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Braselton secures loan for LifePath corridor
Sidewalks will link town soon
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BRASELTON — All the pieces are beginning to fall into place for the Braselton Community Improvement District.

With financing now secure, work can begin to design and construct a 1.7-mile stretch of sidewalk linking several area businesses and subdivisions along Ga. Highway 211.

Since February, the district’s board of directors has discussed how to fund a project, dubbed the LifePath corridor, that would install multi-use paths beginning at Liberty Village, traveling to RiverStone Park subdivision and eventually onto

Thompson Mill Road to the Village at Deaton Creek. It will also connect to the Mulberry RiverWalk off Liberty Church Road. The project has an estimated $455,500 price tag.

Independence Bank of Georgia has since approved a $450,000 loan to help fund the project. The Community Improvement District will repay the loan over 20 years at a fixed interest rate of 6.5 percent. Annual payments are expected to be just more than $42,000, though only an interest payment of $22,425 will be due the first year.

Revenue collected from a property tax to be levied on the 24 land parcels involved with the project will also fund the sidewalk and help repay the loan. A 5 mill tax, which would yield $50,000 annually, is proposed.

Since the project involves property in Barrow, Gwinnett and Hall counties, millage rates for each county will be set separately. On Monday, the board in a 4-0 vote set the millage rate for Hall County at 5 mills. This affects two of the land parcels involved with the project.

Guy Herring, the district’s administrator and director of planning with McFarland-Dyer & Associates, said the district will likely vote on a millage rate for the Gwinnett County portion at its July 5 meeting and for Barrow County sometime in August or September.

Hall and Barrow counties have agreed to collect the assessment for the district, though talks are ongoing with Gwinnett County to establish a way to collect the assessment there. If necessary, Herring said Braselton could handle the task.

The board also approved a financial statement that includes $35,465 in expenses. Most costs are related to legal and consulting fees from Herring’s company and attorney Lynn Rainey of Rainey & Phillips law firm in Marietta.

With a majority of the project’s work expected to be done this year, the district’s estimated expenses will reach almost $500,000. On Monday, the board voted to commit $9,000 for Phase I of an engineering and design plan for the LifePath.

Herring said this phase will involve researching, surveying, establishing topographic and elevation maps, locating and flagging utilities and creating a base map for the design. The remaining three phases are expected to cost $43,000 collectively and will include a design, bid and construction/administration phase.

Board member Phil Christian said he didn’t want to slow the process but needed more time to review the remaining phases.

“I feel like we need to get started,” he said. “I personally would like some more time to digest this.”

Work on one leg of the path has already begun, however. The Braselton Town Council previously agreed to set aside $88,000 that remains in the town’s roads, bridges and sidewalks portion of the Gwinnett County special purpose local option sales tax fund to install sidewalks beginning at the Ga. Highway 211 and Thompson Mill Road intersection and extending three-tenths of a mile to the Gates of Braselton. Herring said this project has been permitted and construction should begin soon.

Regional events