Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Oconee County Citizen Committee Raises Concerns About Traffic At Oconee Veterans Park With Addition Of New Fields

Multi-Use Fields Planned

Members of the Oconee County Citizens Advisory Committee on Recreational Affairs were pleased last month with the county’s decision to begin construction of three multi-use fields at Oconee Veterans Park but expressed concern about the impact of the project on traffic at the park.

Lisa Davol, newly appointed director of the Parks and Recreation Department, updated the group on county plans for the fields, originally designated for adult softball but now being redesigned for multiple sports.

She also said the project will add 320 more parking spaces to accommodate the users of the new fields.

Board member Jeff Christie was particularly vocal in saying that the added traffic with only the single entrance and exit on Hog Mountain Road will make a bad situation worse.

“That will have to be addressed at some point” Davol said. “We know that.”

Commission Vote

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners on Aug. 1 authorized Commission Chair John Daniell to enter into negotiations with R.W. Allen of Athens for construction of the three multi-use fields at Oconee Veterans Park.

Page 1 Of Plans (Click To Enlarge)

Daniells said at the time that some of the details of the work have not yet been settled, such as the kind of turf to be used. That decision will affect the final cost of the project.

The advantages of natural versus synthetic turf was a topic of discussion at the Recreational Affairs Committee meeting on July 18 at the Community Center in Oconee Veterans Park.

More time, however, was devoted to the problems of traffic flow.

Christie said he believes the Board of Commissioners is sensitive to the problem.

“They know it’s a problem,” Christie said. “They have no solution yet. That’s not great news, but it is better than the alternative.”

Design Details

The request for proposals issued on June 29 of this year called for construction of three multi-use baseball fields and associated dugouts, bull pens, batting cage facilities, and pavilion.

Page 2 Of Plans (Click To Enlarge)

The request for proposals also specified construction of a parking lot with entrances, curb and gutter, tree islands, sidewalks and approximately 320 parking spaces.

The fields and parking lot are on approximately 14 acres of land north of the existing soccer fields that is only partially graded.

Lights are in place, and Davol told the Committee members the county wants to work around the lights rather than move them.

Davol provided the Committee copies of the design for the field, which were prepared by Williams and Associates, 2470 Daniells Bridge Road.

The Board of Commissioners had not yet voted to go forward with those plans but did so on Aug. 1.

Rectangular Fields

The design shows three baseball fields with infields and three rectangular fields drawn across the outfields.

The new fields will accommodate soccer, flag football, lacross as well as softball and baseball, Davol said.

The parking lot wraps around the south side of two of the multi-use fields.

The project is not expected to be ready for use until the Fall of 2018, Davol told the Recreational Affairs Committee.

Entrance And Exit

At present, Oconee Veterans Park has only the entrance and exit on Hog Mountain Road.

That entrance is across from Herman C. Michael Park, but there is no connection between the two parks. Elder Road, which provides access to Herman C. Michael Park, does not line up with the entrance to Oconee Veterans Park.

Hog Mountain Road is a state route, and the state so far has not allowed a traffic light at Elder Road or at the entrance to Oconee Veterans Park.

The rear of Oconee Veterans Park is accessible via Autry Road, which is not paved and is gated just inside the park property.

The county so far has been unwilling to upgrade the Autry Road exit, which would put traffic on Hodges Mill Road.


The video below is of the entire meeting of the Recreational Affairs Committee.

Leslie Hunsinger, Committee chair, presided.

Davol began discussing the multi-use fields at 12:30 in the video.

I was not able to attend the meeting, but Penny Mills did attend and recorded the video.

OCO: Recreational Affairs 7 18 17 from Lee Becker on Vimeo.


Xardox said...

The article vividly reveals the reason "citizen committees" have no business making decisions for crucial programs impacting many residents of the County.
The internal problems of R&R concerning maintenance budgets are still pretty much a secret. Equipment is inadequate and old. The budget for maintaining what it has is razor thin. After spending gobs of money on studies and proposals for more New Stuff, let alone adding to an already difficult snarl, it is a mystery if any attention has been given to maintenance of adding to the maintenance burden.
More New Stuff is attractive and sexy. It also needs maintenance, which is already currently struggling to keep up. Amateurs may not understand such a reality.

