From yesterday’s Times-Georgian, I think.  The last sentence says IT ALL.

Board OKs $35,000 for Whitesburg
by John P. Boan/Times-Georgian
Commissioner Vicki Anderson addresses County Attorney Cynthia Daley at a meeting of the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday. Commissioners Ashley Hendrix and Trent North look on.

Commissioner Vicki Anderson addresses County Attorney Cynthia Daley at a meeting of the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday. Commissioners Ashley Hendrix and Trent North look on.

The Carroll County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday night to give the city of Whitesburg $35,000 in special purpose local option sales tax money to develop land for passive recreation.

The board voted unanimously to give the city the SPLOST funds, which originally were earmarked in 2003 for municipal passive recreation projects within the county. According to County Comptroller Don Johnson, the board voted that year to allocate $3 million into a joint fund that could only be used to help cities develop passive recreation projects and for farmland preservation. While the entirety of the amount first allocated has been spent, the county was reimbursed more than $1 million of that by the federal government in recent years.

There is currently $1.2 million in the account.

“I’ve done a lot of things on the Board of Commissioners. Buying property to preserve the county, that’s what I enjoy doing the most,” said Commissioner Trent North. “Back when I ran for office in 1993, I said I hoped to preserve the quality of life we’re accustomed to. We can’t stop people from having kids or moving to our great community. What we can do is properly prepare and control our growth while buying up crucial property to preserve the quality of life for the future. That’s what passive recreation does for our county.”

Whitesburg will match the money from the county with existing funds to purchase about 4 acres inside the city limits. That land will be developed into several walking trails and a picnic area and will be open to all residents of Carroll County.

“Depending on how our money situation goes in the future, we might do something else with it,” said Whitesburg City Councilman Jay Williford. “Right now, that’s our plan.”

The county has, in the past, given the city of Carrollton $1.1 million out of the 2003 SPLOST passive recreation fund for a property purchase along Highway 27 and has given other municipalities in the county lesser amounts. The county should spread the wealth among other municipalities if it hopes to preserve the rural landscape that simply does not exist closer into metropolitan Atlanta, North said.

“I think it’s important we do it now while the land is reasonably priced, and second, we don’t want Carroll County to become a Douglasville or Atlanta,” North said. “We want to keep our beautiful scenery.”

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