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Gordon County approves zoning for Blackwood Place apartments

A new apartment complex planned between Highway 53 and Outlet Center Drive cleared a hurdle at this week’s County Commission meeting.

The board unanimously approved a request from Southeast Housing Partners LLC to rezone a 10.86-acre parcel off Blackwood Place from A-1 Agricultural to R-5 Multi-Family Residential to develop what they call a “workforce multi-family community” of up to 72 units.

According to developers, the units — located between Blackwood Road and Public Safety Drive near the Fire Department and Department of Driver Services — would be partially financed with equity derived from tax credits.

“This would be mixed income,” Southeast Housing representative Jon McKnight said, adding that some units would have an income requirement with rent cap. “There would also be a portion that would be market regulated, and not subject to that.”

McKnight said the development would be made of all brick and Hardy plank to fit in with existing housing already in the area, and would be made up of one, two and three-bedroom apartments. Access for the development is planned for Blackwood Place for vehicles pending an eventual driveway permit.

Commissioners also approved a request from Champ Kelly to rezone 3.86 acres at 3805 Chatsworth Highway, Resaca, from A-1 Agricultural to RA-1 Residential-Agricultural to bring the tract into compliance since a past subdividing brought the parcel under the required five acres for A-1 designation. Owners have plans for a single-family home on the property.

Both approved zoning applications came before commissioners Tuesday night having received unanimous 5-0 recommendations for approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission, and neither zoning issue drew public comment during the hearing process.

With local 4-H students in attendance, commissioners proclaimed March 19 through 25 of this year “Agriculture Week” in Gordon County, encouraging all citizens to “celebrate farmers and agriculturalists in your families and communities.”

“We recognize the unique and irreplaceable value that farmers, ranchers, foresters, farm workers, and all stewards of God’s Creations contribute to our Nation’s past, present and future,” the proclamation reads. “America’s agricultural sector safeguards our Nation’s lands through sustainable management; ensures the health and safety of animals, plants, and people; and provides a safe and abundant food supply which plays an important role in our National Security.”

A handful of local 4-H students were on hand to speak to commissioners about their recent activities.

“We have an extraordinary program here in Gordon County,” 4-H Agent Allie Griner said. “We appreciate the support that comes from our County Commission and all of our community members who have helped that happen for all of our kids.”

Also approved were several board appointments, including Jesse Vaughn and Randall Fox, each to four-year terms to the Development Authority ending April 1, 2027, as well as Vaughn to the Gordon-Floyd Development Authority for a three-year term expiring April 1, 2026.

“We thank both of them for their continuing desire to serve,” County Administrator Jim Ledbetter said.

A request from the Probate Court was approved for a bid regarding scanning and digitizing records was awarded to Kofile Technologies Inc. in the amount of $233,644 with the use of American Rescue Plan Act funds.

“It gives ease of access for records,” Ledbetter said. “And it also the documents for ever more.”

The Gordon County Fire Department’s request for an Intergovernmental Agreement for mutual aid with Bartow County for fire service delivery was approved.

“This is essentially a renewal of an agreement that we’ve had in place,” Ledbetter said, adding that the mutual agreement at no additional cost to taxpayers dispatches Gordon and Bartow fire units across county lines as needed where certain homes and roadways are more quickly accessed by opposite county fire units.

Additionally, GCFD’s request for an agreement with Life Safety Inspection Vault LLC for web-based reporting data management for the Fire Prevention Division was also approved by the board.

“This doesn’t cost Gordon County anything,” Ledbetter said, saying that it simply gives contractors and fire officials access to digital data regarding fire safety equipment.

Finally, a road dedication request from OWR LLC for Momeni Drive was approved.

“They have already completed the rehabilitation, redesign, and repaving of Trimble Hollow Road at the developer’s cost to get to Momeni Drive,” Ledbetter said. “Now where that connects to Momeni Drive ... that would now become a public road upon your acceptance.”

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Gordon County Board of Commissioners is set for Tuesday, April 4, with the work session beginning at 5 p.m. and the regular meeting at 6 p.m., both in the Gordon County Judicial Building Assembly Room, 101 S Piedmont St. All regular meetings are open to the public.

Citizens petition for guard rails on Boone Ford Road

A dangerous stretch of county roadway has citizens and government officials looking for ways to possibly improve safety in the area.

About a mile-long stretch of Boone Ford Road that has a steep grade and little-to-no shoulder has seen a multitude of serious wrecks and several fatalities over the years — especially between Orchard Way and Tucker Hollow Road.

