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SPLOST money would help N. Hall cities mainly with parks and infrastructure
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Signs are in place on Friday at the Hall County Government Center in Gainesville for SPLOST VII early voting. - photo by Erin O. Smith

The money isn’t huge, especially spread over five years, and would be used mainly for routine projects, but it’s vital nonetheless, said government officials in the cities of North Hall County.

The lack of special purpose local option sales tax revenue would “create a real challenge for us to stay ahead of the game on (road) resurfacing,” Lula City Manager Dennis Bergin said, citing one area where the money is used.

Officials in the North and East Hall County cities of Lula, Clermont and Gillsville said the money generated by SPLOST helps maintain what they’ve got — such as parks and infrastructure — and not a whole lot else.

Lula would be the biggest benefactor of the three cities, projected to receive nearly $2 million if voters approve SPLOST VII on March 17.

The city would use about $1 million of that revenue on water and sewer system enhancements and water line replacement, plus relieving debt that’s on both systems, Bergin said.

Also, the city would use the money to finish out a seven-phase “streetscape” plan, sprucing up downtown with new sidewalks, landscaping and other touches.

The city is about to go into its third phase of the long-planned project, so the SPLOST money “would allow us to have connection to all city parks, schools, along Main Street and the post office,” Bergin said.

Extending existing pedestrian trails by 1 1/2 miles also is on the wish list.

Road resurfacing is a particularly high priority, Bergin said.

“We’ve done a good job (on that effort) with the current SPLOST and this is one of those things where there’s never enough money,” he said.

Clermont Mayor James Nix said his town also has that basic need, along with fixing culverts and putting in sidewalks.

He said he doesn’t know exactly which roads will need to be addressed yet.

“We don’t identify any specific roads because we don’t know exactly which ones are going to need it first,” Nix said.

Also, the town, which would receive $657,888, is looking to fix up recreational areas, including the ballfield behind the Hall County fire station off U.S. 129/Cleveland Highway.

“Even though the county built (North Hall Park & Community Center on Nopone Road), there’s still a lot of (residents who) want parks closer to us ... particularly the parents of young children,” Nix said.

Another goal of Clermont is to fix up the town-owned Galleria building at King and Main streets. The historic brick building isn’t usable now, but “we want to restore and use it as a Town Hall or some function like that,” Nix said.

Also planned are improvements to the community building next to the fire station.

Gillsville would receive $155,624 if SPLOST VII passes, with $116,718 of that amount for roads and $38,906 for park projects, Mayor Larry Poole said.

“Currently we have at least three or four roads and streets and two parking areas that are in need of repairs and/or resurfacing,” Poole said. “Some are more immediate than others and we will probably have to find alternate funding to go ahead and get some of the work started.”

Otherwise, collections under SPLOST VII “would be used on the most pressing (road) issues as the funds become available,” he said.

Also, Gillsville is looking to add a playground area for children 3-5 years old at the City Park, with that project possibly costing $10,000 to $12,000.

“Our ballfields and associated fencing and dugouts need to be upgraded with a better design,” Poole said. “We have started and need to continue to construct a trail system within the park, and park lighting needs to be upgraded.”

Long-term plans call for building a sturdy structure near the community building to house equipment and supplies, he said.

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