Eight years after Hall County originally purchased the property, work is set to officially begin on Cherokee Bluffs park.
“It’s kind of a sense of relief,” said South Hall Commissioner Craig Lutz. “It’s something that I’ve been pretty much trying to get going for a majority of my time here in office.”
Located on Blackjack Road near the Sterling on the Lake subdivision in Flowery Branch, the official groundbreaking for the park is scheduled for 10 a.m. Sept. 10.
No “significant work” has started at the park site, according to Mike Little, director of the county’s parks and leisure services.
The total cost of construction for the park is now estimated to be around $2.8 million; this first phase of construction will include trail development, pavilions, a playground, disc golf course, 3-D archery range and amphitheater.
“The first phase is funded,” Lutz said. “Phases two and three are yet to be determined as to when they will be done, but phase one is fully funded and moving ahead, which is the majority of it.”
Funding comes from impact fees and the special purpose local option sales tax VI.
The 100-acre property was purchased in 2005 for around $3 million, according to a 2013 report in The Times.
The location lends itself to the history of the area, as well, with an unmarked cemetery sitting on the grounds. Additionally, a log cabin home of one of the early pioneers of Hall County, Col. James Roberts, is being held by the Hall County Historical Society in anticipation of rebuilding it at the park site.
Lutz anticipates a positive influence on the nearby real estate market once the park opens.
“I don’t see a significant economic impact,” said Lutz. “I do believe that it’s going to help potentially real estate values in the southern area because there’s going to be more green space that people will be able to get out and use.”
A spring 2015 opening is anticipated.
“I think weather’s going to have a big play in that,” Lutz said. “Obviously, we’re groundbreaking here (and it’s) almost fall; late summer, early fall. We’re coming into the rainy season, and so weather is going to have an impact on that. The terrain is going to be a big question mark. There’s a lot of rock there.
“I would anticipate that it should be opened by spring at the latest, but it’s possible that we might have some elements open toward the end of this year.”