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AUGUST 1, 2003


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OPINIONS
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SPORTS

SUMMER FOOTBALL
Putting On The Pads
Commerce football players will be getting used to lugging around their armor again this week as the team donned pads this Monday to start a week-long session of two-a-days practice.

Etheridge makes it three straight at LNS
Rookie Richey Etheridge of Flowery Branch, Ga. edged veteran Russell Fleeman of Dacula to earn his fourth win of the 2003 season in the Pro Late Model division Saturday at Lanier National Speedway in Braselton.

Full pads turn up intensity
Monday marked the first day football teams were allowed to don the pads this preseason, a sign that the opening of the 2003 season is just around the corner.
Jackson County returned from a brief mini-camp at North Georgia College and State University last week and continued to work solidly, according to Panther head coach Brent Brock.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
‘The drug of choice’
Methamphetamine use continues to climb in rural areas
Imagine ingesting a drug made of little more than cold medicine, battery acid, fertilizer and drain cleaner, manufactured in a drug dealer’s kitchen.

Judge denies motion to throw out Cagle’s plea
Superior Court Judge Joe Booth denied the state’s motion last week to have Patrick Henry Cagle Jr.’s guilty plea in the murder death of Bobby Fain thrown out.


Neighborhood News...
MADISON COUNTY
BOC shoots down subdivision plans
Albert Sanders got a unanimous vote from the zoning board earlier this month in favor of his planned 30-lot subdivision off Hwy. 98 near Danielsville. But county commissioners voted exactly the opposite way Monday.

Citizens, leaders talk about animal control
Twenty or so residents showed up at a county commission work session Tuesday night to hear their elected officials discuss what to do about the issue of animal control in Madison County.

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LARGE CROWD

A large crowd, of approximately 200 people, attended the second rally held by Concerned Citizens of Jackson County. The group is opposing the courthouse financing plans of the board of commissioners.

UPDATED 8/01/03
Hodges given life without parole for double murder
A 25-year-old man will spend the rest of his life behind bars for the murder of a Jackson County couple.
Superior Court Judge David Motes sentenced David Hodges to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Friday morning after he pled guilty to the murder of Sherry and Junior Brady.
Hodges had at first pled not guilty and was slated to go to trial on Aug. 25 but he changed his plea Friday. District attorney Tim Madison planned to seek the death penalty if the case had gone to trial.
Hodges pled guilty to two counts of malice murder, burglary, robbery, arson and theft. He was represented by attorneys Walter Harvey and Chris Elrod, who were appointed by the court.
Hodges showed no emotion during the one-hour court hearing Friday morning. Motes asked him a series of questions, including whether he admitted to shooting the couple in the back of the head. Hodges said that he did.
The Bradys were found in their South Jackson home on Feb. 8, 2002, after a relative called the Jackson County Sheriff's Office after not being able to contact the couple. They had known Hodges for three weeks prior to the murder and had given him a job with their construction company and allowed him to live in their home.
Madison said that the shooting occurred after the Brady's became "suspicious" of Hodges' behavior and asked him to leave their home. The district attorney said Hodges went outside and got Brady's handgun and went back inside and shot him in the back of the head. Madison said that when Mrs. Brady came into the room, Hodges pistol whipped her and then shot her in the back of the head. Hodges took a computer, a billfold and a purse and left in the Brady's vehicle.
Madison said that Hodges was on the run for six months had been traced to Alabama and then Arizona before authorities caught him in California, where he was driving the Brady's vehicle.
Several members of the Brady family spoke during Friday's court hearing.
Mrs. Brady's cousin, Vicki Winters, spoke of the impact the murder has had on her. Winters lives in a mobile home near the Brady home and was present when law enforcement officials found the couple. She said that Hodges had "destroyed the lives of everyone who knew" the couple.
"He took something from us that can never be replaced," she said.
Winters described the couple as "special people who tried to help those around them." She said that Mrs. Brady cooked for Hodges and washed his clothes after the couple took him into their home. She added that he is "heartless and empty inside" to have murdered the only people to reach out to him.
"I lost all trust in people," she said. "You never know who people are and what they are capable of."
Winters also spoke on the sentencing of Hodges.
"David is being given the choice of whether he lives or dies," she said. "He gets to decide his fate. Sherry and Junior didn't get to decide their fate. David decided for them with murder...He will be judged by a much higher court than this."
Another family member, Wanda Faulkner, also spoke on how the murder has impacted her life. She said her 3-year-old who still asks when the Bradys will "wake up."
"We all want to ask why he did this," she said.
Madison also commented on the couple and said they had a history of helping people in need.
"He murdered two good Samaritans," he said.
Judge Motes asked Hodges whether he wanted to speak before the sentence was given and he said he did not. Harvey said that his client had no explanation for what he did.
"There is no explanation," the judge said. "This is a dreadful case."
The judge told Hodges: "You've shown very little remorse today and no emotion...You will not be unleashed on society but will be in prison for the rest of your life."
Sheriff Stan Evans, along with seven deputies, three sheriff's office investigators, two bailiffs and other court officials were present for the hearing.


