Trail connection

This map shows where a trail connection will be installed between the Calhoun Recreation Department and the Calhoun Middle and High School Campus. / Contributed 

The Calhoun City Council approved an MOU — memorandum of understanding — with the Dixie Group and the Development Authority of Gordon County on Monday night, initiating the process of constructing a trail connection between the Calhoun Recreation Department and the Calhoun Middle and High School campus.

The trail connection is a piece of the Rivers to Ridge Trail Master Plan, which focuses on connecting green spaces in Gordon County, and will be funding by 2018 SPLOST — the 1-cent special purpose, local option sales tax — funds.

To implement the trail connection, the Dixie Group is agreeing to deed 2 acres of land to the south of the Pine Street and Yellow Jacket Drive intersection. A 10-foot wide walking path will run from the recreation department to the campus, along the perimeter of this newly acquired property and a fence will be constructed to separate the path from the Dixie Group’s property. The path will connect the campus to the existing walking trail at the recreation department.

Assistant City Administrator Paul Worley said to acquire the property the city agreed to provide paving services, specifically to resurface South Fair Street and a parking area along it. Doing this makes it so the city did not have to “write a check” for the property, which is zoned industrial and could have meant a higher expense to get the trail connection done, he added.

Worley said this trail connection is the first step in implementing the trail master plan, which is a slow process due to the expense of each component. He said construction is expected to begin sometime next year.

Also at Monday’s meeting, council members approved an additional alcohol permit for the GEM Theatre, permitting it to provide alcohol at its New Year’s Eve Show on Dec. 31, from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

A request from the Calhoun Fire Department to surplus two fire engines that will be traded in for a new Pierce fire engine from Ten-8 Co was approved as well.

A first reading on a beer, wine and distilled spirits pouring license for Track Side Pizza & Pub at 116 Park Ave. was done, with the council set to hear it on second reading at its next meeting.

The second council meeting in December has also been moved from Dec. 24 to Dec. 17 at 7 p.m.

Mayor Jimmy Palmer and council members spoke on the loss of state Rep. John Meadows, who also served as the mayor of Calhoun for more than a decade.

“He became a very powerful member of the state government,” Palmer said, adding that his commitment to his hometown and his responsiveness to its needs was of great benefit to Calhoun and Gordon County.

Gov. Nathan Deal had not announced when a special election to fill Meadows’ seat would be held as of Tuesday.