The City of LaFayette Honeybee Festival returned in 2022 with an estimated crowd of more than 80,000.
After a two-year hiatus from the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Honeybee Festival was a welcomed event to return to the City of LaFayette on Saturday, June 4.
The City of LaFayette Honeybee Festival was awarded the Premier Event of the Year at the 2022 Georgia Downtown Association Awards.
Local citizens and visitors from all around the entire tri-state area came out to the festival to enjoy a full day of live music, food, fun, arts and crafts, as well as a major focus on honeybee education.
The Honeybee Festival would not be possible without our local businesses, generous sponsors, and community volunteers who make this unique event a staple in Northwest Georgia.
The Honeybee Festival has grown from its inaugural event in the summer of 2017 of 12,000 attendees to an estimated 80,000-plus attendees in 2022.
Proactive approach to water and sewer utilities
The City of LaFayette currently has a $5.6-million renovation project under construction of a one-million-gallon per day water treatment plant. The city was awarded $750,000 in loan forgiveness through GEFA to help fund this critical infrastructure project.
This project is creating treatment capability at a site where there is a known water source that has both the quantity and quality of water available to supply the city distribution system.
The project is slated for completion in the summer of 2023 and will provide much needed additional water sources within the city. Construction began in January 2021.
This will provide the city with three active (one-million-gallon per day) water treatment plants operating within the city distribution system.
The city also spent 2022 renovating a two-million-gallon water tank, known as the “Huggins Water Tank,” on East Guild Road and was earmarked at $471,000.
The city has been in the works of replacing the aeration system at the 710 Cherokee Street Wastewater Treatment Plant.
This is a $2.3 million renovation and is considered an “emergency project” for the city due to the failing, aged-out aerators. The city was awarded a $1 million ARC grant to help fund this renovation, which reduces the burden on the local customers. The current equipment is at an age where replacement parts are unavailable for purchase.
The city’s plan for 2023 is to replace the sewer lift station at Shattuck Industrial Boulevard that was installed in the early 1970s. This project will cost the city $1.5 million. The city received a grant for $600,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to help fund this replacement. The ARC Grant is designed to help fund environmental projects through the federal government for state and local agencies.
The Water & Sewer Department maintains a proactive approach before any road projects are on the horizon. If they’re old water and sewer lines under the road, the city works to repair/replace those before any paving occurs.
The City of LaFayette maintains approximately 378 miles of water lines throughout the city including additional portions of Walker County. There are around 73 miles of sewer lines within the city itself.
There were 71 new water taps installed to meet the needs of the new residences and businesses coming into the city and county. This was made possible from approximately $57,000 collected in water tap fees to accommodate those new homes and businesses.
Also in 2022, there were 26 new sewer connections added to accommodate new residences and businesses coming into the city.
A new 10-inch force main sewer line is being installed to serve the Shattuck Industrial Lift Station. This replaces the original force main at the lift station that was installed in the 1970s. This will total around 6,500 feet of new force main line.
The force main line replacement is around 60 percent complete as of January 2023.
Commitment to service at LaFayette Public Works
In 2022, Public Works paved and striped 1.694 miles of roadway.
Our Public Works Department also hauled off 608 mattresses and box springs and hauled off 1,951.17 tons of garbage.
Public Works plans to pave and strip 0.388 miles of roadway in 2023.
In 2022, the Gas Department conducted a Business District Leak Survey, including Zone 2, of 19.2 miles of gas main and 923 services of both business and residential properties.
The gas department installed a new 2-inch gas main service to Labrie Enviroquip Group for a compressed natural gas filling station to build natural gas garbage trucks.
The gas department also extended 4,500 feet of four-inch plastic gas main north of the city to increase volume for a new 114 residential subdivision currently under construction.
The goal for 2023 is to install gas services to the new 114 residential subdivision. The gas department will also install 2,000 feet of four-inch gas main southwest of the city for four new chicken houses currently under construction. An engineer is currently drawing up a model of the city’s current system to see if a gas main can be expanded southwest of LaFayette to service customers in that area.
