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Cities talk transportation issues at Joint Municipal Association meeting
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The Joint Municipal Association meeting Monday night in Gillsville was short and sweet.

Refreshments of ice cream and other treats from Jaemor Farms in Alto gave the meeting, which had no new or old business, a more social atmosphere.

Gainesville City Manager Kip Padgett gave a work group status report. Many cities in Hall County aren’t members of the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization; and they want more of a say in how the MPO operates, Padgett said.

Gainesville, Oakwood and Flowery Branch are members of the transportation agency. Hall and the Georgia Department of Transportation are also members.

“(The other cities) wanted to know more about what was going on in the MPO,” he said.

The organization has agreed to put the other cities on the distribution list. Cities are chosen to be a part of the MPO based on population and other factors Padgett said he didn’t know about.

“That’s where it stands right now,” Padgett said.

In other transportation business, part of Jackson County is now urbanized, a status that is also based on population. County officials are talking with the Gainesville-Hall MPO and the Madison Athens-Clarke Oconee Regional Transportation Study about which group they want to join, Padgett said.

In other reports, Flowery Branch City Manger Bill Andrew said there’s a Thursday meeting on the bicycle/pedestrian plan. The MPO has committed about $40,000 to the plan, but there’s a $10,000 match involved. Flowery Branch officials have indicated the city is willing to contribute $2,500 and is looking for other cities to do the same.

The widening on Friendship Road or Lake Lanier Islands Parkway will include bike and walking paths, which will be separate from the road, from Lake Lanier Islands to the city of Braselton. Spout Springs Road will have a similar path from Hogs Mountain to Braselton.

“So what we’re trying to do in South Hall is trying to bridge from Lake Lanier Parkway north to Spout Springs Road and up Thurmon Tanner Parkway up to the county’s facility. The county, you may know, is building a Central Hall trail, from the University of North Georgia at Gainesville all the way north. That path will go from the college through Chicopee Village to the airport and then into a facility in Midtown Gainesville.”

The next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 28 in Clermont.