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Plans unveiled for first special-purpose neighborhood park

LAWRENCEVILLE - The same day commissioners agreed to buy land for a new park in the Beaver Ruin area, they also saw plans for the county's first special-purpose neighborhood park nearby.

The 25-acre Club Drive Park, which is located at Rolling Ridge Road, could be under construction by the end of the year, but neighbors were concerned about the small scope of the project, which was presented Tuesday.

To complete the entire design, officials would need about $5 million, but only $2 million has been earmarked for the project, said park planner Rex Schuder.

The plan is to begin placing ornamental fencing around the park, developing an open meadow for play along with half of the planned playground and one of two planned half-court basketball courts. Boardwalks to the lake, trails along Sweetwater Creek, a planned teen area and lighting would come later.

But Jean Ebert said she didn't want a small park that only attracts trouble-makers.

"It would just encourage people to hang out there for no good reason," she said. "There would be nothing to bring in families."

While Ebert did not get the promise for additional funding that she hoped for, Community Services Director Phil Hoskins said the county intends to seek an additional $1 million in amenities if the county sales tax revenues came in above expected amounts and construction prices began to decrease. Commissioners echoed the wish.

"I appreciate they did listen," she said. "They are finally starting to pay attention to this area."

Ebert was also pleased that commissioners agreed to buy 36 acres and accept the donation of another 20 acres for a park between Satellite Boulevard and Interstate 85 at Beaver Ruin Road.

Chairman Charles Bannister had called the land a swamp and asked commissioners to consider another location nearby, but commissioners agreed to the purchase to stop the development of apartments there.

"I'd rather it be a park even if it isn't completely usable than more apartments," Ebert said, adding that her children's school has trailers and she doesn't want more added. "It's finally time."