Duluth to maintain Strickland House lawn
Service expected to cost $2,500 a year

DULUTH - The Duluth Council on Monday authorized city maintenance staff to provide basic lawn care at the Strickland House for the Duluth Historical Society in return for the society's preserving, maintaining and displaying city memorabilia.

The society, which recently relocated to the historic house at 2976 Buford Highway, is utilizing grant funds, charging admission and sponsoring fundraising activities to purchase the house. Donations are also being accepted.

A grand opening for the society's new headquarters is scheduled for May 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Duluth Public Works Director Audrey Turner estimated the lawn care will cost the city $2,500 a year.

In other action, the council agreed to return $30,000 to Duluth Presbyterian Church on Pleasant Hill Road for sidewalk construction.

The church paid the funds to the city for sidewalk construction as a requirement for an addition. The city had planned to provide sidewalks along Pleasant Hill Road, but was unable to proceed.

The sidewalk project was held up while the city awaited a decision from Gwinnett County on the widening of Pleasant Hill Road. The delay subsequently caused the city to lose grant money for the sidewalks.

The church plans to use the funds to install sidewalks in front of its property.

CIBA Vision at Johns Creek was recognized for many years of community service provided by company volunteers at Bunten Road Park.

The volunteers have assisted with planting flowers, cleaning the nature trail, staining and painting fencing, benches and tables, and installation of a decorative split rail fence along the park drive. It was announced that the city's annual Memorial Day Service is planned for May 23 at 11 a.m. on the Town Green.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the Taylor Park Playground preceded the council meeting. The train-themed playground next to City Hall is expected to be completed in August.

After the council meeting adjourned, the mayor and council went into work session to discuss the proposed FY 2010 budget.

Although city departments have reduced their budgets significantly, the city is still facing a $2 million revenue shortfall, City Administrator Phil McLemore said.

To generate additional revenue, the council is considering increasing user fees for city facilities and services.

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled on June 8.