Cherokee County Commissioner Harry Johnston, who also serves on the county's recreation board, gave an update on it and other parks projects during a town hall meeting on Tuesday night.
The proposed park at the end of Brown Industrial Parkway off Highway 20 near Interstate 575 exit 19 will include baseball fields as well as softball, multi-use soccer fields and tennis and basketball courts.
The Canton City Council has asked the board of commissioners to use a portion of the $90 million parks bond referendum to fund construction of the park. The actual cost of the park has not yet been determined.
Johnston said an environmental study of the 70 acres where the majority of the park will be built has shown no significant issues. A three-acre tract on the other side of the Etowah River, the site for a proposed dog park, does have some environmental issues that would require further analysis.
"I want to see if we can divorce the two," Johnston said of the parks during the meeting, so that the "little one does not hold up the big one."
He said the county would not split the projects without the approval of Canton officials.
Johnston also talked about buying greenspace with funds from the parks bond, noting $10 million was earmarked for that need in the referendum.
Resident Viviane Decker of Canton brought up the issue of including passive parks in the county's park expansion plans.
"I want to start focusing on greenspace," she said about preserving the natural areas of the county. "As development picks up, it would be nice to conserve some of it for the next generation."
Johnston opened up the conversation for ideas about passive areas from the audience of about 30 people.
Ideas proposed included bicycle trails and hunting and fishing uses. Mrs. Decker suggested building nature centers in areas of greenspace.
Johnston said while greenspace still is a priority, it's just not as high as active parks right now.
"We will have to make some real progress on active parks," he said before the county could focus on greenspace projects.
The county parks advisory board last month drafted a priority list of new construction projects to be funded with the parks bond.
In addition to the Canton park, other projects on the list are new trails in Woodstock, an aquatic center, the soccer complex on Blalock Road; renovations to Hobgood Park, the Twin Creeks softball fields at Biello Park, Blanket's Creek Bike Trails, Dwight Terry Park, Kenny Askew Park and Sequoyah Park; and lighting and fencing projects.
The board of commissioners is reviewing the recommendations from the advisory board as well as a list created by County Manager Jerry Cooper.
His list calls for more land acquisition in the next five years including the purchase of green space, land in the Holly Springs area and more land in southwest Cherokee.
So far, the county has spent bond money on purchasing land and equipment.
Land purchases made include 150 acres off Highway 20 in Macedonia, 141 acres off Allison Lane near Ball Ground, 103 acres on Bluffs Parkway adjacent to the Bluffs at Technology Park, 51.06 acres on Univeter Road near Canton adjacent to Kenny Askew Park, 39 acres at Priest and Hunt Roads in southwest Cherokee and 33.88 acres at Kellogg Creek Road at Victory Road near Lake Allatoona.
Cline Park on Bartow Street and Waleska Park on Highway 108, both in Waleska also were purchased - both from Reinhardt College.
Johnston at the meeting also talked about the need for a library in the northwestern part of the county.
A library in the Macedonia/Free Home area is on the state government's approved list for funding, but a delay in construction is possible due to funding shortfalls, he said.
Other issues that came up during the meeting include a proposal to set a minimum acreage for conservation use, for which a public hearing will be held by the commissioners on Tuesday; and a request for repairs to be made to the railroad crossing on Univeter Road.