Workshop photo

Mark Beatty, a planner with the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission, makes a presentation to the Winder City Council during a council goal-setting workshop Friday, Feb. 7, at the Winder Community Center. 

The City of Winder is still on track to receive a state grant to pay for a proposed walking trail extending from near downtown to the Fort Yargo State Park, Mayor David Maynard said last week.

Maynard told the city council Friday, Feb. 7, that the city made it through the latest cut of applicants for the new Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program grant as the council held its first of two strategic planning and goal-setting workshops planned for this month.

Maynard said the city should learn whether its project is accepted “within a few weeks.”

The latest cost estimate for the trail, which would connect city-owned property at 41 Lee St. with the visitors’ center at Fort Yargo, was around $1.35 million. The city has committed to match $337,000 toward that and spent more than $750,000 last year in property purchases for the project.

John Devine, principal planner with the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission, which facilitated Friday’s workshop, suggested the council go ahead and start rounding up quotes for design and engineering costs so it could be ready to hit the ground running if and when the city is approved for the grant.

The trail was one of several park-related projects the council discussed during the five-hour session Friday. The council also held a general discussion about a potential community dog park in the downtown area and improvements to existing parks.

The council also spent a significant chunk of time Friday brainstorming ways to improve communication with its citizens through social media and other means and promoting the city more aggressively through events, particularly in the downtown area. Council members agreed the future Jackson Street pedestrian plaza and renovated Jug Tavern Park, both of which are under construction, will be key focal points in that effort.

The council will hold its next workshop at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, at the Winder Community Center and is scheduled to discuss stormwater- and economic development-related goals. It will then prioritize the goals it has discussed so the city can have the information for when department heads submit their requests for the Fiscal Year 2021 budget later this month.

The Feb. 19 meeting is open to the public, but there will not be a public comment period.

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