The residents of Dawson County have many things for which to be thankful. We all have been blessed to either have been born or to have moved to a wonderful community. I believe that we all can agree that one of our community’s greatest assets is our youth.
Over my career I have had the opportunity to work with these young citizens and with our local school system on numerous occasions.
I am thankful for the dedicated leadership that our board of education, our school superintendent Nicky Gilleland and the incoming school superintendent Keith Porter have demonstrated over the past few years.
It is because of their leadership that I am proud my three daughters will be educated in the Dawson County School System.
Our youth and all of our residents should also be proud of our park and recreation system. Park Director Lisa Henson and all of her staff are doing an outstanding job. The number of youth participating in park-sponsored activities continues to grow every year. With this growth comes the need to continue to improve and expand our park facilities.
The most recent addition to our facilities is the much improved War Hill Park. This is a Corp of Engineers-owned property that Dawson County has leased for 25 years. The park is currently undergoing a $160,000 facelift thanks to a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant made available through the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
The grant provided $80,000 in funds and the remaining money is coming from impact fees. All of the 14 primitive campsites and the pier have been refurbished. The beach has 275 tons of new white sand and the entire park has had general maintenance performed.
In addition to these improvements a new bathhouse is currently in the permitting phase and will be constructed this summer. Once all of these improvements are completed, the community will be invited out to a ribbon cutting, a beach volleyball tournament and other activities.
Since opening the camping area April 1, the campsites have been at full capacity most weekends. This is a jewel on Lake Lanier that has something for all ages and I encourage you to take advantage of it.
If you are interested in seeing more of the Etowah River, I encourage you to take advantage of our River Park canoe put-in located on Hwy. 9 south of Dawsonville, at the Etowah River.
This facility is a great place to have a picnic and then spend a day floating down one of our most prized natural resources, the Etowah River. This facility opened in April of 2008, and was paid for by local capital project funds.
Rock Creek Park recently hosted a Boys State Georgia Parks and Recreation tournament with others planned for later this year.
Rock Creek is a beautiful facility with four baseball fields, two senior baseball/adult fields, three regulation soccer fields, four tennis courts and a 1.1 mile walking trail.
The property also has a 33,000 square foot complex with two basketball courts, a gym, meeting rooms and many other amenities.
I can tell you that this park is the envy of our neighboring communities.
Our oldest park is Veterans Memorial Park, located on Hwy. 9 north of Dawsonville.
This facility was first constructed between 1970 and 1972 and has been added to and enhanced over the years. We are continuing to look for ways to improve this park and have made several of these changes over the past couple of years.
The park has three softball fields, two baseball fields, one T-ball field, one regulation football field, a 1/4 mile paved walking track, along with a sports complex with basketball court, our senior center and the county’s public swimming pool.
The park staff saw the usage at the pool surge in 2008, and we expect this to continue this summer. Last summer an estimated 5,000 people used the pool.
Plans in the future call for an additional walking trail and an area for outdoor senior activity and exercise.
As you can see, Dawson County Park and Recreation continues to grow and improve the services they are offering to our youth and adults of all ages. I appreciate the hard work of our park staff, and I congratulate them for a job well done.
Many of our facilities are available to be rented for a day for a birthday party or a meeting. For more information, contact Buffie Henson at (706) 344-3646, Ext. 224.
We are here to serve you and look forward to hearing from you anytime you need our services.
Kevin Tanner is the Dawson County manager.