compared to swimming pools.

In the preliminary assessments, it was determined that about 40 families from Washington County travel to Dublin-Laurens County to their splash pad.

“We can keep that money at home,” said Hutchings, adding that other surrounding counties do not have a splash pad which could increase visits to Washington County’s park.

City Administrator Judy McCorkle echoed Hutchings’ statements, adding that the park would serve a new area of the County and be convenient to different neighborhoods.

Plans are to have the splash pad constructed by July 2015 to allow children to enjoy the park this summer.

“I’m a big believer in parks; they’re an initial investment, and then it’s very little upkeep,” said Councilperson Jason Davis.

The land for the Splash Pad Park is currently owned by the Washington County Board of Education which will be donated to the County for the park development. Utility hookup for the park will be provided by the City of Sandersville.

It was noted in both the Sandersville Council meeting as well as the Board of Commissioners’ meeting that the operating costs will be paid for by user admission fees. The Washington County Recreation Department will operate the facility.

In addition to the splash pad, the City of Sandersville is also looking to construct a Disc Golf Park on a 35-acre tract owned by the City where the Ferncrest Water tank is located.

“We met with the Professional Disc Golf Association and they will design the disc golf park for us,” said City Administrator McCorkle. “We would use hotel/motel to build the park.”

The estimated cost is approximately $25,000.

Once constructed, the disc golf park would be sanctioned for tournaments.

“About 75 players play in a tournament, going from place to place playing in the tournaments,” said McCorkle, noting that this will increase tourism to the area.

The City of Sandersville and Washington County entered into an intergovernmental agreement for the County to develop the splash park and walking trail with the City of Sandersville to develop a disc golf course.

“We appreciate the City and the County working together,” said Washington County Board of Commissioners’ Chairman Horace Daniel.

When discussing costs and financing for the park developments it was reported that the project will be completed in three phases. Those phases are as follows:

  • Phase 1: Disc golf park and splash pad/restrooms by July 1, 2015. The estimated cost associated with this phase is $273,058.
  • Phase 2: Pavilion/playground/ parking construction for 2016. The estimated cost associated with this phase is $45,000.
  • Phase 3: The demolition/clearing/landscaping and contingency for 2017. The estimated cost for this phase is $28,000.

The estimated total cost for all three phases is $346,058.

County Administrator Chris Hutchings explained that financing will come from several sources including: $85,000 from SPLOST 7; $52,500 from leftover SPLOST funds; a one-time cost of $65,000 from the general-fund; $50,000 from contributions from the City of Sandersville; $2,500 in-kind work from the City of Sandersville for demolition; $10,000 from parks and recreation grants; $12,500 in inmate work for clearing, demolition and painting; $10,000 from private grants; and $38,038 from donations and fund raising. Funding will also come from other cities with a 20 percent increase in contributions over 10 years which amounts to $20,520.

 

 

 

 

Reenactment of Sherman’s March to the Sea 2014

Reenactment of the 1864 Civil War battle in Sandersville, Georgia. 2014
AKA, Sherman’s March To The Sea.

Fall Line Artists Guild Displays Art in Commissioner’s Office

FLAGcIn an effort to bring original local art to the public, the Fall Line Artist Guild (FLAG) has partnered with the City of Sandersville and the Washington County Board of Commissioners to display member artwork in a public setting. Because FLAG does not currently have a permanent home, the City of Sandersville and the Washington County Board of Commissioners have agreed to allow FLAG members to display works of art in their respective offices.

All artwork will be refreshed on a quarterly basis, so there will always be new artwork on display. Artwork can be listed for sale with interested buyers contacting the artist directly. Prints may also be available.

Since both City Hall and the Commissioners’ office are located in close proximity, a person wishing to view FLAG artwork could do so during a lunch break. With that being said, both locations will be open during normal business hours.

The Fall Line Artist Guild is a nonprofit organization working to promote the visual arts in Washington County and surrounding counties drawing artists and patrons from these areas of Georgia as members. Our mission is to serve the artistic community. Membership is open to anyone young or old wishing to support the arts in the fall line area.

 

150th Civil War Anniversary

On November 26, 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman and thousands of troops advanced on the rural town of Sandersville, GA, leaving the devastation and charred ruins of Atlanta and the rural countryside in his wake along the infamous March to the Sea. By Gen. Sherman’s order, his army was permitted to openly and liberally pillage any area in which they met with hostility, burning buildings, and destroying livestock and crops.

Now, history will repeat itself on Nov. 7 County’s Civil War. Union and Confederate forces will once again collide, fighting in the streets along the historical route of the Federal Army, culminating in a skirmish on the Town Square. Gen. Sherman will be issuing orders, taking the town and making his headquarters at Confederate Captain William Gainer Brown’s home, now the Brown House Museum.

