County proceeding with recreation projects

By Billy Corriher

With the first check from the county's Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax expected in about a week, Clayton County is moving forward with its plans for six new recreational centers and an aquatic center.

The county commissioners received an update on the projects at their meeting on Tuesday, where they received a list of possible architects for the recreation centers and possible contractors for the aquatic center. Interviews with the firms are scheduled for later this month, and the commissioners will begin forming a citizens steering committee to advise the companies.

Crandle Bray, chairman of the board of commissioners, and Commissioner Virginia Gray suggested including high school students in getting advice for the aquatic center, which is a joint project with the county Board of Education.

"I'd like to hear what these students have to say," Bray said.

The county Board of Education is helping out with the $8 million price tag on the aquatic center, which will include a gymnasium and a 50-meter swimming pool.

The county is anticipating $40 million in SPLOST revenue to also fund six new recreation centers.

Once selected, the architects for the recreation centers will base all the structures on one design, Bray said.

Also at its Tuesday meeting, the commissioners deferred taking action on new regulations for stormwater management and developments in flood plains.

Though the county has already implemented many of the policies, they must be put in ordinance form, said Crandle Bray, chairman of the county commissioners.

Commissioner Charley Griswell said he wanted more information on what additional rules the ordinances would entail.

The guidelines come from the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District, of which Bray is the vice-chair, and will regulate rules in 16 counties.

Bray said the county has been working with the new rules for a while.

"We've been working on trying to minimize the impact on the county," he said.

Ray Espinosa, the county's land development engineer, said the stormwater management ordinance would give the county better oversight for monitoring development around environmentally sensitive areas that could affect drinking water.

The ordinance regarding development in floodplains would put in place guidelines to better protect structures from flood damage.

The original deadline to have the regulations in place is April 3, but Espinosa said that since the county already adheres to the practices, it could probably wait until its April 6 meeting.