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Loganville’s School Resource Officers gain national recognition

LOGANVILLE — Police Chief Mike McHugh presented the city’s three school resource officers with plaques of recognition Thursday, commending them for “building a bridge” between students, schools and police officers.

The National School Safety Council recently recognized Loganville SROs Lt. Joseph Cantrell, Sgt. Dustin Peterson and Detective Bob Gilbert for their innovative initiatives geared toward keeping students engaged and involved. Cantrell, with the help of other officers, developed an application for smartphone that allows students to report contraband or illegal activity, yet remain anonymous.

“It’s amazing what he’s done, what they all have done, for our schools,” McHugh said. “I’m quite proud of our school resource officers.”

Council members voted Thursday to renew the annual contract for SROs, at a cost to the city of about $86,000.

Rock Gym improvements progressing, under budget

According to City Manager Bill Jones, the improvement to the city’s historic Rock Gym are nearly complete and he expects to see a September grand opening of the facility. Both Jones and Councilman Chuck Bagley praised city employees for doing much of the renovation work themselves, saving taxpayers thousands of dollars.

McHugh prepared detailed sketches of the finished building’s interior and exterior. City employees built the large movie screen for less than $200, saving the city more than $1,000. Fire Chief Danny Roberts refinished the wood floors inside, and Public Works Director Randall Casper has overseen and performed much of the work himself.

“Our employees have done a lot of this work and saved the city thousands of dollars. We owe them a big ‘thanks,’” Bagley said. “We already have people in line (who plan to) rent and use the facility.”

Fire, police departments to purchase equipment

Both the fire chief and police chief got the go-ahead from the council Thursday to purchase needed equipment for their departments. The Fire Department will purchase five sets of turnout gear (entire uniforms and equipment), at a total cost of $9,605.00 The police department received approval to purchase a $32,371.00 Dodge police vehicle for a newly-hired officer.

Rezoning application withdrawn

Councilman Mike Jones announced Thursday that the rezoning application submitted for the 4.76 acres owned by First Baptist Church on Tom Brewer Road was withdrawn. Late Thursday, applicant Danny Hermann withdrew the application and council approved the withdrawal.

Jones said that since he has been the Planning and Development committee chairman he has reviewed the city’s ordinances and has a laundry list of changes that need to be made. He referred to a stipulation on the rezoning application withdrawn Thursday in which 25 percent of the land had been set aside for greenspace; however, the greenspace would have been wetlands.

“The greenspace needs to be usable land, not a swamp,” Jones said. “It should be land that you can build a playground on, or something like that.” Jones also said that he does not like to see rezoning applications approved, then developers take years, sometimes decades, to develop the rezoned land. “I think there should be a time limit and after a certain time, the zoning goes back to what it was before.”

Loganville Development Authority gets help from city

Council members voted Thursday to give the Loganville Development Authority $30,000 in “seed money” to get started, a move that backs up recent promises by city leaders to kick-start and support the LDA.