The city of Fort Oglethorpe's new Veteran's Council will hold its next meeting on Dec. 12. as it furthers its effort to create a memorial park within the city.
In October City Councilwoman Paula Stinnett spearheaded an effort to create the Veteran's Council as a way of recognizing the area's rich military history and the service provided by many community veterans.
After holding its first meeting Oct. 16, the newly formed committee is moving forward with its plan to dedicate a new memorial park in the area of Cleburn and Shelby streets.
"We're wanting to plant weeping willow trees to soak up some of the swampiness, and have granite markers placed at the foot of each tree signifying the wars," Stinnett said. "We want to eventually have a flag pole there too. It will probably take three to four years to complete this project."
At the next scheduled meeting on Dec. 12. the group expects to discuss fundraising plans, a regular meeting schedule, suggestions for the naming of the park, and estimates for the planned stepping stones and tree identification markers.
"This will cost the citizens of Fort Oglethorpe zero dollars," Stinnett said.
"All the funds are being raised by the veteran's council and through donations. The park cleanup will consist of committee members* help maintaining it. The park will honor veterans of all wars. It doesn't not pertain to any specific veteran organization.... If it were church, we'd call it non-denominational."
Stinnett said that anyone can participate and help with the effort if they have such an interest.
"Everyone is invited and welcome to be members of this organization," she said. "All you have to do is love veterans and respect them for what they stand for. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. You don't have to be a veteran to be a member, just be someone who loves our country and honors those who serve. Bring a friend, or five, and prepare for fellowship with veterans and supporters."
The Dec. 12 meeting will be held at Fort Oglethorpe City Hall at 6 p.m.
Anyone seeking additional information about the Council or the project can email Stinnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The city of Fort Oglethorpe recently awarded a bid for the first phase of its planned sewerage project along U.S. Highway 41, with three additional phases to follow in the years to come.
During the Oct. 23 City Council meeting, Public Utilities Director Phil Parker presented the mayor and council with bid results for the work, which will begin along Mack Smith Road toward 1-75.
Parker explained that only one bid came in for the work, and that his staff was able to negotiate with the contractor in order to get the first-phase work within budget.
"We received bids for this project in September, and we actually only received one bid, which was $1.9 million to do this project," Parker said. "This exceeded our current budget. We have negotiated with the contractor through our engineer and have made some changes to the project in addition to negotiations for reductions on costs in the project. We are recommending to award to Brown Brothers Construction for $1,398,499.75, and this will get us to the other side of interstate 75."
Parker says this initial phase is part of a four-phase project that'll eventually benefit the city all the way to the state line.
"Phase I of the project will go from the existing Mack Smith Road interceptor sewer to just past I-75.'' Parker said. "The proposed phase II will pick up from the end of phase I and go north along
Scruggs Road to the Tennessee state line, and then cross east toward U.S. 41. We will cross U.S. 41 near Hillsdale Lane, but the project never enters Tennessee. Phases III & IV are expected to take the sewer expansion south along U.S. 41 to Cloud Springs Road and end near 1-75. However phases III and IV have not been designed yet and the routing is subject to change."
City Manager Jennifer Payne-Simpkins says that while the city is footing the bill for the first phase of the work, it will explore all possibilities of how to fund the remainder of the project.
"This is the only phase of construction that has been bid and awarded, and this phase will be funded with existing city bond proceeds." Payne-Simpkins said. "For all other proposed phases, we are looking into alternative funding sources. Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) low-interest loans are an option, though we do not intend to submit a loan application in the near future for GEFA funds for the expansion project. Sewer expansion is economic development, and it will benefit the entire county. We are currently exploring other options in partnership with the County for funding future proposed phases."
Catoosa County's commissioners approved a grant application Tuesday night. Nov. 21. that will secure nearly $730,000 in funding for road projects.
The grant, a Local Maintenance & Improvement Grant (LMIG) through the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), will be a 70/30-percent split, with the county responsible for about $219,000.
Catoosa County Public Works Director D.E. "Buster" Brown discussed the grant with commissioners during the Nov. 21 meeting and explained that the grant has gotten bigger over each of the past three years.
"We've been fortunate that the grant has increase over the past couple of years," Brown said. "A couple of years ago it was half-a-million dollars and then last year it was $600,000 or so."
The official numbers this year will involve a grant total of $729,981, with the county's 30-percent investment being $218,994. which Commissioner Jim Cutler said was a pretty worthwhile deal.
"So the state will give us $729,981 and all we have to do is spend 30-percent to match, which would be $218,994, and this will go to improve local county roads?" Cutler asked.
"Correct." Brown replied.
"I think it's a pretty good grant," Cutler added.
During the previous commission meeting on Nov. 7, Chairman Steven Henry said the county has a priority list of roads that need significant work. He said they would be addressed depending on condition.
In addition to commending Brown for his diligence in working on the grant, he also took the time to thank him and his department for recent work on Pine Grove Road over the weekend.
"Thank you for the work your guys did on Pine Grove Road. You worked a lot of long hours," Henry said.