NEWS FROM WALNUT GROVE, GA
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LOCAL WWII VETERAN AND WALNUT GROVE RESIDENT
MARVIN RUSSELL HAS BOOK SIGINING!
ARBOR DAY CONTINUES IN WALNUT GROVE
On February 18, 2013 Walnut Grove City Council and friends of the city
planted 3 dogwood trees on City Hall property in honor of Arbor Day 2013.
WALNUT GROVE LIBRARY NOW OPEN!
SEE LIBRARY PAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Walnut Grove Breaks Ground on Parkway
WALNUT GROVE - City officials broke ground on a vision for the future.
On Friday Walnut Grove officials were joined by county, project management and others as they broke ground on the single largest project in the city's history - the Walnut Grove Parkway.
"We have been looking forward to this for a long, long time," Mayor Don Cannon said at the ceremony. "We look at this parkway as an extension of the economic life of Walnut Grove."
The day before the ceremony city officials entered into an agreement with Strickland & Sons Pipeline Inc. for more than $1.2 million for construction. An additional $86,000 will be spent on utility relocation and $62,000 for wetland/stream mitigation, bringing the total to more than $1.4 million, which will come from the city's projected allocation of $2.6 million in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds. The project should be complete by mid-August.
The project is another piece in the mayor and council's vision for the future, spurred by the development of a downtown re-development overlay district the city has put into place. The parkway will align with the outer border of the northeast quadrant of this district, connecting to highways 138 and 81 in hopes, as Councilman Lamar Lee pointed out, of alleviating some of the traffic in the city's heart, where the two highways intersect.
"In 1996 I was sworn in to the City Council of Walnut Grove," said Councilman Jerry Smith. "At that time the council met in city hall, a small building on one corner of the intersection of Highway 81 and Highway 138. No plans were in place for the growth of the city and ordinances were outdated. Everyone knew that when the two state highways were widened that nothing would be left in the City of Walnut Grove.
"The resolutions were created and passed for the Walnut Grove Parkway, a place where businesses and residences could be established. The parkway is now being constructed where Walnut Grove can develop and expand. I want to thank the city council and mayor for allowing this dream to be fulfilled."
The idea first as born when the city purchased a historic home in 2005 and re-located city hall in November 2006. Officials felt building a parkway would open up a portion of the commercial overlay for an array of different types of commercial and residential development while at the same time alleviating traffic buildup at the city's main intersection. The first conceptual drawing of the parkway was unveiled at the city's bicentennial celebration in 2006.
But it was the deal struck between all of Walton County's municipalities and the Board of Commissioners to allow for a slice of SPLOST funds to be allocated to each city. When voters approved the current SPLOST in 2006, future funding for the parkway became a reality.
Also in 2006, the city had a study conducted by students at the University of Georgia's School of Environmental Design. This study highlighted the northeast portion of the overlay district as an area with high potential for the development of a "new downtown with an old-town look."
"I believe the new Walnut Grove Parkway is a reflection on our city's motto 'Crossroads of Tomorrow,'" Councilman Kevin Shultz said. "We can take it a step further and say, 'Crossroads to Tomorrow's Opportunities.'" Opportunities for businesses to open. Opportunities for citizens to shop locally in stores they normally have to travel more than 10 miles to get to. Opportunities for Walnut Grove citizens and business owners to become actively involved in the cities newly formed Downtown Development Authority by helping form, plan and build our city's downtown district. And many other opportunities yet to imagine."
The city has other projects in the works. Walnut Grove officials are still in negotiations to develop the city's own wastewater treatment facility system and library. This fall the new Walnut Grove High School will open its doors, another reason the parkway was developed.
"This is a proud day for 'We the People' of Walnut Grove," Councilman Wayne Dimsdale said. "It's been a long time coming, but worth the wait. The starting of this road isn't like the ninth-inning home run with the bases loaded.
"It's more like a single in the first inning to lead off the game."