The Washington County Chamber of Commerce, the Washington County Historical Society, and the 39 for a look back in history. A bus tour of Sherman’s March will kick off the events on Saturday, Oct. 25 Cemetery at 7 pm. on Saturday, Nov. 1 during The Great Conflict. The Grand Opening of the Civil War Art Exhibit by local artists begins at 4 pm. on Monday, Nov. 3 exhibit will feature works depicting events that occurred during Sherman’s Occupation in the county. Thursday Nov. 6 the Brown House, listening to Living Historians explain the way of life for both soldier and civilian during the 1860s.

Other activities on Saturday, Nov. 8 Regimental String Band at 9:15 am. on the Square, followed by a clash between Confederate and Union forces at 10 am. Narrations and historic vignettes based on written accounts by local citizens will give insight to the effects of war at home.

The event hosts are pleased to announce an historic first for our area and possibly, for the State of Georgia. Mr. Adam Adolphus will conduct the first Roll Call of Honor for African American Soldiers in Confederate Service from Washington County, based on his research in African­American genealogy studies.

The Brown House Museum will be open for tours from 11 am. to 5 pm. Period craft and military demonstrations will be held on the grounds. Food vendors will also be available. Later in the afternoon, a period style Ladies’ Afternoon Tea will be held at 4 pm. for ladies in authentic dress. Musical entertainment will be provided by the a cappella trio, Three Fold Chord. Mrs. Brenda Dobson will present “Substitutions during the War,” explaining the ingenuity of those impacted by the embargo.

The evening highlight will be the Blue/Gray Ball at Forest Grove Plantation from 8­10 pm. This event is open to the public. Tickets are $10.00 per person, and may be obtained by calling the Chamber of Commerce. Children are welcome and those under 6 years of age are free. Period attire or Sunday to formal attire are appropriate. Sunday morning, an open­air, non­denominational church service will be held at Forest Grove Plantation at 11 am with Rev Joey Young speaking. The Confederate and Union camps will be open for the public to tour. At 2 p.m. in the afternoon, a full complement of both Confederate and Union infantry, artillery and cavalry will meet on the battlefield in a display of 19 children under 6 are free. Gates open at 19 am. Make plans to join us for this historic national event. For more information, you may contact The Brown House Museum at 478­552­1965 or the Washington County Chamber of Commerce at 478­552­3288. Check out our websites at wacohistorical.org or 150thsandersville.org.

Groundbreaking Held for New Jail

Groundbreaking

By Elizabeth Jordan
Staff Reporter

The groundbreaking for the new county jail was held on Sept. 16 on Kaolin Rd. in Sandersville.

“It’s always good when you can see dirt moving around on the ground concerning a project that’s been underway in people’s minds and thoughts and in the planning process for quite some time,” said Chamber of Commerce President/Executive Director of the Washington County Industrial Development Authority Charles Lee.

Voters approved the continuation of the one percent special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) in 2013 with the jail as the level one project to receive monies from the penny sales tax.

When discussing the new jail, Washington County Sheriff Thomas H. Smith began by thanking God for allowing everyone coming together.

“If it wasn’t for Him, none of this would be possible today; we need to give Him the credit, and not us,” said Sheriff Smith.

Smith went on to thank the people of Washington County; he also commented that the penny sales tax is the fairest tax.

“People from out of town who come to Washington County to shop, they help towards this facility,” said Sheriff Smith.

Prior to the groundbreaking, Lee explained that the Washington County Development Authority owned the property where the new law enforcement center/jail will be located.

“We were able to give that land back to the County for the development of this project,” said Lee.

Chairman of the Washington County Commissioners Horace Daniel commented that the area is a “wonderful site” for the new jail, adding that at one point they were considering purchasing property for $500,000.

Daniel went on to say that he appreciates the people of Washington County working together.

“Nobody likes to pay taxes, but what would you have if you didn’t?” questioned Daniel. “If you didn’t have any taxes, you wouldn’t have any roads fit to ride on.”

In regards to the role of the Washington County Public Facilities Authority, Lee stated that the estimated $16 million project will be financed through bonds.

However, Sheriff Smith added that the project is expected to come in under budget. He noted that this is taxpayer money, and vowed to spend less than $16 million if at all possible.

Sheriff Smith explained that the new jail will be a “super pod” to hold approximately 229 inmates. The current jail can house 52 inmates.

“We’ve been under a lot of pressure with inmates overcrowding – having to sleep on mattresses on the floor, and luckily the Federal government has not gotten involved yet and ordered us to build a jail,” said Sheriff Smith, praising the County Commissioners for being proactive, rather than reactive.

