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UPDATE: Here’s when Dawson County will bring its recycling program back online.
Recycling 09122023
Photo by Nick Fewings/Unsplash.

Roughly 10 months after closing, Dawson County will soon bring its recycling program back online for local residents. 

This story continues below.

The recycling center’s grand opening has been set for Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 9:30 a.m. The public is invited to the ribbon cutting ceremony at the facility, located at 946 Burt Creek Road in Dawsonville. The event will be held rain or shine, according to a Dawson County press release. 

“I know there have been a lot of people in the community anxiously awaiting this day and it’s likewise [with us],” County Manager Joey Leverette said at the Board of Commissioners’ Sept. 7 work session. 

At the end of December 2022, Dawson County stopped accepting recyclable items due to large-scale contamination among materials. 

Now, the county will offer a recycling program with a source-separated recycling approach. 

Recycling 09152023 update
Graphic courtesy of Dawson County Government.

People will be able to recycle Plastic #1, Plastic #2, Plastic #2 Natural and Aluminum. Bins will be labeled with signage allowing citizens to determine what is and is not acceptable for each compactor, according to the press release. 

The recycling center’s hours will be from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The facility will be closed on Sunday and Monday. 

Citizens are encouraged to have all recycling materials separated before arrival, the press release added.

More details are available at www.dawsoncountyga.gov/publicworks.

War Hill Park

After getting feedback from citizens and county officials alike, Parks and Recreation Director Matt Payne asked the board Thursday to wait on moving forward with War Hill Park’s forthcoming master plan. 

“We want to do what is right in this situation, and we certainly want to do what is best for the park, but we certainly want to do what is best for our citizens, especially in that War Hill community,” Payne said. 

The matter is tentatively set to be delayed until the board’s next work session on Sept. 21. 

War Hill Park is situated between Forsyth and Dawson counties, alongside Lake Lanier. The park is accessible by land through Dawson County.

The lease agreement for War Hill Park between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Dawson County requires an annual master plan to be submitted. The Board of Commissioners previously approved a county contract with the Pond & Company firm to complete an environmental assessment and master plan.

Community meetings about the proposed master plan were previously held in May and October 2022. The board also discussed the park during a public hearing on July 6, where they tabled a vote on the proposed plan to allow for more time to share information with community members. 

Details on the proposed War Hill Park master plan are available in the board’s Sept. 7 work session agenda packet

After having read through the proposed park plan four to five times, BOC chairman Billy Thurmond said he could support its first two phases. 

Phase one would include campground improvements, upgrade utilities, erosion control, host site improvements through the addition of a golf cart shelter, hiking trails within the campground area and a sliding entry gate.

In particular, Thurmond emphasized that no more than seven sites should be upgraded with electricity and water access, with the rest kept primitive. Payne suggested just six upgraded sites, because of the others’ location on the campground peninsula. 

Previously in 2021, four sites were discussed as possible “glamping” or luxury camping sites, but the prospect was initially put on hold once needing a master plan for park changes became apparent to the county. 

Concerns about additional RVs also came up during the master plan process. With the way the campsites are now, Thurmond estimated only two or three could even hold a moderate RV like his, let alone a bigger camper. 

Under the new master plan, hiking trails within the campground area would be extended to connect the campsite areas to the bathhouse, giving people an option for recreational walking or a commute to the restroom while staying out of the road. 

It’d be improving existing trails and not creating new trails, Thurmond said. 

The second phase of the master plan would include an improved courtesy dock, boat and kayak launches respectively, as well as the addition of a playground and picnic shelter that meet ADA 

requirements, Thurmond said. 

The park fishing pier would also be replaced, and a park maintenance facility for things like equipment would likewise be added. 

Thurmond definitively canned the idea of the board, at least the current board, approving the park master plan’s later phases.

“That’s something that whoever’s sitting in these [board] chairs at that time can worry about that or do what they need to do about that because I won’t be sitting in this chair 20 years from now. “I’m not overly thrilled about spending large amounts of money on property that we don't own,” Thurmond said, referring to the county’s ongoing lease with the Corps of Engineers. 

District 2 Commissioner Chris Gaines agreed, pointing to another factor of the War Hill Park contract potentially being revamped, similar to other lakeside parks, once the 25-year lease with the Corps ends.

District 1 Commissioner Seth Stowers noted the park master plan survey results, mentioning that removing the plan’s third phase would go “in line with minimizing development.” 

“It’s the middle of the road, and we’re not overdoing it,” Thurmond added. 

District 3 Commissioner Alexa Bruce asked Public Works Director Robert Drewry about whether updates to War Hill Park Road were still being planned. 

Public Works is doing full-depth reclamation on just the first mile of the road, from its intersection with Ga. 53 to Liberty Church Road, which is the worst section of the route, Drewry said to Bruce. 

In other park news, Payne announced that Dawson County is preparing for a groundbreaking ceremony at the forthcoming Styles Nature Trails in central Dawson County. The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled to be held on the property starting at 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27. 

Last fall, the county closed on 120 acres of land, donated by longtime resident Anne Styles and her family, for a future park. This land is located off of Ga. 183 and Elliott Family Parkway.

DCN will continue to follow these infrastructure initiatives.