Nelson resolved its recurring pavilion problem this week.
The Nelson City Council Tuesday held a special called meeting to address the pavilion part of its recent park bond project. The project is for the renovation of Edmonson Field located on School Street. In July, as part of its Three Cities Park Project, Cherokee County gave Nelson a $250,000 grant to renovate the park—Nelson resides half in Cherokee and half in Pickens. After months of back-and-forth design negotiations between Cherokee and Nelson, the city decided to return a final design plan to Cherokee last week.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Council Member Duane Cronic said he called the meeting because he was receiving comments about the pavilion from the other council members.
“(In) the last meeting,”
“we pretty much said after this meeting we want to wash our hands with this and let Cherokee begin: we need to talk about it (the pavilion) before we begin that.”
He went on to say that council needs to come to a consensus before it moves ahead. Council Member Edith Portillo said she doesn’t care for the idea of the pavilion at all. Similarly, Council Member Jackie Jarrett suggested “scratching” the pavilion and simply installing restrooms. He said the city could later add a pavilion using SPLOST money, when it wasn’t restricted by the current process.
“I can’t see digging into SPLOST money and giving it to them (Cherokee County),”
he said. Newly Elected Mayor Pro Tem Jonathan Bishop, Cronic, Jarrett, and Portillo agreed that the project should refocus its direction on a park for the kids.
The conversation also addressed issues such as the type of fence to surround the park (chain-link v. wooden horse fence) and security for the bathroom. Additionally, City Clerk and Manager Brandy Edwards requested council to clarify a few details regarding the restrooms. As such, council agreed to request that two unisex restrooms be installed near the woods, facing north and that the doors swing outward—for security purposes. In addition to these requirements, council approved to eliminate the pavilion from the design, move the playground to the middle of the designated area, install seating around the playground, and run a wooden horse fence along the outside of the park on the Kennesaw and School Street side. Council also approved to try to preserve a magnolia tree on the property during the process. According to Edwards, the Boy Scouts planted the tree approximately ten years ago. In its communication about the tree to the city, though, Cherokee County said it couldn’t give any guarantees that the tree would survive if moved.
Following the approval, Laurel Lake resident Lamar Kellet commented that, although he was all in favor of a great playground for the kids, the park should also cater to adults and offer something for the whole community.
During the meeting, council also approved renting and contracting backhoe service for the renovation of the kiddy park and cleaning out culverts around town. In her presentation to council, Edwards recommended contracting out a local backhoe service at $65 an hour for 18 hours work. Edwards said the service is operated by a Nelson resident. The cost of the project is approximately $1'170. Edwards said part of the funding for the service will come out of the parks project budget and the rest, out of the general fund. Mayor Mike Haviland asked if the city could use SPLOST money for the project. Edwards said she wasn’t sure, but would research the issue. The kiddy park budget, she said, currently has a balance of $5,000. Council approved the motion to rent the backhoe service unanimously.