Judge seals recusal order in courthouse suit
Judge Overstreet from Augusta to hear case
Legal maneuvering in the high-profile lawsuit against the Jackson County Board of Commissioners over financing plans for a new courthouse heated up this week after the presiding judge sealed the local judges’ recusal order and named the judge who will hear the controversial case.
In an unusual move, Judge Marvin Sorrells, the presiding judge from neighboring Alcovy Superior Court Circuit, notified the county clerk’s office Wednesday to seal the recusal document signed last week by local Superior Court judges Robert Adamson, Joe Booth and David Motes.
Judge Sorrells also notified the parties involved in the lawsuit this week that he planned to name Judge Carlisle Overstreet of Augusta to hear the case.
At issue is a lawsuit filed by a group of county citizens contesting the BOC’s plans to finance a controversial new courthouse through a lease-purchase program. The citizens claim that the plan is not a true lease, but rather debt financing. The Georgia Constitution states that debt financing must be voted on by citizens.
The BOC claims that the $25 million plan is not a true debt but is only a lease arrangement done through the Association County Commissioners of Georgia.
RECUSAL ORDER FLAP
A recusal order is given when a local judge decides he cannot hear a particular case because of a potential conflict of interest. Judges Adamson, Booth and Motes have all been outspoken on various aspects of the courthouse issue.
But the three judges’ recusal order was unusual in that it was done jointly and for its length and amount of detail.
Attorney Wyc Orr, who represents the citizens’ group suing the BOC, objected to some parts of the recusal because he believed it might unduly influence a visiting judge’s view of the case.
The recusal outlines the background of the local judge’s involvement in the issue, but it also contains language that Orr believed might sway a visiting judge against his clients. Orr had given notice to Judge Sorrells and the three local judges that he intended to file a motion to have parts of the recusal stricken from the record. It was on that basis that Judge Sorrells apparently decided to seal the documents, including the specifics of Orr’s objections.
JUDGE OVERSTREET
Although no court dates have been set, the appointment of Judge Overstreet to hear the case sets up the framework for future legal action. A variety of motions, counter-motions and the discovery process could take weeks before a full court hearing takes place.
Overstreet is a well-known Georgia Superior Court judge and has served as president of the Council of Superior Court Judges in Georgia. From that position, he has played a leading role in a variety of political and legal issues affecting Georgia courts.
RALLY NETS SUPPORT, DOLLARS
Meanwhile, the citizens’ group behind the lawsuit, Concerned Citizens of Jackson County, held its second large political rally last week, collecting over $4,000 toward legal expenses. The group has also garnered nearly 1,000 names in recent days for an advertisement appearing in this week’s newspaper of those opposed to the BOC’s financing plans.
“That (fund raising) is pretty good, but it’s not good enough when you’ve got a legal bill a lot bigger than that,” observed Ray Bauerband, treasurer of the group.
The CCJC is working on other fund-raising plans as well, including a barbecue, solicitation of funds directly from individuals, and mini-rallies to build support in outlying communities.
Approximately 200 people listened last Thursday night as CCJC speakers heaped criticism upon the BOC and exhorted citizens to donate money and get involved in the “no courthouse without vote” effort.
“There’s a lot to be concerned about today in Jackson County,” began Tim Venable, chairman. “We’re taking it a step further. We’re more than just concerned, we’re actively doing something about it and we need your help.”
Venable ripped the county’s plan to finance the courthouse project, calling it an “end run” around the Georgia Constitution and “a scheme that would make Enron’s lawyers and accountants proud.”
Venable also appealed for financial support.
“If you’ve ever done any legal work, legal work is very expensive. It really is.” Gesturing to the people at the speakers’ table, he added, “Nobody up here has big pockets. We’re not millionaires. We need your help.”
Ed Thompson, Jefferson, also prodded the group to help.
“It’s going to be costly, but it’s the right thing to do. We need the opportunity to vote,” he declared, receiving the strongest applause of the evening.
As Venable did, Thompson referenced the campaign pledge of now-BOC chairman Harold Fletcher to hold a referendum on the courthouse.
“Our chairman, when he was campaigning for the job he now holds, was all in favor of holding a referendum, but that’s not the case any more,” Thompson charged.


