We’ve got parks, but do we have leisure?
In browsing through the Hall County Parks and Leisure website, I have a hard time seeing where the county spends $2,579,595. We have Alberta Banks Park, Allen Creek Soccer Complex, Cedar Creek Reservoir, Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center, East Hall Park & Community Center, Healan’s Mill Property & Head’s Mill Historic Site, Laurel Park, Mulberry Creek Park & Community Center, Platt Park, Rafe Banks (Lula) Park, River Forks Park, Tadmore Park, and Williams Mill Greenspace (Cherokee Bluffs park is funded in SPLOST VI and not done). This list seems to have missed one of the “School-in-A-Park” projects at Flowery Branch High School.
The School-in-A-Park program has to be one of the largest misuses of SPLOST dollars in the history of SPLOST. When you look at the Hall County site or the brochure, you won’t find the park built at Flowery Branch High School, however, that is not the only park where we are having an issue. If you look East Hall Park & Community Center, this park was built like the Flowery Branch H.S. park for a school. It would seem that a lot of the money spent on these “parks” are for the use of the schools. If so, then the schools should help pay for them, especially if they have priority use on the fields. I think we should ask for at least $250k for the upkeep on these collocated parks. That might be a low number, but it will be a start.
The next area we need to look at are the two new parks coming online: Cool Springs and Napone Rd. I encouraged Commissioner Lutz to let go of the Cool Springs issue and I stand by what I said. However, we need to consider how to make up for the $906k annual cost of these two parks. Parks are a losing proposition, but in this case, I think we need to mitigate the cost by outsourcing the community centers at Mulberry Creek, East Hall and Napone Road to the YMCA, similar to White County. This may increase the fees to the residents, but it should reduce the payroll. I would think that we could net about $750k difference in labor savings along with gaining some rent from the Y.
Overall, I see at least $1m in savings from Parks and Leisure. Next up: Public Works.
Hugh Hall County Akston