Work has started on the Heritage Park/Fairmont Park SPLOST projects which include renovations, upgrades and additions to what’s already there.
“It’s super exciting to be starting everything,” said Spalding County Parks and Grounds Manager T.J. Imberger, when providing an update to the Educational Prosperity Initiative last week. “Some of the abatement work has begun, with lead abatement on the former Fairmont High School buildings scheduled to start this week, and take about three weeks.”
The middle portion of the old school, between the gym and the Rosenwald school building may or may not stay, or only part of it will stay, Imberger explained, “depending on grant money, but we will not stop working.”
There are two plans, he said, for the Heritage Park site, depending on if the middle building is kept, but he anticipated the final plan being some of it coming down, because part of the roof has already collapsed. The Rosenwald school is very rare, he said, “made of block and brick, with more craftsmanship, than some of the others built at the time.”
Other work on the site will include much needed restrooms for the Community Garden as well as a pavilion. “Our goal is to have it all ordered by the end of the year,” he said, “and start building as stuff rolls in. We have a state inmate construction crew approved, just for the project.”
The garden area will see some improvements, Imberger said, but a lot will depend on how much of the middle building remains. “If it’s removed there will be a larger plaza/shade structure in between the two buildings,” he said.
“We’ll do the gym first, then the Rosenwald building, but we have to do the abatement first,” he said. “Those two will be hardest. It will be a good place for the state construction crews to start.”
Other work in the area includes new and expanded pavilions and picnic areas by the Fairmont Community Center, new heating and air for the center, new floor in the gym, all new playground equipment, replacing the outdoor basketball court with an activity area, walking trails throughout the entire area with a loop connecting it to Heritage Park. “We’re leaving space for expansion or a new building in the next SPLOST,” he said, and area for a splash pad, funded with impact fees.
The softball and football fields will be redone, removing the fencing and making them open greenspaces, which can be used for practice space. Recommendations on the what all will be done come from the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission, with the county commissioners making the final decision, Imberger said.
EPI Chairperson Jewell Walker Harps encourage people “to let them (the county commission) know we are watching, remind them and thank them.”
Imberger said, “work will go as fast as the budget and the commission will allow us.”
BY RAY LIGHTNER STAFF WRITER [email protected]