City Council members Mickey O’Malley and Lee Prettyman, as well as City Clerk Karen Jordan, went over the proposed budget and planned facilities, which Echols said were “right on target” for the city’s portion of the $90 million park bond program. City Manager Eric Wilmarth was absent.
Echols said he would bring the discussed changes to the Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday.
“This will give me a real reason to spur our other neighbors into action,” Echols said, adding the city of Ball Ground was about 30 days ahead of schedule in presenting its parks plans.
Among the approximately $800,000 in proposed projects are updated restroom facilities and a possible retaining wall to address drainage issues at Lion’s Field, improvements to the nearby trail, resurfaced tennis and basketball courts, a new multi-use field, a new youth baseball field and parking improvements.
O’Malley said the city hopes to do cosmetic work on all of its parks facilities with its portion of the parks bond funds.
“We weren’t trying to change anything (in our parks plans),” O’Malley said. “We were trying to add on some things, but of course, you can’t get everything.”
Echols said the city’s proposed plans fall in line with the “spirit” of the county parks bond.
“I think the way we’ve talked about it is that we’ve wanted to design a little bit more than we thought we could do,” Echols said, noting this would allow for adjustments to possibly alternate projects that were not discussed Thursday.
Echols said he may discuss with the city council about which of the projects is lowest on the priority list if the plans are too expensive.
“Our pee-wee field would be a high priority,” O’Malley said. “Also our multi-purpose field.”
Echols said even if the lowest priority items are removed, the city would still have the specifications for future work on those projects.
Some items on the original list that have since been removed include removing the city-owned, burned out building at the end of the trail near Lion’s Field. O’Malley said he is in discussions with local Boy Scout leaders to do a project with the structure.
Also removed from the project list was the destruction of the basketball courts. The court will eventually be replaced, O’Malley said, but as of now, the plans are to resurface the existing court as well as the two adjacent tennis courts.
“The structure that we have there is what we want to keep,” O’Malley said.
Jordan said she thinks the community will be excited about many of the proposed projects.
“If we get that pee-wee field and if we get those tennis courts resurfaced and in a lot better shape, that’s going to be really shock-and-awe around here,” Jordan said.
Also, the Downtown Development Authority met Thursday and went into executive session to discuss plans to purchase property that has been offered to the city.
Jordan said the DDA voted to move forward with the consideration to purchase the land and will begin price negotiations.
“I hope we can come to some agreement and make it happen,” Jordan said of the land purchase.
A scheduled walking tour of the downtown area by DDA members was cancelled Thursday evening because it was too hot outside, Jordan said.
DDA members include Frank Homiller, Trisha Richardson, Brent Richardson, Judson Roberts, George Westbrook, Janice Prather, and Wes Latimer.