Dawsonville City Council members voted to approve several new additions and projects at Main Street Park in Dawsonville this week, including fitness trail equipment, new picnic shelters and the first steps towards building a trail from Main Street Park to the Dawson County Library.
In a presentation to the council members at their meeting on Monday night, City Manager Bob Bolz recommended installing 14 fitness stations along the walkway in Main Street Park.
“There will be about four on the trail behind the memory care facility, and the other ten will be spread out along the trail in the main part of Main Street Park,” Bolz said. “It allows people to train their entire body.”
The park fitness stations behind North Georgia Assisted Living will be wheelchair accessible, furthering the city’s goal to make as much of the park wheelchair accessible as possible, Bolz said.
In his presentation, Bolz said that the new equipment would include several different two-person accessible fitness stations, including chest press machines, a vertical press, a recumbent bike, a rowing machine and many other workout machines.
Bolz said that judging by how many visitors come and work out in the park each day already, the new fitness stations should be a great addition to the facilities there.
“If you’ve spent any time at the park, the exercise trails stay covered up from about 6 o’clock in the morning until after dark at night,” Bolz said. “We have some folks that bring out their own dumbbells and work out in the park, and we have some folks that do yoga in the park, so we’re trying to add another option primarily for older youth and adults to get out and exercise and enjoy the park.”
The total for the project, according to Bolz’s presentation, will cost $63,396.90, which will be paid for by the city’s general fund and reimbursed through SPLOST VI funding.
Dawsonville City Council Member Stephen Tolson said that the addition of the new fitness equipment is a great example of the projects that SPLOST is meant to fund.
“This is the type of example of what we do with SPLOST dollars — it really matters and we’ve got a lot of great projects,” Tolson said. “This is more than just entertainment; this makes the community better. For 20 years I had to exercise almost every day and nothing pleased me more to go out on those fitness trails because it breaks up the monotony and it’s a full-body workout so this is a great thing.”
The council unanimously approved the fitness stations for the park.
Bolz also presented a proposal to add several small picnic shelters to Main Street Park.
“For quite some time we’ve wanted to put some picnic shelters in the park — smaller shelters where people can have family reunions or birthday parties,” Bolz said. “So what we’re recommending with this is two [30 foot by 40 foot] shelters.”
According to Bolz, the shelters would be built by the same company that built the shelters at the maintenance area of the park and would cost about $8,500 each. One shelter would be placed to the left of the playground area behind the wheelchair swing, and the other would be behind the memory care facility, Bolz said.
Like the fitness equipment, the new shelters would be paid for out of the city’s general fund and refunded with money from SPLOST VI.
Council members also discussed rental rates for the existing pavilions at Main Street Park and the two new proposed shelters.
The existing shelters have been operating on a first-come, first-served basis, but new rules would allow citizens to pay to reserve the facility ahead of time.
“We had decided to charge for our pavilions and our shelters and I called around to different cities and counties to see what they charge,” Finance Administrator Robin Gazaway said. “Our small pavilion would be $35 for residents and $60 for non-residents, and the farmers’ market would be $225 if they left the tables there and if we have to remove the tables for any reason it would be an upcharge of about $300.”
Gazaway said that under the fee schedule, non-profits would be eligible for a 50% discount on pavilion rentals.
According to Bolz, if the pavilions are not reserved ahead of time they will remain on a first-come, first-served basis. Plaques would be installed outside each pavilion to indicate whether it’s been reserved for a certain date.
Council members unanimously approved the two new shelters and the proposed pavilion rental fees.
Bolz also presented the council with a plan to build a nature trail from Main Street Park to the Dawson County Public Library. Local Eagle Scout candidate Austin Wood has been working with the city to help with the planning and construction of the trail project, and Bolz said that the goal is for the walkway to include both a paved path and an unpaved woodland nature trail.
In order to complete the project, the City of Dawsonville will need an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with Dawson County. Council members unanimously approved Bolz and the city attorneys to move forward with the IGA.
Dawsonville Mayor Mike Eason said that the trail, which was part of the original plan for Main Street Park, will be an asset to the park and the community as a whole.
“This is important for our community,” Eason said. “The library is excited to have this done and I think it’ll help a lot.”