Baldwin leaders took the first step Monday night to update the city’s fire training center.

At the monthly meeting on Monday, October 11, the Baldwin City Council approved spending an amount not to exceed $23,000 to upgrade the city’s fire training facility.

The upgrades will include extending the concrete pad, purchasing and installing a 500-gallon LP gas tank to include piping and valves, and installing a car fire prop area.

Assistant fire chief Shawn Benfield said the upgrades will be an asset to the city since the only fire training facility around with the same level of training services is in Dawson County.

The fire department will be able to offer this facility to other agencies for their training purposes.

Benfield said the city would be able to offer a lot of training to its firefighters without having to send them outside the city.

Funding for the project will come out of public safety/speed zone funds.

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business at the meeting on Monday, the council:

•unanimously approved recognizing the following: public safety funds collections for July and August totaling $10,822; fire department sale of surplus funds totaling $626; police department sale of surplus funds totaling $4,559; and Local Maintenance Improvement Grant award totaling $48,302.

•approved the Fiscal Year 2021 Anderson Computer and Network Services Inc. (ACNS) contract effective July 1, 2021.

•received and discussed several Industrial Boulevard land study options presented by Fletcher Holliday, Engineering Management Inc. The city currently owns a total of 19.285 acres – one 14.285 acres tract and one 5 acres tract – on the southeast side of Industrial Park Rd. The city requested EMI do an evaluation of the property to look at options to develop a public works facility on one of the tracts and offer the second for sale. The option approved by the council was the lowest cost option - $431,607 - presented to ready the site for a building. The option includes a stormwater pond, driveway piping, concrete sidewalk, concrete curb and gutter, grassing, landscaping, etc.

•met in closed session for approximately one hour to discuss personnel. No action was taken.

•was reminded of the following upcoming events: Georgia Mountain Cruisers Cruise-In set for 4-7 p.m. on Saturday, October 16, at Baldwin City Hall. Proceeds from the event will go to the family of the late Linda Parker; First Annual Runway 5K set for 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 23; Currahee Fall Crawl Jeep Ride set for Saturday, October 23; and Fourth Annual Baldwin Fall Festival set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 23, at the Farmers Market Park on Airport Rd. The festival will include a hayride along Park Ave. and Airport Rd. Residents in this area are being encouraged to decorate for the event and the winner of the decorating contest will receive a $50 gift card. Two vendor spots are still left to be filled for the fall festival. Contact city hall for information on any of the upcoming events.

•heard a request from Baldwin resident Peggy Fortson asking the city to consider constructing a pickleball facility at the Wilbanks Park site. Fortson said 4.2 million people currently play pickleball which is a very inclusive sport that includes players of all ages. Fortson said Habersham County needs pickleball courts/facilities, to include indoor courts, restrooms, bleachers, etc., that are capable of handling tournaments. Fortson said a facility like this in Baldwin would attract players from Banks County as well as Habersham and White, since playing facilities are limited in those areas.

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