Rusty McCall, architect for McCall & Associates further discussed the new facility, saying that the jail committee reviewed five different proposals for the project and ultimately selected Dublin Construction Company.

The Jail Assistance Division from the Georgia Sheriff’s Association provided the Washington County Sheriff’s Office with a needs assessment. With that assessment, it was determined how many beds were needed to serve the county well into the future.

“The jail that we’ve planned, although there were many things that were wanted, there were some things we had to take out or reserve for later to keep the project in budget,” said McCall.

President of Dublin Construction Company Tom Hall followed on McCall’s comments saying that Dublin Construction has built several jails in surrounding counties.

“We look forward to a successful project,” said Hall.

Sandersville Mayor Pro-Tem Jeffery Smith focused on the group effort and the collaboration of the municipalities and the county.

“Anytime a project of this magnitude does not get accomplished without a group effort,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Smith. “I tell people all the time that bricks and mortar are great, but your real asset in your community is your people – we have some of the best people in leadership positions in this county and in our City and I think that’s what sets us apart.”

Smith continued his discussion by saying that time marches on, and change will always occur.

“Jails are not pretty; they’re not flashy; they’re not sexy, but they’re a necessity,” said Smith. “One thing that will kill your community is when you don’t feel safe in your home.”
Smith went on to say that Washington County is moving in a forward direction that will prosper the county for the next century.

Community Development Block Grant

cbg

The County of Washington, has received a (Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) / Employment Incentive Program (EIP) / Redevelopment Fund / CHIP /grant of $ 500,000.00 from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), which administers the program on behalf of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

“Strong, vibrant communities help attract companies to the state,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “The projects funded by this program will ensure successful economic development and enhance the quality of life for all Georgians. By leveraging this funding with private investment and local funds, these communities are able to maximize the opportunities offered by the CDBG program and keep Georgia the nation’s top state for business.”

Washington County will utilize this grant for to upgrade the Washington County Heath Department.

“The annual Community Development Block Grant awards are one of DCA’s most well-known, competitive and far-reaching programs, touching cities and counties in every corner of the state,” said Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs Gretchen Corbin. “We appreciate the vision and hard work that went into each application and look forward to working with these communities as they lay the groundwork for future growth.”

The grant award was presented to the Washington County by Commissioner Gretchen Corbin and was accepted on behalf of the Washington County by Commissioners Horace Daniel, Edward Burten, Melton Jones, Larry Mathis, and Frank Simmons in a ceremony hosted by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs in Savannah on September 5, 2014. A total of 82 awards totaling over $39.7 million were presented to cities and counties around the state.

Public Hearing Notice

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE
(Project Completion Public Hearing)

Washington County has completed its FY 2011 Community Development Block Grant Project.

The following activities were completed:

The county completed the flood and drainage improvements in the following target area:  located off of SR 242 and includes Circle Drive, Barlow Lane, and Lawson Lane. The project benefits one hundred percent (100%) of the 113 residents, 88 or 78% are low to moderate income households.

Washington County will hold a PUBLIC HEARING on September 29, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. at the at the Washington County Commissioners Office, 119 Jones Street, Sandersville, Georgia, for the purpose of discussing the completed activities and receiving citizen comments. A copy of the final quarterly report is now available at Washington County Commissioners Office for review.

All citizens are invited to attend this hearing. Persons with special needs relating to disability access may use the Georgia Relay Service for the hearing impaired at 1-800-255-0056 or contact County Administrator, Chris Hutchings at (478) 552-2325 prior to September 24, 2014.

Public Hearing Notice

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT

Washington County will hold a public hearing on Monday, September 29, 2014, at 11:00 a.m., at Washington County Board of Commission Chambers, 119 Jones Street, Sandersville, Georgia, for the purpose of discussing the approved activities of the County’s Community Development Block Grant Program. On September 5, 2014 the County was awarded a grant in the amount of $500,000 to renovate the existing 1958 Washington County Health Department in order to accommodate the patient and staff needs and provide a safe, code-compliant facility.

Items to be discussed at the Hearing include:

• The amount of funds received and a description of the activities
• The amount of funds available for each activity and the amount of funds that will benefit low and moderate income persons
• The plan, if applicable, to minimize or prevent displacement of persons and the plan to assist persons who may be displaced.
• Fair Housing laws, and the City’s plan, if applicable, to further Fair Housing.

The public is invited to attend this Hearing to become informed of the project activities. Persons with special needs relating to disability access may use the Georgia Relay Service for the hearing impaired at 1-800-255-0056 or contact Chris Hutching, County Administrator at (478) 552-2325 prior to September 24, 2014.

ACCG Health Promotion & Wellness Grant

<Click here to view the Press Release