Agency seeks to memorialize Rivera in park
by Megan Thornton
mthornton@cherokeetribune.com
December 07, 2012 12:04 AM | 1849 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — Plans to name a portion of a new park in memory of a little girl murdered in Canton last year were moved forward Wednesday.

The Cherokee County Recreation and Parks Agency Advisory Board unanimously approved a recommendation to ask the Canton City Council to consider a resolution to name a portion of the slated Etowah River Park for Jorelys Rivera at its meeting Tuesday night.

Board member Amy Turcotte said she spoke with Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood and City Council member John Beresford and told them she would make the recommendation to the advisory board.

The 7-year-old Canton Elementary School student was killed last year in her apartment complex by 20-year-old maintenance worker Ryan Brunn. She was memorialized in a candlelight vigil Sunday where Turcotte, a featured speaker at the event, said she would make the recommendation.

“(Jorelys’ mother) mentioned she would like to have a playground named after Jorelys with maybe a butterfly bench or something because she loved butterflies, Turcotte said.

Turcotte said she thought it would be a nice way to support the family, as they still live in Canton.

Bryan Reynolds, director of CPRA, said the Etowah River Park makes sense as a selection because it is inside the city of Canton.

Neither the city nor the county has another playground slated for construction any time soon other than one in Ball Ground, Reynolds said. He said the ultimate decision about the name is up to Canton City Council.

Reynolds added that playground equipment companies he has worked with in the past may be able to create a structure in the girl’s memory as an integrated piece of the playground.

“They could actually create the equipment in the shape of insects or animals,” Reynolds said. “… They could make a butterfly structure that sat at the playground to climb on.”

When asked if Hobgood would support the measure, Turcotte said she didn’t know why he wouldn’t.

“The mom’s asked for nothing,” Turcotte said. “She’s actually doing really well… I think it would be good to show our support.”

Reynolds said construction bids are due Thursday for both the Etowah River Park and a park slated for the Killian property in Canton. Contracts for both parks are scheduled to be awarded in January, as both parks will be built simultaneously and are planned to open in spring 2014.

The Etowah River Park will include pultipurpose fields, paved walking paths, a canoe launch, an event lawn, pavillions and a concessions and restroom building.

Several add-alternates, which would be chosen by Canton City Council, could include a playground, pedestrian bridge over the river, trails from Heritage Park to Boling Park, and/or an amphitheatre structure.

In other business, the council unanimously approved all three proposals from local competitive swim teams for the use of swim lanes at the Cherokee County Aquatic Center.

The Marietta Marlins, Chattahoochee Gold and Stingrays Swimming were approved their requests as proposed for swim lanes beginning in April when the new county aquatic center opens.

Reynolds said there will still be “ample space” for lap swimmers and high school teams alongside the three competitive teams.

He added that by the end of the year, he anticipates the aquatic center will exceed projected revenues of $300,000 by anywhere from $5,000 to $40,000.

Additionally, the advisory board heard an update on the county’s capital improvements program for parks, with active construction on two major projects under the parks bond, SPLOST V and the impact fee program.

The biggest project the county parks agency has taken on to date, the Cherokee County Aquatics Center, remains on schedule for completion in spring 2013 with most of the structure itself having already been completed.

The aquatic center will include a 50-meter competition pool with spectator seating for 700, a 25-year recreational pool and an outdoor leisure pool with slides and play structures.

New South Construction was awarded the $16 million contract in December 2011.

Addtionally, contstruction on the Blankets Creek Bike Trails has not yet required closure of the park but Reynolds said he anticipates the park being closed for a week or so for construction.

The trail improvements will include a re-aligned park entrance with Sixes Road, improved and additional parking, a new restroom facility, pavilions and a bicycle wash station.

Construction is on schedule and the completion date is April 2013. The $829,989 contract for the trail improvements was awarded to W.E. Contracting in July.

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