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Gainesville parks restoration right on schedule

POSTED: April 28, 2008 5:00 a.m.
MICHAEL PHILLIPS/The Times

Work is under way at Longwood Cove on Lake Lanier. Workers dredge the lake on Wednesday afternoon.

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Gainesville’s director of Parks and Recreation reports that two park restoration projects are on schedule and should be ready for enjoyment by September.

Nearly 40,000 cubic yards of silt have been dredged from Longwood Cove, and Ace Grading Co. has already finished dredging the areas behind the park’s rock and behind the Longwood Park pavilion, said Melvin Cooper, director of Gainesville’s parks department.

The contractors are working day and night to complete the Longwood Cove project by the end of the summer.

When bulldozers are not scooping silt out of the lake in the daytime, dump trucks are carrying anywhere between 120 and 150 loads of the removed silt to a site on Fulenwider Road in the evening hours, Cooper said.

"There’s not that many trucks ... but those trucks are on the run continuously between the 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. hours," said Cooper. "With the traffic not being bad on the road at night, they’re able to do that."

"They’re really making great progress," Cooper said.

There are about 60,000 cubic yards of silt left to dredge, Cooper said, and then some of it will be brought back to the park to build a retaining wall that should protect the cove from future erosion. Also, residents will be able to enjoy a 10-foot wide trail, a handicap fishing pier and a boat dock by Labor Day, "if water’s back in (the lake)," Cooper said.

The cost of the project — $2 million — has so far remained unchanged in the course of construction, Cooper said.

"The $2 million project is what we will do," Cooper said. "We will do no more, no less."

Less than one mile down the road, progress is under way on Ivey Terrace Park, and it, too, should be completed by early September, Cooper said.

Now, passersby can see the construction of the gabion baskets — rock walls held together by wire baskets that are meant to keep the park’s stream banks safe from erosion. One day, those wire baskets will barely be visible, Cooper said.

"That’s what’s on the other end of Ivey Terrace now that’s all landscaped and pretty," Cooper said. "You barely can tell that they’re even in there, but that’s providing the bank stabilization."

Contractors have removed many of the trees from the park, but those will be replaced with native trees, Cooper said.

The $625,000 project will end with a stable stream bank in the park, and the construction of eight-feet wide concrete trails that connect the park to Wilshire Trails.



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