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Hoschton OKs lights for park trail, playing fields
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JEFFERSON — Hoschton will be getting a new gas station and its newest park will have a lighted walking trail and playing fields now that the county commission has given its OK to both.

Work began earlier this year on Hoschton Park, which will be located next to West Jackson Primary School on Ga. 53. The park will feature a regulation-sized soccer field, four multi-purpose fields, a walking path, additional parking, restrooms and a concessions stand.

The Jackson County Commission has unanimously approved purchasing and installing lighting for the sports fields and walking track from Lighting Associates Inc. and Musco Lighting at a total cost of $274,908.50.

The purchase and installation also come with a 25-year warranty and maintenance program from Musco, a feature most companies don’t offer, according to Don Clerici, the county’s capital projects manager.

The company also leads the industry in having energy-efficient lighting, which will lower the amount the county will pay to light the fields and track, he said.

"They’re the industry’s leader in efficiency, so it’s not only got a 25-year warranty, it’s going to save a great deal of money on power service over the life (of the product)," Clerici said.

He projects the lights to cost about $82,000 annually to power, whereas the next industry product available would cost the county about $295,000 annually.

Commissioner Bruce Yates, whose district includes Hoschton, said he’s glad to see the county bringing this park to the western side of the county.

"I think this is a great opportunity to provide ... a place for many of our citizens to practice in that area rather than having them travel across the county," he said.

The commission also has unanimously approved a proposed gas station, which will be located at the intersection of Ga. 332 and Ga. 124 in Hoschton.

The property will feature a gas station, car wash, three retail spaces and a grassy picnic area for people to "stretch their legs," as applicant Ken Byce put it.

The county planning commission recommended the application be approved with one condition: to meet with Clerici and come up with a development agreement to address "funding of traffic improvements at the intersection of Ga. 124/Ga. 332," according to supplemental agenda documents.

These traffic improvements primarily revolve around a proposed traffic light at the intersection, Clerici explained.

He also said the agreement has been written and sent to Jane Range, the county’s attorney, for review. This must be approved by her and signed by the parties involved before construction can begin.

The gas station will be required to follow the design rules set forth by the Braselton-Hoschton overlay district.

An overlay district is a set of guidelines for developments in a certain area, outlining such things as the materials to be used for buildings, outdoor lighting, and outer facade design elements, among others.

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