LILBURN - Rockbridge Road could soon become a new recreation alley, if county plans continue.
Earlier this week, commissioners agreed to buy 20 acres of land and accept a donation of 10 more acres on Rockbridge Road, across the railroad tracks from Harmony Grove United Methodist Church's baseball fields.
With plans to expand Lions Club Park on the other side of the fields, the stretch of road from Lawrenceville Highway past the railroad tracks could be filled with playful possibilities.
On top of that, Community Services Director Phil Hoskins said the county is considering making an extension of Lilburn's Camp Creek Greenway. The city's plans end at Lions Club Park, but county officials have drawn a dotted line to pick the trail back up, cutting through the church's property and into the new county property. The trail could continue on just a little farther to reach Harmony Grove Park, a soccer complex owned by the county.
"It made sense," Hoskins said of the extensions. "It does provide a nice greenway."
Recreation in the western part of Gwinnett County has been a concern for several years, ever since a Parks and Recreation study showed the most dense parts of the county was where the parkland per person ratio was relatively low.
Since then, the county has focused on purchases in the area, buying Lions Club Park last year from Lilburn when the city struggled to keep up the small but old and dilapidated park.
Hoskins said surrounding properties on Rockbridge Road and Rockbridge Circle could eventually double the size of the 16-acre park, but the county isn't interested in buying people out of their homes.
Instead, officials are meeting with people and talking price as the circumstances arise.
Five parcels have already either closed or are in negotiations, he said.
And Hoskins wanted to assure the church that the county wasn't going after its property.
Terry Buhite, a church member who acts as overseer of Lanford Park, said he thinks a recreation corridor would be great.
"It sounds exciting to me," he said, adding that the possibility of a greenway through the property would have to be brought before the board of directors. "We'd like to be included in that somehow, but we're not afforded the luxury of not being liable. It's always a concern for us to watch our liability if someone gets hurt."
Buhite said the church considers its softball program a mission, where more than 200 people participate each season.
Local churches often have teams, but Buhite said that he encourages them to have non-church-goers on the team as well.
Buhite said the board of directors in considering the possibility of changing the use of the land, possibly adding soccer fields.