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Park featuring rock bluffs could open by next summer
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Hall County Commissioner Craig Lutz walks Wednesday past a large rocky outcropping during a tour of the site of the proposed Cherokee Bluffs Park in South Hall County. Hall County Parks and Leisure Services will hold a public information meeting April 15 on the proposed park.

Huge rock outcroppings covered in moss and lichen are more typical of the North Georgia mountains, not South Hall County.

But a park in Flowery Branch soon will allow visitors to what’s known as the Cherokee Bluffs, tucked off Blackjack Road behind the sprawling Sterling on the Lake subdivision.

“With this end of the county growing at such a rate it’s grown at, it’s just going to be a tremendous open greenspace for everybody,” Hall County Parks Director Mike Little said.

Most of the 106-acre property was bought for just more than $3 million in 2006, according to county records, but development of the park stalled along with the economy.

South Hall Commissioner Craig Lutz said he thinks now is the time to move forward with the park, which will feature walking trails, a playground, dog park and possibly a disc golf course, 3-D archery course and equestrian facilities.

“That site has been sitting out there for at least seven years, and the fact that some movement is happening on the park I think is getting people excited,” he said. “They’re just happy that were taking a step forward.”

The property currently features the bluffs along with streams, ponds, open fields and forests.

Some $1.2 million in impact fees has been set aside to develop the park, along with $600,000 from special purpose local option sales tax VI, which will fund phase II. The county gets impact fees with new development, but the funds must be used by a certain time or they are lost.

Lutz said he hopes phase I can be completed by next summer and the park open to the public at that point.

Work is scheduled to be done in three phases, but exactly what is done when is still up in the air. Phase I is currently set to include parking, fencing and the amphitheater, among other things.

Lutz said he hopes the amphitheater will draw some events like concerts and plays, maybe even a bluegrass or jazz festival.

Leaders are also considering a study of the Cherokee history of the area.

Phase II may include a nature center and dog park. Phase III is planned to be equestrian facilities, but would require SPLOST VII approval from voters, Lutz said.

“We have an opportunity here,” Lutz said. “I think this is going to be a park that people will enjoy for decades to come.”

A public meeting to discuss the plans is set for 5:30 to 7 p.m. April 15 at Mulberry Creek Community Center, 4491 J M Turk Road, Flowery Branch.

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