The Canton City Council on Thursday night approved an agreement with the Cherokee County government to purchase 29 acres on Marietta Highway near the Etowah River and adjacent to the Cherokee Lanes bowling alley for a city park.
The total cost of the property owned by Garry Haygood is $401,501. The city will pay 20 percent - $80,300, with the county covering the remainder.
City Manager Scott Wood urged the council to consider approval of the contribution as the county is scheduled to close on the property before the council's March 17 meeting.
The council during its previous meeting on Feb. 17 faced questions from city residents about how they would pay for the purchase.
Wood said the city could use funds it would generate if it sold about a quarter of an acre to RaceTrac on Marietta Highway at the Prominence Point Parkway intersection. RaceTrac is offering to pay $76,760 for the property.
The council on Thursday night approved the park purchase agreement contingent upon approving the land sale to RaceTrac at the March 17 meeting.
"(Those are) funds we had not anticipated," Wood said of the sale to RaceTrac.
The council didn't decide at the meeting where the funding would come from to make up the $3,540 difference. During the Feb. 17 meeting, the council had talked about using some of its share of the county parks bond or monies from the general fund to pay the entire cost.
City Councilman Jack Goodwin said he supported the purchase, as the property is "very vital" to the city's plans to build more trails and practice fields in the city.
The council on Thursday also continued its talks about an intergovernmental agreement with the county that would allow the county to run recreation programs on certain fields within city parks including Boling Park, Harmon Field and the new city park on Brown Industrial Drive.
The county could offer such programs as youth and adult athletics, camps, senior citizen programs, community events, cultural arts, fitness programs and instructional programs.
The county would be authorized to charge fees to offset the cost of providing programs. The city would be responsible for maintenance.
The agreement also would allow the county to contract with other organizations to provide programs.
Wood said he felt the agreement would be a "good thing" for the city and hopes to bring it back to the council for a vote during the March 17 meeting.
"I have a no reservations in recommending it to the council," he said.
Mayor Gene Hobgood noted the city doesn't have the staff to handle scheduling for such programs.
Councilwoman Pat Tanner said she sees the agreement as the best way for the city to operate "until we do get the staff to handle our city parks."
Beresford noted the city has had "a lot of turmoil" when it tried to manage park scheduling and programming.
He noted it's time the council approves the agreement, adding county youth will soon need to know the schedules of spring games.
"Let's get it on," he said.
The vote may not be unanimous though, as Councilman Bob Rush said he disagrees with the idea.
"I feel like Canton parks should be controlled by Canton people," he said.