County OKs money for The Beach

By Justin Reedy

Clayton County's water park will be getting a major face-lift before opening later this month.

The Beach at Clayton County International Park, the county-owned swimming venue east of Jonesboro, will have repairs made to several problematic areas, including the children's pool and the public use building rented out by the county.

At its meeting Tuesday night, the Clayton County Board of Commissioners approved more than $150,000 in funding to make repairs at The Beach.

The project will pay for replacing all of the foam products used in the children's pool, as well as repairing the surface of that pool. In addition, it will fund new equipment and furniture for the VIP Building, which the county has been renovating recently. The VIP Building is rented out to the public for meetings, banquets, weddings and other gatherings.

The renovation of the VIP building is almost done, county officials say, and when it is completed the facility will have new carpet, fresh painted walls, two new dance floors and upgraded restrooms and VIP suites. Most of the upgrades have been designed to make the facility more attractive to people as a spot for weddings, according to Crandle Bray, chairman of the county commission.

"The biggest problem we've had is that the building isn't suitable for weddings because of the d?cor," Bray said at Tuesday night's meeting. "This should fix that problem."

In the swimming area, the children's pool will have surface cracks repaired and will have all slides and other equipment replaced, according to Rick Lane, the park manager. Some of the waterslides in the adult area will also be repaired.

The renovations should be completed, Lane said, before the park's opening, which is scheduled for Memorial Day weekend.

In other business, the commission approved:

* the selection of Slater Paull Architects of Marietta for a $68,200 contract for the design of a new combined county health center. The new health center will consolidate much of the county's health services into one central location, which officials say will improve patient service and save taxpayer money. The $1.85 million project will take an existing building on Battle Creek Road and renovate it to fit the county's needs. Officials say the building will offer a one-stop location for health services by replacing the five existing county Health Department locations, and should save the county money it is spending now on rent.

"We think it will be a big plus for our community, because our patients won't have to wait as long, and it will be more convenient because all the services will be at one location," said Kathy Browning, the public information officer for the county Health Department.

* the acquisition of 12.969 acres of land along the Flint River near Valley Hill Road for protection as greenspace under the Georgia Greenspace Act. The land deal is just one of many the county hopes to accomplish with state grant funding along the Flint River, according to Wayne Patterson, director of transportation and development for Clayton County.

"We're proceeding along the Flint River, starting at Upper Riverdale Road, and we want to create a greenspace trail along the entire river corridor all the way to the Spalding County line," Patterson said. "This would protect our water resources and provide for passive recreation areas along the river."