The City of Winder is considering purchasing property to eventually build a walking trail officials would like to see connect Fort Yargo State Park with downtown.
The city council on Tuesday approved an option for the owners to keep the price of the property at 41 Lee St. at $185,000 for six months while the city evaluates its options. The cost of the option is $3,700. The agreement also includes an additional $3,700 option for a six-month extension. Those fees would be included in the purchase price if the city decided to purchase the property, city administrator Donald Toms said.
The council has been discussing creating a trail committee. While no specific plans have been developed, city leaders have been mostly supportive of the measure.
“We’ve been talking about this for years,” councilman Travis Singley said. “I’m glad we’re taking a step forward.”
The vote Tuesday was 4-1 with councilman Jimmy Terrell opposed and Michael Healan absent.
But while he said he supports a trail, Terrell said the city should be exploring other alternatives than the current property.
“I’m not sure we’re ready for this,” Terrell said, noting roughly $5 million in several large upcoming expenditures the city is preparing to take on.
Among those he mentioned were the creation of a stormwater department and a stormwater study; the development of a new public parking lot downtown; the redevelopment of Jug Tavern Park and construction of the city’s new fire station near Fort Yargo.
“Barrow County has three locations adjacent to this property, that are paved and have lighting, where we could start our trail,” Terrell said. “Once we buy the property, there will be other costs — grading, paving, lighting. We will be over $200,000 and we haven’t even started talking about the cost of the actual trail.”
While Mayor David Maynard and councilman Chris Akins said they understood Terrell’s concerns about money, they agreed that $3,700-$7,400 was low risk while the city has up to a year to more thoroughly plan its next steps.
“You have to prepare for your future,” councilman Al Brown said. “I don’t think we should govern ourselves by doing something at the moment we need it. We need to plan for it and prepare for it.”
See more coverage of Tuesday's meeting in the Sept. 12 edition of the Barrow News-Journal.