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Ask The Times: SPLOST funds won't reopen parks
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If you’ve been wondering about something in your community, Ask The Times is your place to get answers. The following question was submitted by a reader and answered through the efforts of our news staff.

I have been reading in the paper about the passing of the most recent special purpose local option sales tax and some of that money being allocated to the Parks and Rec department. It was mentioned earlier that some of that money may be used to reopen the parks closed by the county in budget cuts in 2011. Is that still the plan?

There are no plans to reopen any of those parks.

Murrayville, Tadmore, Platt and Rafe Banks parks were closed in 2011 after funding for the Parks and Leisure Department was cut heavily. Though the city of Lula leased Rafe Banks from Hall County and reopened it, the remaining parks are still closed.

Officials have said the parks would need renovations before they could be reopened.

In March, Hall County voters approved SPLOST VII to fund $158 million in infrastructure projects.

Hall County Parks and Leisure Services Director Mike Little has said the $5 million earmarked for the parks department will be used for projects including renovations, a countywide trail program and shoreline protection programs.

Meanwhile, Little’s budget request for the 2016 fiscal year, which begins July 1, of about $1.5 million will help with management and maintenance of county parks.

Little said he is asking for three new maintenance personnel to handle the opening of Cherokee Bluffs park in South Hall, as well as the county’s takeover of Wahoo Creek park on the north end of Lake Lanier.

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