A portion of a remote North Hall park that has been the scene of five homicides over the past 31 years has reopened to the public.
The small area of Belton Bridge Park that includes a boat access ramp to the Chattahoochee River has been paved and now is available for use by boaters and fishermen, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokeswoman said Tuesday.
The larger portion of the park, where a 45-year-old Snellville man was shot to death on Valentine’s Day, remains closed, with gates installed to block access.
Richard Schoeck was the fifth person since 1979 to be killed at the park when he was shot repeatedly outside his parked truck.
Last week Schoeck’s wife, Stacey Schoeck, and two others were charged with conspiring to murder him. They remain in the Hall County jail without bond.
Following the February murder, Hall County Sheriff Steve Cronic renewed a request of the Corps of Engineers to close the park until renovations could be made.
The sheriff said the lack of paving or lighting and remote location of the park have long made it a haven for criminal activity. He first asked that the park be closed after a fatal stabbing there in 2004.
The corps closed the park in April, pending improvements to the property. The corps also changed the park hours, which were 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., to sunrise to sunset.
The larger portion of the park where the shooting occurred may not reopen for some time, according to Lisa Coghlan, a spokeswoman for the Army Corps of Engineers. It remains unpaved.
“It’s depending on the availability of funding,” Coghlan said, adding that local corps officials continue to work with a contractor.
“Possibly this fall they may be able to complete the asphalt and the other necessary improvements,” Coghlan said.