Planning Panel Turns Down Two Rezoning Requests
City Council To Make Final
Decision On R-3 Requests Aug. 11
Two developers hoping to annex land into Commerce for subdivisions totaling more than 400 houses left Monday night's meeting of the Commerce Planning Commission unhappy.
The planning panel voted to recommend that the Commerce City Council deny both "zoning for annexation" requests. The city council will take up those recommendations at its Monday, Aug. 11, meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the Commerce Civic Center.
The meeting room was packed as Andy Barnett once again explained his proposed development on W.E. King Road, just above the city's wastewater treatment plant.
Barnett wanted to rezone 30 acres to R-3 for a 45-lot subdivision.
It was his second visit to the commission, which a month earlier indicated it opposed an R-3 designation and suggested that he try an "overlay" process which would create more greenspace and allow some clustering of lots. That, Barnett said, turned out not to be practical for the land.
This time, member Doug Newcomer questioned Barnett about settling for an R-2 zoning, which would allow fewer lots.
"I don't believe I could get the numbers out of R-2," Barnett responded, alluding to power line easements, steep grades and a creek that take up part of the land.
Newcomer made the motion to deny the request, based on "non-conformance with the city's land use plan."
The motion passed unanimously.
But most of the 45 visitors at the meeting came to hear the request of Glenn D. Chatham and Vans Clinkscales to rezone for annexation 176 acres owned by Clinkscales for an R-3 subdivision containing 387-405 lots, depending upon who was speaking.
Suzanne Liszt of K&G Enterprises, Norcross, probably saw the handwriting on the wall before she made her first comment, but she gamely tried to sell the planning commission and citizens on the virtues of the proposed development.
Her first mistake was admitting that the company wanted an R-3 development "to get smaller lot sizes" for the 1,600-square-foot minimum size houses. She also noted that instead of the 405 lots originally proposed, the development would create only 387. She also noted that the property is convenient to the new middle school under construction.
"The new middle school will attract hard-working families that I believe deserve an opportunity to own a home," she stated.
Liszt's promise to "make a beautiful, single-family detached resident subdivision" fell on deaf ears.
Scott Tolbert, speaking on behalf of the residents of nearby Montgomery Shores, most of whom were in the room, began his opposing remarks by asking for a show of hands of people in the room opposed to the request. Almost every hand went up.
Tolbert's litany of objections included the density of the subdivision, size of the lots, conflict with the zoning in adjacent areas, traffic concerns with "800 additional vehicles" on the road and the effect on the city school system.
Whereas Liszt gave vague answers when asked if she had talked to school officials about the impact on the system of 387 new homes, Tolbert was very clear.
"I spoke to Larry White (school superintendent) today and I asked him what would ... 850 kids going to do to that school system," Tolbert reported. "He said, and these are his words, 'We would be in real, real trouble financially. Real, real trouble.'"
Tolbert added that White projected that many children would result in the system having to add portable classrooms and possibly building a new high school.
"He said, financially, it would be devastating," Tolbert reported.
Tolbert also recommended that the area below the dam on the Montgomery Shores side of Jefferson Road be kept clear of houses.
"Anybody who would buy a house or build a house below the dam needs counseling," he remarked. "What would happen if that dam broke?"
He also suggested that his group would not oppose annexation and development of the land on the other side of Jefferson Road if it came in as R-1E, with a minimum house size of 2,400 square feet.
Others voicing opposition to the request included Jean Ward, who lives in a 10,000-square-foot house formerly owned by Clinkscales, who worried about the development's affect on her property value; Mrs. Joe L. Griffeth Jr., Bob Griffeth, Todd McElroy, Dr. Tom Lewis, Jon Duba, Dr. Jon Milford and Beth McCook.
Chairman Greg Perry asked if the developer would consider the R-1E zoning classification proposed by Tolbert. A man identified as the project engineer but who gave no name responded negatively.
"Nothing below one-acre lots would work," he said.
Again, Newcomer made the motion to deny the rezoning request "based on the future land use plan and the detriment to the city of Commerce." The motion passed unanimously.
A third item on the agenda was tabled. That was a preliminary plat for Southern Oaks Subdivision off Mt. Olive Road. The new owners of the mobile home park, Daniel Wilson and Chad Black, asked that the matter be tabled.


