Parks, technological investments, Greeneway extension

Augusta commissioners angry at Diamond Lakes park restrooms

After several months of waiting, the public washrooms at Diamond Lakes Regional Park are now open again.

Ron Lampkin, director of capital improvement projects, and Ernest Wright, assistant director of parks and recreation operations, confirmed the news Tuesday at the Augusta Commission meeting.

Lampkin explained that the restrooms were closed earlier this summer not because of plumbing issues, but because water from nearby storm drains was bringing water into the restrooms. They installed pipes to divert this rainwater away from the building. As of Tuesday, the only step left in the project was the installation of new grates.

Although they were happy to hear the restrooms were reopened, some of the commissioners were annoyed, particularly commissioner Alvin Mason, who requested the update on Tuesday.

Mason expressed frustration at how long this process has taken since the toilets were urgently closed last summer and that he was never told before Tuesday’s meeting that there had been substantial progress. about repairs, not to mention the fact that a reopening was coming so soon.

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“But I’m here to tell you that something stinks other than the toilets over there in terms of how this whole operation is going and I’m not really happy with the communication process or lack thereof because every time that you’re talking about something that’s an emergency, I would have expected to have updates along the way…to let us know where we are at,” Mason said.

Regarding communication, Lampkin said an email was recently sent to the city administrator’s office. Mason said he was not informed.

FILE - Grazin' in the grass Echo McPhaul (left) and Cheryl Tutt watch Canada geese graze at Diamond Lakes Regional Park in Hephzibah, GA.

The commissioner went on to explain that there was still a lot of repair work to be done on the grounds of Diamond Lakes Park. Commissioner John Clarke echoed that message, who said all of their high-use parks, like Diamond Lakes and Lake Olmstead, needed serious help.

This discussion was just for informational purposes and no action was taken.

Some articles approved by the commission:

  • Hussey Gay Bell Architects of Savannah has been awarded a contract totaling $839,200 to prepare construction documents for the conversion of the former Houghton Elementary School into space for the Augusta Juvenile Justice System and County Board of Elections of Richmond.
  • JHC Corporation in Newnan, Georgia, has been awarded a $305,000 contract to perform electrical upgrades for the Augusta Saturday Market with capital funding from Parks & Recreation.
  • In preparation for the retirement of its current explosive K-9 “Abby” and her handler, the Richmond County Marshal’s Office takes on a new K-9 and a new handler. As they expand the K-9 team, nearly $50,000 has been approved to purchase a new K-9 patrol/transport vehicle.

Columbia County invests in backup data center

At their Tuesday meeting, Columbia County commissioners approved a major technology purchase for its backup data center and disaster recovery site. The project has been approved under SPLOST 2017-2022 and the site’s objective is to ensure that in the event of damage to or destruction of the main broadband point of presence, the network remains operational.

To equip the site, the commission approved just over $1 million in equipment and services from Presido, the county’s Cisco reseller, and $656,542.86 in equipment and services from Mainline, the data center support provider. county data.

Some other items approved by the commission include:

  • The Keep Columbia County Beautiful initiative’s Adopt-a-Mile program has been disbanded due to lack of participation.
  • Columbia County Animal Services has been approved for nearly $87,000 for new equipment and renovations such as a 20’x20′ shade structure and concrete slab in the play area, new fences and gates , as well as exterior paint.
  • Several vehicles are purchased, including a truck for extension services, 14 cars for the sheriff’s office, and a 15-passenger van for parks and recreation.

North Augusta will facilitate the extension of Greeneway internally

On Monday, the North Augusta City Council unanimously passed a plan to use city workers for the upcoming project that extends the North Augusta Greeneway.

The Greeneway is a 7+ mile paved recreational trail that is popular among runners, cyclists and nature lovers. The extension is a small one that would stretch the trail from the Woodstone Subdivision to Mayfield Drive.

FILE - A deer trots through the North Augusta Greeneway.

The council ultimately decided to build the extension in-house as it would be cheaper than hiring another company. North Augusta solicited bids to facilitate construction, but they only received one costing over $200,000. The city’s engineering and public works department estimates it could build the extension using city forces for about $55,000.

Funding for Capital Project Sales Tax III has been approved, but it will not come entirely from this. In 2020, the city applied for and was awarded a South Carolina Department of Transportation Alternatives to Transportation Program grant in the amount of $77,852.16, based on an estimated project cost of $97,315. $.20.

Mayor Briton Williams said the ultimate goal is to extend the Greeneway to where it will connect to the country club North Augusta is developing, to downtown and to the I- 20; and although the current extension is small, it provides residents with better road access.

Some other board-approved items included:

  • Signed a nearly $460,000 contract with A-Lert Construction Services in Augusta to build a facility that would recover and process recyclable materials.
  • Rezoning of property at 322 West Five Notch Road to build apartments in place of defunct 5 Notch Car Wash.
  • Match at least 15% of a $25,000 grant the city is requesting to fund the purchase of new streetlight banners.

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