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Fleming park design presented

A conceptual site design for a recreation park in Fleming was presented to the Liberty County Board of Commissioners earlier this month. The proposed design has not yet been approved by the commissioners.

Liberty County Recreation Department Director Jimmy Martin said that having a park in Fleming has been a recognized need by the recreation department and county for many years. The area is 8.52 acres at the corner of Beasleyville and Freedman Groveroads. Funds left in the Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax program will allow for the land to be purchased by the county for $50,008. County Administrator Joey Brown said that the sale of the property has not yet closed, so he would not identify the seller.

The park will be completed in two phases. The first phase would include the construction of a fish pond about an acre in size.

“We think that would be a unique feature that we don’t have in many of our parks. Also, we would like to have a pavilion right beside a huge oak tree and a playground,” Martin said. “We also plan to have as part of this first phase a walking trail that goes around the park.”

The second phase would include building an adult-sized softball field that can act as a multi-purpose field for youth football, youth soccer or youth baseball. Other proposed amenities include picnic tables, restrooms and parking.

“And the other amenity we hope to see there in the future is basketball courts, which are very popular at the other parks as well,” Martin said. “We think this is going to be a great site and a great addition to the Fleming community.”

Commissioner Marion Stevens Sr. asked about the cost estimate to build the park. Martin estimated that Phase I will cost $300,000 and Phase II $350,000.

“So, I guess what I’m getting at is this a project that’s way past due. And also on the same side, you won’t be able to do anything with other parks we have looked at?” Stevens asked Martin.

Martin answered, “I don’t see where we have any funds to, Mr. Stevens, unless some will become available.”

He said that there has not been a capital item in the Recreation Department’s budget because of the availability of SPLOST funds. Martin suggested that projects like the park can be included in the future budget as capital expenditures once SPLOST funds run out.

Commissioners then talked about other parks in the county that are waiting on additional amenities and improvements.

“I encourage the commissioners, if you get a little bit extra (funds), try to put it in your recreation areas. I know you’re taking a back seat to your roads, but you’re keeping the kids off the streets — just think about that,” Commissioner Eddie Walden said. “I know Pat’s (Commissioner Bowen) been talking about this for some time, and I’m glad to see it become a reality.”

In other matters:

• The board approved Russell Guyett’s application to rezone 2.23 acres from single-family residential district to single-family, two family and mobile-home residential district. Guyett will be able to place mobile homes or site-built homes on the lots.
• The board approved a contract with Holland & Holland Inc. to build the Liberty County Detectives Services Building next to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.
• Shawn Brown, Liberty County Department of Family and Children Services director, presented changes in the DFCS board appointment requirements. For example, as of July 1, 2015, elected officials were no longer allowed to serve on the board. There was no explanation given about the change. Brown said that appointees can fit into one of the following categories: pediatrics/health-care provider, appropriate school personnel, first responders, law enforcement, child-welfare services provider, someone who used to be in the child welfare system, mental-health provider, former foster parent or religious leader. The commissioners then discussed the meaning behind a few of the categories. Each board is required to have five to seven members. The county’s DFCS board has only four members. Brown asked the commissioners to recommend people to fill the vacant positions based on the criteria.
• A resolution authorizing the Coastal Regional Commission to apply for transportation funding from the Georgia Department of Transportation on behalf of Liberty County was approved.
• The commission approved several board appointment applications for various entities. The following people were approved: Allen Brown was reappointed for the Liberty County Development Authority; Jeffrey Porter was approved for the Hinesville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Citizen Advisory Committee; Scott Kroell was reappointed for the Liberty County Public Health board; and Kasey Bozeman, Rodney Edwards, David Sapp, Kathy Poole, Alfreda Golden-Walthour, Willie Cato, Karen Bell and Leah Poole were approved for the Keep Liberty County Beautiful board.

The commission also ranked candidates from top to bottom for three seats that they recommended be appointed to the Liberty County Hospital Authority. The LCHA will make the final decision. The rankings are as follows:

Seat 1
1. Dr. Seth Borquaye
2. Henry Taylor
3. Dr. Christina McCain

Seat 2
1. James Rogers
2. Michael Alamo
3. Dr. Bobby Herrington

Seat 3
1. Steve Welborn
2. Jeffrey Porter
3. Dr. Christina McCain

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