Pendergrass to call for vote on liquor by the drink
Pendergrass leaders are getting ready to call for a vote on liquor by the drink in hopes of attracting a restaurant or hotel to the North Jackson town.
The Pendergrass City Council first discussed such a move over a year ago, but leaders are now making plans to move forward since the bypass has opened.
At Tuesday’s city council meeting, officials discussed passing a resolution calling for a November referendum on liquor by the drink. City attorney Walter Harvey said that an election would have to be called within 60 days after a resolution is passed. The council tabled passing the resolution until its next meeting so that an election would be able to be held in November.
“We just want to be prepared,” Mayor Monk Tolbert said. “We would rather do it beforehand than after someone requests locating here. It might attract a restaurant. That intersection will eventually fill up. It may be five years but it will.”
When the issue was first discussed by the council in April 2002, Tolbert said that an alcohol pouring ordinance should be heavily weighed upon the percentage of food sales a restaurant will sell. Most ordinances require that at least 50 percent, and sometimes as much as 70 percent, of a restaurant’s sales come from food and not alcohol.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, two citizens, Dink Elrod and James Buffington, complained about the police department. Elrod said the officers “write out tickets for little things.” He also questioned officers writing tickets outside the city limits.
Mayor Monk Tolbert said he hasn’t received any complaints about the department. Tolbert also added that the only time a ticket would be written outside the city is if the offense was committed in the city limits and the officer tried to stop the suspect in the city and they refused.
Police chief Rob Russell added that no one is stopped outside the city limits.
“Everything starts inside the city of Pendergrass,” he said. “They refuse to stop.”
Buffington said the department is doing a “poor job of community relations.”

OTHER BUSINESS
Also at Tuesday’s meeting:
•Laura Hayes gave a report on the public library, which had 36 participants in its summer reading program. She also said that the library had 108 patrons in June and held two programs, with 15 people present at one of them and 21 at the other.
•the council tabled appointing an election superintendent and poll workers and setting qualifying fees for the November election. Action on this was postponed because two council members, Rebecca Danner and Gail Parrish, were not present.
•approved an amendment to the mobile home ordinance that prohibits mobile homes older than five years old from being moved into the city. This comes at the recommendation of the Quad Cities Planning Commission.
•tabled a yard sale permit ordinance until next month’s meeting.
•officer Richard Jewell gave a report on the police department, which includes a teenager driving over 90 after midnight and another teen driving over 80 at 1 a.m. He said the speed limits have increased, especially among teenagers traveling through the town on the weekends. Jewell also reported on three juveniles found skating at 2 a.m. They were taken home to their parents.
•Jewell also reported on the storm damage to the library and city hall roof on July 21. He said the facility also received water damage. City employees, along with some citizen volunteers, cleared most of the limbs and debris in roadways.


WJ schools to open Wed.
Hundreds of area students will head back to school next week as schools in West Jackson open.
West Jackson Primary, West Jackson Intermediate and West Jackson Middle Schools will open on Wednesday, Aug. 6. Each school is having its open house on Tuesday.
Jackson County Comprehensive High School is also opening next Wednesday. Its open house is slated for Monday.
Barrow County schools open Friday, Aug. 1, while Hall County schools open Aug. 8 and Gwinnett County schools open Aug. 11.
For more information about Jackson County school openings, see this weeks Jackson Herald