“It’s very steep, it’s very narrow,” Cassie Ferguson told the Gordon County Board of Commissioners Tuesday night. “There have been a lot of wrecks there, and several fatalities.”

A mother of teenagers, Ferguson said an upcoming move for her family that will require daily use of Boone Ford Road has her concerned for the safety of her children.

“I’ve got kids that will start driving in just a few months, and we’re about to move back out on Boone Ford Road,” Ferguson said. “I’ve lived off of that road for my whole life, and it’s always been a very scary area.”

Ferguson told commissioners her research through accident records shows 28 wrecks on that stretch since 2017.

“I don’t know what the right thing is, or what we can physically do, but I feel like something needs to be done there, whether it be a guard rail, or the rumble strips at the top and the bottom of the hill to make people slow down,” Ferguson said.

Gordon Central senior Mason Fuller, 18, was killed on the morning of March 10 when the 2006 Lexus he was driving left the stretch of roadway, traveled down the steep embankment and struck a tree. He was on his way to school.

Since Fuller’s death, county officials have been looking at ways to make the roadway more safe.

“We’ve had an engineer out since the last wreck to look at that area of Boone Ford Road,” County Administrator Jim Ledbetter said, adding that recent work on the upcoming Special Local Option Sales Tax referendum currently includes improvements on Boone Ford. “It’s just tragic and heartbreaking for anyone to be hurt or lose a life.”

The very hurdles that make the stretch of road unsafe also make it frustratingly difficult for the government to improve, but it’s a task officials said hopefully they can find a solution to.

“It’s a hard area to fix because of the elevations,” Ledbetter said. “There’s not enough room to just put in guard rails.”

Ledbetter said that the addition of signage over the years has helped some, but the county intends to look and see what more can be done.

A online petition currently has over 4,500 signatures asking for guard rails on the road.

Bartow County firefighter dies six days after medical emergency that occurred during training exercise

A Bartow County firefighter has died, six days after a sudden medical emergency during a training exercise.

Firefighter Matthew Smith, 41, died Tuesday “from complications of an apparent medical incident that he suffered during a training exercise last Thursday,” according to a statement from the Bartow County Fire and Emergency Services office. “Please keep the Smith family and our department in your prayers during this difficult time.”

An expanded note from the agency shares that Smith “became unresponsive during a search and rescue training exercise at the Bartow-Cartersville Fire Joint Training Center. Instructors for the exercise with Smith immediately recognized that he was experiencing an acute medical emergency and quickly removed him from the search maze to begin resuscitative measures.

“Personnel of BCFES immediately began CPR and initiated Advanced Cardiac Life Support protocols. BCFES had an on-site ALS ambulance on standby for training and the decision was made for that unit to transport Smith to Piedmont Cartersville Medical Center.

“Emergency response personnel as well as emergency department staff worked tirelessly to resuscitate Smith. He did regain cardiac function and was placed on life support for six days.

“Smith passed away on Tuesday, March 21, from complications related to his medical emergency. Funeral arrangements have not been finalized at this time.”

He joined the agency two years ago.

Calhoun woman charged with crimes against children

A Calhoun woman was arrested this week, charged with several crimes against children.

Faith Charity Hackney Wall, 31, was arrested Tuesday by Gordon County Sheriff’s deputies, charged with a laundry list of crimes, including four counts of misdemeanor contributing to delinquency or dependency of a minor and numerous felonies, three counts of second-degree cruelty to children, one count of incest, one count of influencing witnesses, two counts of willful obstruction of law enforcement officers by use of threats or violence, and one count of child molestation.

According to Gordon County Sheriff’s Office reports:

On Feb. 24, the Sheriff’s Office received a report of possible child abuse form a local health care provider. An investigation was initiated spanning 2015 to the present across three different jurisdictions in Northwest Georgia. Detectives interviewed witnesses, and executed two search warrants.

During the investigation, three children under the age of 16 were removed from the home and taken into DFCS custody, where they remain.

Hackney Wall was arrested during a court proceeding and violently resisted arrest before being subdued.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, evidence suggests the criminal behavior had been ongoing for “some time.” They also indicated Hackney Wall would move residences and counties to evade DFCS and police attention.

Hackney Wall faced a Magistrate Judge on Wednesday, March 22, and was denied bond.

Calhoun pitcher Cooper Evans has been named to the All-Region 7-5A first team as a pitcher.