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Fence would protect Elachee bike trails
Hall commission to approve funding today
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It isn’t a new road, but it’s your SPLOST dollars at work.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners is expected to approve funding for a fence to enclose Chicopee Woods Area Park today.

Park officials say the fence will help protect the park’s resources. The park includes Elachee Nature Science Center, miles of mountain bike trails and the Chicopee Woods Golf Course.

In a letter to commissioners last month, Elachee Nature Science Center President Andrea Timpone wrote that marking the northwest park boundary was “critical to the security of the park” and would “protect the most abused park access points.”

Timpone said this week that the issue isn’t so much safety as it is care of some 20 miles of the park’s mountain bike trails.

“We want to improve park management,” she said in a phone interview.

Park officials want to build the fence between the park boundaries from Interstate 985 west, delineating it from Gainesville Industrial Park, Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport and Chicopee Village.

The park closes bike trails when they’re wet to protect them, but without the fence bikers are still able to access the trails from those unfenced portions.

The fence, she said, would serve more for “resource protection” than anything.

Building the fence will streamline access to the park, only allowing access to those who come through the main entrance, she said. Already, the park’s other boundaries are fenced, and park officials have been planning to build the fence for years.

“We’ve just talked about it forever and ever,” Timpone said. “It’s just been a long-term goal since the park was donated in the early 1980s.”

In all, the six-foot wire fence, stretching some 21,000 feet, will cost $103,000.

Voters approved the fence in a 2009 election, creating a 1 percent sales tax that would fund it and other construction projects, according to Hall County Finance Director Vickie Neikirk.

The board of commissioners will vote on the expenditure today.

At a work session Monday, the board placed the item on a consent agenda, which is, under most circumstances, approved without discussion.

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