Keeping Hoschton ‘green’ a topic of city discussions
Despite growth in the community, Hoschton’s landscape still shows a good amount of pasture and hayfields within the city limits, a consultant said Monday.
Lee Carmon, planning director and general counsel for the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center, explained that satellite images from 2002 show Hoschton’s limits haven’t turned completely against its former farm-life ways. The images, however, didn’t show the entire city, due to cloud coverage.
But, to keep the city limits green, five citizens discussed on Monday whether the city council should consider passing ordinances to protect certain trees and limit the practice of “clear cutting” land. The discussion was part of the effort to draft Hoschton’s comprehensive plan.
“I don’t think we should put this on the back burner because (the trees are) going to be gone before we can do anything about them,” said Kaye Schulte.
W.H. Sell also pointed to the need to deter “clear cutting” land, which happens when developers strip a property of most, if not all, of the vegetation before building on the site.
“You can’t re-create what you tear down,” Sell said.
One way Hoschton officials might control clear cutting is a more active stance, Carmon explained. But, the citizens wrestled with whether the words “limit” or “prohibit” clear cutting should be placed in the city’s comprehensive plan.
However, the citizens did say the city council should consider passing an ordinance outlining that developers must keep trees with an eight-foot diameter at its base.
Another item of discussion was how the city council should handle conservation subdivisions and attempts to preserve greenspace.
Conservation subdivisions typically allow developers to place homes closer together, provided they provide a certain amount of greenspace. The measure saves money for developers by reducing the amount of infrastructure, such as streets and sewage lines, needed for a project.
Hoschton doesn’t have a conservation subdivision ordinance, but does provide for a similar subdivision through its Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning. Fifty percent of the land must be saved for greenspace.
“A well-crafted ordinance will identify what lands need to be set aside (for greenspace),” Carmon said. She said Hoschton needs to consider a conservation subdivision ordinance or “tweak” its existing subdivision and zoning regulations.
But, council member Paul Turman said conservation subdivisions would ignore the city’s zoning ordinances.
“Nobody will touch it,” he said of developers looking at the city’s PUD requirements. Carmon said developers are still uncertain of certain conservation subdivision ordinances, since they’re relatively new in Georgia.
The next meeting to discuss the city’s comprehensive plan will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 12, at 6 p.m. Community facilities will be discussed.

 

 


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BJC Medical Center Now Under QHR Management
It's official. BJC Medical Center is being managed by Quorum Health Resources Inc. under a five-year contract signed recently by the BJC Medical Center Authority.
The signing was announced at Monday night's meeting of the authority and follows weeks of negotiations.
For $232,500 per year, QHR will furnish management expertise and resources. The authority will retain control over major decisions and will be the employer of the chief executive officer.
"The governing authority carefully considered its alternatives before choosing QHR," said Charles Blair, chairman. "We were attracted by their depth of resources and broad experience, as well as the expertise of their management staff. They manage over 200 hospitals nationwide and eight other hospitals in Georgia, so they understand the issues unique to our area and are prepared to deal with the challenges a hospital like ours faces."
In addition to day-to-day management assistance, the agreement gives BJC access to QHR's purchasing agreements, a wide array of training and consulting services and specialty healthcare services provided by QHR's partners, noted a news release issued for the occasion.
The contract gives BJC an option to get out of the agreement after the third or fourth year if it chooses.
CEO HUNT
One of the first items of business for QHR is to bring a new administrator to the facility.
At Monday night's meeting, the authority and QHR began developing the process. QHR staff, a committee made up of the executive committees of the medical staff and the authority, will develop a "profile" of the kind of person sought for the position. QHR will take the applicants, narrow the field to three to five finalists, which will be interviewed by the committee. A finalist would be selected for presentation to the whole authority, which would vote on his or her hiring.
Michael Kozar, QHR's group vice president for Georgia, explained the process and will take the lead for BJC. He said the posting for the job will go out this week, with QHR employees having 10 days to express an interest.
Kozar said the process will take up to 60 days for finding and hiring the right person, and probably another 30 to get the new administrator on board.
In other business:
•The authority approved an agreement with Dr. Robert Marshburn and Dr. Adolfo Suarez guaranteeing the latter, who is joining Marshburn's practice, income of at least $50,000 a year.
•The authority authorized Tommy Patey, chief financial officer, and Dr. S.J. Shirley to finalize negotiations relative to refinancing the hospital's bonds.
•Interim CEO Wes Oswald announced that a decision was expected Tuesday (yesterday) on a finalist for the administrator of the nursing facility.
•The authority authorized Patey and member Don Brown to negotiate renewal of the hospital's insurance portfolio.
•Oswald announced that the hospital will host a visit by a general surgeon this weekend. The facility has been seeking a replacement for Dr. Donald McFadden since McFadden closed his practice because of high insurance costs.
•Oswald reported that he will present at the next authority meeting an updated plan of action under the QHR agreement, spelling out specific actions, dates and personnel involved.


Students heading back to school this week
Some 200 new students are expected for the first day of school in the Jackson County and Jefferson City school systems.
Jefferson anticipates 1,680 total students for the year, an increase from last year’s enrollment of 1,575. Students head back to Jefferson Friday for the start of the school year.
The Jackson County School System is expecting to see 5,600 students, which includes students enrolled in pre-kindergarten and classes at the Gordon Street Center. Last year, the county school system had about 5,500 students.
“That’s what we’re prepared for, but you never know,” said Jackson County Schools superintendent Andy Byers.
Students will return to class on Wednesday, Aug. 6, for the county school system.
TEACHERS
About 40 new teachers will be entering the Jackson County School System this year, for a total of 445 teachers. The Jefferson City School System will have 21 new teachers, for a total of 145 certified staff members.
Also new this year will be East Jackson Elementary School, the seventh elementary school in the county school system.
For complete coverage of the back-to-school events and comments from local principals, see this weeks Jackson Herald.


