The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved a contract with W. E. Contracting Co. Inc. to make improvements at Blankets Creek Mountain Bike Trails, located along Sixes Road just outside of Holly Springs.
The contract amount is $829,989, which includes $40,000 in contingency funds from the county.
Improvements to the site include grading, new parking, drainage improvements, constructing a new entrance off Sixes Road to align with an existing median cut, new restrooms, two picnic pavilions and utility connections and improvements.
Bill Echols, Cherokee County capital program manager, said he expects work to begin in early September and should last around 250 days.
The Woodstock chapter of the Southern Off-Road Bicycling Association said it would agree to close the trails on weekdays for a total of 15 days to accommodate construction. The rest of the days the park will remain open.
SORBA Woodstock President Jay Wilkes said the improvements have been a long time coming.
“We’re very, very happy about this decision,” he said, adding the trail continues to remain popular as it was recently ranked the fifth best mountain bike trail system in the world on the website singletracks.com.
The president said that while Sixes Presbyterian Church has been “incredible” for allowing mountain bikers to utilize their parking when existing space is full, the church recently started sharing parking with another church and can no longer accommodate riders.
Wilkes said the parking is needed as mountain bikers have been parking at nearby commercial businesses such as Starbucks, Publix and The Home Depot and riding along Sixes to the trails.
He noted the increase from 75 to 175 parking spaces will be a “much-needed amenity.”
In other business, the county commission held a second public hearing on its proposed millage rate, which it is expected to formally adopt along with the rates of the Cherokee County Board of Education, tonight at 6 p.m. at the county administration building.
The county’s total millage rate sits at 9.13 mills, which includes 5.36 for the general fund, 3.129 for the fire district and .641 for the parks bond.
The commission is considering a revenue neutral rate increase, which would result in 5.85 for the general fund, 3.39 for the fire fund and .693 for the parks bond.
The fire district and general fund rates are considered revenue neutral, but the parks rate is not as it’s set to cover debt service related to the county’s parks bond program, said Chief Financial Officer Janelle Funk.
The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners also:
Recognized the 100th anniversary of the Eagle Scout badge being awarded;
* Held a public hearing on its proposed millage rates;
* Approved changes to the county’s cemetery preservation ordinance, which changes the ordinance’s name to cemetery creation and preservation, clarifies how cemeteries should be maintained and makes changes to the cemetery preservation process;
* Approved appointing Woodstock City Manager Jeff Moon to the Cherokee County Department of Family and Children Services board.
* Approved accepting insurance recovery funds and budget transfer in the total amount of $7,471.50;
* Approved a budget amendment to increase Grant Fund in the amount of $5,000 in acceptance of a donation by Northside Hospital-Cherokee for use in the County’s Wellness Program;
* Approved scheduling a public hearing for Aug. 21 to consider transmittal of the 2012 Cherokee County Capital Improvement Element (CIE) and Short Term Work Program (STWP) Annual Update to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the Atlanta Regional Commissioner;
* Approved accepting a Victims of Crime Act grant renewal application for $87,397;
* Approved a professional services agreement Siemens Industry Inc. for the fire alarm, life safety and security system technical services to the Adult Detention Center, Justice Center and Fire Stations 4, 12, 21, 22 and 23 for $54,828; and
* Amended a resolution that designed the county’s open records officer, which allows agency directors to handle requests of records handled by their departments.