Clayton County scraps plans to build District 4 recreation center at Stockbridge Road site

Jeff Turner says there were ‘land issues’

JONESBORO — Clayton County officials have deemed a Jonesboro location purchased by the county four years ago to house a recreation center as no longer suitable for that purpose.

Clayton County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to terminate project planning and construction efforts at a 7.25-acre property on Stockbridge Road. They also gave SG Property Services LLC authorization to assess whether Clayton County International Park would be a suitable location for the proposed District 4 Recreation Center.

The county bought the property, which is near Sta-Brite Signs and Awnings, in August 2009 for $375,000.

“I believe there were some land issues at the site and it was going to cost more to make the site suitable for construction,” commission Chairman Jeff Turner said.

The center was approved by Clayton County voters a decade ago through a special purpose local option sales tax referendum intended to build multiple recreation centers across the county.

That SPLOST has also funded the construction of the Carl Rhodenizer, Virginia Burton Gray, Jim Huie and South Clayton recreation centers, as well as the Steve Lundquist Aquatics Center and the J. Charley Griswell Senior Center. It was intended to fund the District 4 center as well.

Turner directed additional questions to Commission Vice Chairman Michael Edmondson, who represents District 4 on the commission. Edmondson could not be reached for comment.

With the opening of the South Clayton Recreation Center earlier this year, the District 4 center remains the only center approved by voters that has not been built. It had been expected to go up soon, however, because the commission voted in February to begin project planning and construction efforts.

Now, the center is on hold — again.

The project has spent much of its life on hold. The purchase of land for a District 4 recreation center came about six years after it was approved by voters. A year later, a ground-breaking ceremony was held at the site with plans to open the facility in 2011.

However, the land sat largely undisturbed until after the commission’s vote in February. The South Clayton Recreation Center in Lovejoy experienced similar delays. Its opening came nearly five years after its ground-breaking.

When the property was purchased, Clayton News Daily reported that it once adjoined Rock Hill Lake, which was a popular swimming hole in the 1970s. It was also reported at the time that county officials hoped to use an artisan well on the property to irrigate the land and fill a swimming pool at the recreation center.

When the property was purchased, Edmondson and then-Chairman Eldrin Bell told the newspaper the Stockbridge Road location was a good one.

“We found a great piece of property in a great location for a great price that meets every criteria we set for it,” he told Clayton News Daily on Aug. 29, 2009.