Planning for Braselton’s future
Officials looking at big projects during the next 5 years
Braselton is posed as one of the fastest growing towns in the area. And looking at the town council’s plans for the next five years, Braselton’s governmental influence is growing, too.
Recently, the town council presented a proposal for its capital improvement plan — a five-year road map for which projects officials hope to start and how they might be funded. The plan is still a rough draft and doesn’t include all estimated costs, explained town manager and clerk Jennifer Scott. The town council could vote on the proposal in the fall.
“It’s a good planning tool,” she said. “It’s hard to do a 12-month budget when you’re growing so fast. A five-year plan is easier.”
Among some of the biggest projects for the town’s future is the re-alignment of Ga. Hwy. 124 at the intersection of Ga. Hwy. 53, the creation of a “town green” in the heart of downtown, the development of the Riverwalk Project along the Mulberry River and the construction of a municipal building.
ROAD REALIGNMENT
First on the list of proposed projects is the realignment of Ga. Hwy. 124 at Hwy. 53. Braselton officials hope to redirect traffic at the dangerous intersection along Wall Street, which is currently located behind the historical Braselton Bros. building. Only two buildings would have to be removed for the realigned highway.
Funding for the project could come from the Georgia Department of Transportation and Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds, town officials propose. The project, which would cost Braselton $600,000, could start in 2006.
Another road project that could start in 2006 is the first phase of a truck bypass from Cherry Drive at Ga. Hwy. 53 to Jesse Cronic Road. The realignment of Zion Church Road to Cherry Drive is a third project the town is considering. That project would use DOT and SPLOST funds, along with money from Jackson County. Braselton would spend $500,000 for the bypass project and $900,000 for the Zion Church Road venture.
But one project town officials have learned they’ll soon need to keep up with Braselton’s growth is a new municipal building.
A 6,000 square-foot building that would accommodate the police department, municipal court and other community services is planned for construction in 2005. The town hopes to purchase land for $380,000 next year and spend $900,000 in revenue and impact fees for the project. The building could be located on vacant land behind town hall or adjacent to town hall on Hwy. 53, Scott said.
And the building will be just a few hundred yards from a proposed “town green,” located between the front of the Braselton Bros. building and Northeast Georgia Bank. Land for the project could be purchased next year.
Tying into that project are plans to revitalize downtown Braselton’s historic past with street lighting, sidewalks and connecting greenspace.
An advisory committee of citizens and business owners recently met with Fransman-Davis Associates, a division of the consultant firm Jordan, Jones and Goulding, to outline a 20-year vision for downtown Braselton.
Their plan largely includes the creation of mixed-use developments and greenspace where existing homes and businesses are located. Braselton planning director Kevin Keller, however, says the plans are just a proposal of a future vision.
“Essentially, nothing is going to happen without the landowners’ approval,” he said.
But most of the buildings in downtown Braselton are owned by one company — 2255 Delk Road Partnership. The company initiated the revitalization committee and asked for the town’s help, Keller said.
The revitalization project, which could be presented to the town council soon, aims to keep Braselton’s downtown centered on the era of 1890-1940, a time of the town’s prosperity, he added.
Work on revitalizing downtown Braselton is expected to begin receiving funds next year and continue each year until 2008.
Outside of downtown Braselton, another beatification project is in the works.
The Riverwalk Project along the Mulberry River will provide walking paths, perennial gardens and eventually bike paths along the water source that divides three counties.
Already, developers along the river have donated 100 acres for the project. Other revenues sources could start the first phase of the project from Ga. Hwy. 211 to Liberty Church Road in 2005; a second phase beyond the road might begin in 2006.
Another area of growth for Braselton will be its water and wastewater expansion projects, which will total $3.5 million over the next five years.
A 1.27 million-gallon-day wastewater treatment located on Josh Pirkle Road is being funded through revenue bonds and will cost $1.6 million by 2008, according to the proposal. Town officials expect demand for water service to outpace Braselton’s capacity in 2011.
Other water and sewer projects include improvements in the Thompson Mill Road area and the construction of additional holding ponds, reuse water lines and pump station. Sewer service demand in Braselton will out-grow the town’s facilities in 2009.