Council plans for SPLOST, adding recreational space

LOVEJOY — City officials have been slow to tip their hand on exactly how they hope to use their share of revenues gotten from a continuation of the one-cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, should voters approve the ballot referendum next year.

Lovejoy City Council, along with municipalities across Clayton County, is in the planning stages of providing the county with a wish list of projects to include on the ballot.

Mayor Bobby Cartwright said the city surveyed citizens, asking for input to help council members determine how to best allocate future SPLOST funds. He did not go into specifics on how any of the money would allotted.

“It pays to play close to the vest,” said Cartwright, who did reveal the city planned to spend 56 percent of its share on improving the city’s infrastructure, a main concern for survey respondents. He added that 24 percent likely would go to public safety and 20 percent go to recreation.

Cartwright said the final list will be simple and pointed to address specific needs in the city.

“I still think we’re doing the right thing by keeping it simple,” he said.

Resident Tavan Jones and Kaycia Rhone, the executive assistant to the mayor, are helping represent Lovejoy at SPLOST referendum planning meetings where city officials around the county are looking to get a specific piece of the pie in recommended SPLOST expenditures to be placed on the next year’s ballot.

Council also met Monday to discuss two new full-time positions and the possibility of adding to recreational spaces downtown.

The council is considering adding the position of administrative assistant at the Lovejoy Community Center and executive secretary to assist Rhone at city hall.

Cartwright said the city employs 29 individuals — including two full-time and one part-time employees and four consultants at city hall.

The mayor said the city has also made progress in developing its green and recreational spaces.

Lovejoy recently was awarded a transportation enhancement grant from the Georgia Department of Transportation worth nearly $1 million to assist in developing more pedestrian pathways and green space throughout the city.

There also are plans to add green and recreational space on about six acres of property adjacent to Mayor’s Park with funding through other grants and sources.

Cartwright said he is in negotiations to enter into a long-term lease on the unused wooded property of the Waste Authority Board that manages the Clayton County landfill downtown. He said the parcel of land would include a multi-purpose athletics field built and managed with the help of Clayton County Parks and Recreation and two new basketball courts.

A skate park funded by a Community Development Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and additional walking trails will complement the development, which itself will adjoin to “Helping Other People Excel” Park.

HOPE Park is a 26-acre property next to Mayor’s Park, owned by Fayetteville couple Linda and David Clark who founded Southern Crescent Sports Foundation Inc.

The foundation is managing fundraisers to see through the park’s design as a multi-faceted, all-accessible sports complex.

Find the foundation’s latest charity event at www.ourhopepark.com.