Fairmont SPLOST projects on schedule

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The bonded $1.9 million Fairmont/Heritage Park SPLOST project is on schedule for completion in December of this year, as was originally projected.

County Commissioner Gwen Flowers-Taylor, who pushed for the project in her district as a way to get the SPLOST to pass after it failed the year before, asked that the project be added to the agenda for Monday’s Board of Commissioners meeting.

During public comments, Daa’Ood Amin, who chaired the pro-SPLOST effort, spoke of concerns brought to him about the project, since other bonded projects have been completed.

“This one is way behind, in my opinion,” Amin said. “I’m asking this board to fulfill their commitment to this project, I’d like to see it get back on track.”

Flowers-Taylor raised similar concerns from residents asking “why this bonded project has not been started? I don’t have an explanation of why it’s not been completed.”

County Manager William Wilson Jr. told her “the new air conditioning (for the Fairmont Community Center) is done, asbestos removal is done, new sidewalks and fencing are done, the outside restroom building is done.”

Wilson said Public Works, Parks and Grounds Director T.J. Imberger said this would all be done with in-house crews.

“Some of the work, because of change in state laws, can no longer be done without a licensed general contractor to pull the permits,” Wilson said. “We don’t have any licensed contractors on staff. We have to hire a project manager who is licensed to pull the permits, and submit plans to the City of Griffin.”

Wilson said pavilion play structure has been bought and is storage, waiting to be installed. Work is ongoing on the shade structure, then landscaping. There are four play structures that will be installed.

He said demolition has been approved inside the rec center, using a construction manager to pull the permits from the city.

“It was scheduled to be completed in December 2018, we’ll be close, based on us doing the work,” Wilson said.

When asked how much was spent so far, the Wilson said, “to date, Fairmont requisitions total $412,892.47 and Heritage Park requisitions total $234,908.89.”

Flowers-Taylor then questioned why work was done at Sunny Side and Orchard Hill first. Wilson said “you (the commissioners, both city and county) said give them their money first.”

Commission Chairman Raymond Ray said, “the project is scheduled for completion in December 2018, as we promised. We’re still working on accomplishing that. Things are happening, not as fast as some wanted, but they are happening.”

Flowers-Taylor then complained that “the courthouse got their computers up front,” a purchase the commissioners approved even before the SPLOST was passed and included it in the bonded projects.

She then complained about pickleball, something she also voted for as a bonded project citing the potential economic impact, saying, “they’ve been playing pickleball for year. It’s always something. They want to know why we lied. Really that’s how you gonna do?”

She and Amin both noted that voters will be asked for another SPLOST in the future and they may be reluctant to vote for another one if promises are not kept.

Commissioner Rita Johnson asked that the county be held to the December date. Ray asked for more updates on the progress of the project.

“I hope they will come,” Flowers-Taylor said, “Commissioner Hawbaker has asked before.”

Hawbaker said, “it should be a regular agenda item,” noting that it is a big project. He praised Wilson’s work in selling the bonds for the project, and use of the premiums to cover the cost overages from pickleball costs.

“I’m all in favor of allocating what else is left from that to Fairmont,” Hawbaker said. “Let’s giddy up.”

Ray asked that board “get updates on SPLOST projects, especially the bonded ones, at least once a month.”