Protecting and serving at LaFayette Police Department
The City of LaFayette Police Department ramped up its Crime Suppression Unit in 2022. The Crime Suppression Unit began in 2021 with a focus on street crimes and drug trafficking.
Since its onset, property crimes within the city have decreased substantially and entering automobile thefts have dropped to zero.
The LPD also beefed-up its Community Oriented Policing by adding additional patrol throughout the city to be watchful in the neighborhoods, schools, and businesses. This allows for more open communication and interaction between the community, students, and business owners.
The LPD added additional manpower to its road patrol to police traffic enforcement and patrolling subdivisions within the city.
The annual Shop with a Cop/Fireman Program is one of the highlights the LaFayette Police Department looks forward to each year.
The LaFayette Woman’s Club Reindeer Run raised $10,000 for the annual program in 2022. This, along with additional donations from individuals and businesses, helped to bring a special Christmas to area children within the city.
The LaFayette Police Department maintains an open-door policy to the public as a whole and is always open to receiving any information and tips to continue the protection of the community as well as being open to offer any general knowledge about the community to the public.
A greater presence with LaFayette Codes Enforcement
Two new Codes Enforcement Inspectors were added to the City of LaFayette in 2022. Heath Owens returned to Codes in 2022, after leaving his position as Detective with the LaFayette Police Department.
The current City of LaFayette Projects Manager Clay Tracy also joined Codes Enforcement last year.
The Codes department wants to maintain focus on continuing to educate the community on our ordinances within the city. The lack of education causes codes violations. Codes’ goal is to recognize those violations and address it through Cleanup Campaigns like Invest In the Hive.
You can expect to see Codes have a greater presence than ever before within the community as we move forward into the future.
The goal is to continue to work with the public, build partnerships with the community, and in the schools, to assist the elderly.
Codes also wants to revamp the website for easier assistance in bringing knowledge to our various codes.
Participation grows at LaFayette Parks & Recreation
LaFayette Parks & Recreation saw an increase in participation of approximately 25 percent across the board as more and more children became active in fall and spring sports, summer camp, and swimming lessons.
According to LaFayette Parks & Recreation Director Jason Shattuck, there were over 430 children per season involved in sports programs at the recreation center in 2022. Thus, reaching the maximum number of children involved in summer camp at around 80 children per day involved in the summer program.
Shattuck said a lot of work has gone into beautification efforts for the local parks including the addition of a split rail fence at Joe Stock Memorial Park.
The LaFayette Recreation Center, located at 638 South Main Street, recently received a facelift with a newly painted gym and Shattuck plans to do the same for the Lowell Greene gymnasium.
Also in 2022, the City of LaFayette welcomed new LaFayette Golf Course Superintendent Walker Bryant. Bryant recently transformed the greens of the LaFayette Golf Course to a new, more modern TifEagle Ultra Dwarf Bermuda Grass.
Shattuck said this change keeps the LaFayette Golf Course up to the current trends in today’s modern golf course evolution.
In 2023, Bryant will continue the turf management program at the local parks and sports facilities, which will help with the overall conditions and playability at those fields, Shattuck said.
Improvements to the golf course will continue into 2023, Shattuck said. This will help to bring better playing conditions to the golf course.
The 2023 City of LaFayette Honeybee Metric Century Bicycle Ride will take place on Saturday, April 29. This will move the Honeybee Bike Ride away from the day of the annual Honeybee Festival.
“We’re going to continue to offer high quality programs at our LaFayette Parks & Recreation and have even bigger, better programs in 2023,” Shattuck said.
A new look for LaFayette administration
In 2022, the City of LaFayette upgraded City Hall with a makeover.
City Hall is located at 207 South Duke Street in LaFayette.
New windows, a new awning, landscaping, and a fresh coat of paint transformed City Hall to a more modern look to meet today’s standards.
The City of LaFayette now offers “Pay by Text.” This new feature offers utility customers the privilege to pay their utility bills and property taxes either online, or by text message.
A utility customer can go to mycityoflafayettega.org and create an account. Once the customer creates the account, they can choose how they want to pay their utility bill under “Contact Preferences.”
This frees the utility customer from having to physically travel to City Hall to pay their bills and property taxes.