South Hall residents looking forward to the opening of a long-anticipated area park have a few more months of waiting.
Hall County officials are expecting to open Cherokee Bluffs “sometime in the fall,” according to county spokeswoman Katie Crumley.
“From what I understand, it really has to do with when they open the park, they want the park to look as good as it possibly can,” Crumley said. “They don’t want to open it when it’s only halfway finished. They feel like that would be like a disappointment to the citizens.
“(The staff) really wants to give (citizens) a completed piece that they can be proud of, and that they can go ahead and utilize to the best of their ability.”
The official groundbreaking was held in September. In April, Crumley had said construction was “on track at this point to finish in May,” with a possible June opening anticipated.
Now the park, located off of Blackjack Road behind the Sterling on the Lake subdivision, may possibly open in October or November.
“A big part of it is the grass planting season is early fall, so if we can go ahead and get some grass in there, it’s going to be a much more enjoyable park than one that’s covered in dirt,” Crumley said. “And if we can plant that seed and have it grow and get it stable, we do think that will be ... a much more beautiful park, a much more used park and one that the nearby residents and citizens of Hall County (and) people who visit can really use.”
Along with the grass planting, Crumley indicated there are still five bridges that need to be built as part of a hiking/biking trail, as well as “the final (asphalt) topping” for the parking lot.
The planned disc golf course is also incomplete, having been laid out but not constructed.
“I think right now staff is doing some research to see if Parks and Leisure can install that course, or if it would be better to have someone else to install it,” Crumley said.
“Of course, it’s always great when you can save money on a project, and Parks and Leisure doing it themselves would certainly do that. However, if the product is so much better if it’s done by a contractor, then that’s something they’re looking into.”
According to Crumley, the park is currently coming in at the budgeted $2.8 million, funded by both local impact fees and the special purpose local option sales tax.
However, if approved by the Board of Commissioners, the asphalt topping in the parking lot will tip the park over budget, she said. According to Mike Little, parks director, the topping and striping of the parking lot is expected to cost around $80,000.
Once the park opens, along with walking trails and the disc golf course, visitors will be able to enjoy a playground, amphitheater, community building and other park amenities.