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Lula reopens Rafe Banks Park
City agrees to lease park from Hall County for the next 25 years
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The city of Lula reopened Rafe Banks Park Friday.

Rafe Banks was one of four Hall County parks closed because of budget cuts. The city of Lula decided it would be able maintain the park and has agreed to lease it from Hall County for the next 25 years.

"The county was very helpful to lease it for $10 a year," Lula City Manager Dennis Bergin said.

Lula Mayor Milton Turner signed the lease Thursday.

Bergin said workers began working on cleaning up the park a week ago Monday. He said they wanted to be able to open the park as soon the paperwork was completed.

"We're really pleased with the progress we've already made," Bergin said.

A few weeks ago, a storm tore through the deserted park leaving limbs and branches all along the walking trail. He said they took down 12 dead or dying trees over the week.

"We've had the opportunity to clean everything up. Everything looks great," Bergin said.

The park is still in need of some work.

The parking area needs to be resurfaced and several picnic areas are in need of attention, but Bergin said he's confident the park will be taken care of.

"A little bit of elbow grease goes a long way," he said.

Bergin said the cost of maintaining the park has been a little bit exaggerated in the past. He said he expects park operations to cost about $22 a day.

Capital costs could be around $30,000.

Bergin said he knows the first year might be expensive, but having the park available to people is something the city "just saw as paramount."

The 22-acre park boasts a walking trail, baseball fields, basketball and tennis courts, a concession stand, a playground and several other amenities.

Bergin said the park has been busy since it reopened.

The East Hall booster club is helping to maintain the baseball fields.

Eight baseball and softball teams took advantage of the fields for practice over the weekend.

Rafe Banks Park is located on Athens Street off Cornelia Highway in Lula and will be open year-round.


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