Zippity said...

These committees don't make decisions, Xardox. As the title suggests, the committee is "advisory" only. This committee makes no decisions on how or when money is spent. Advising is an important role for citizens to play. The committee was just pointing out that traffic will be a problem once these fields are completed. The Commissioners are also aware of the problem. SPLOST funds are being used for the new fields which are badly needed as is shown by the number of citizens that use the park, leading to tremendous wear on the existing fields. I don't think SPLOST funds can be used for routine maintenance. Citizens have been vocal about increasing the Parks Department budget and I think the Commissioners have heard that and done what they can do, within the budget they have.

Todd said...

I have no clue why the county would close off Autry road access. This has been a problem for years and forces all traffic on Hodges Mill Road to cut through Parker Creek road. Autry road should be opened and traffic should be able to enter and exit off of Autry road. As is always the case with this county they create a problem and then try and correct it, why not be proactive and FIX it from the get go!

Dan Magee said...

Hey Xardox, my name is Dan Magee. What's your's?

I volunteer my time on the Recreational Affairs Advisory Board. How do you volunteer your time?

"Amateurs"? I've worked in athletics, parks and recreation for 30 years.

The Advisory Board has members from a wide variety of professions and backgrounds; it's an impressive group with some whip smart members.

Serving as a county director myself, I'm well aware operations, equipment maintenance, infrastructure needs, etc. Would love to give you in-depth lessons on these topics. Might actually learn something you think you already know.

Not sure what "New Stuff" you're referring to that the board is allegedly advocating for. The clear, most pressing need for the department is a Veterans Park traffic light. If the "New Stuff" you refer to is additional space; no really so new, been on the drawing board for years, programs busting at the seams, additional space well overdue.

Hey, everyone has an opinion, some more informed than others.

Again Xardox, my name is Dan Magee; what's your's?

Anonymous said...

Xardox is William "Bill" Mayberry. He regularly posts neo-conservative videos, weird conspiracy theories and "Make America Great Again" ridiculousness on his Facebook, so that should tell you his world outlook. Anything he writes on this blog should be take a with a grain of salt.

Anonymous said...

I volunteer on a citizens advisory board. I attend on family birthdays, anniversaries and when I have been sick. My wonderful family works around the meeting dates.

The people of this county expect the appointed board members to attend and represent the citizens concerns. May not always happpend, but the process goes forward. I shall keep trying.

Becky Moore said...

Great news and NEEDED!!! I hope it's artificial turf!

Anonymous said...

The county recently spent a couple weeks working on Autry Road where it meets Hodges Mill. (That is, the men and equipment were there working every time I drove past during those two weeks; can't swear they were working 8-hour days the entire time.) The optimist in me hoped they were preparing to open the road for permanent through traffic from the park, but the pessimist sorta knew they were just preparing for the activity on July 4th, when they funnel all traffic out of the park via Autry. Still, I thought it was interesting they were willing to spend that amount of time, and the requisite funds, on what is essentially a private driveway for three or four homes. Can anyone elaborate on this project?

Bill Mayberry said...

My views are my views.

I see "Anonymous 1:04" has a problem with that.
His descriptions of my writing has nothing to do with reality.
"Make America Great Again ridiculousness" is a vivid example of where it is coming from. Although I do not recall ever using that phrase myself, objecting to actually making America great again reveals a clear anti-American problem.

Congratulations, Dan Magee, on being a professional aboard with a few other "whip smart" buddies. Now that you have established such impressive credentials, maybe you can get your fellow Advisory Board members to show up. By the way, how much do you and your smug "knowledge" actually know what is happening in the trenches in Parks & Recreation? Since I do have some information along the lines of reality, I will attest that things are not exactly running smoothly over there. AND since I have attended many meetings of various boards of "experts" with degrees and all, I KNOW that what is put up behind the desks, lecturns, and microphones often - no, usually - bears little resemblence to reality.

Finally, I am EXTREMELY UNHAPPY with Dr. Lee Becker for allowing the smug anonynous hacker to out me in the same breath as a liar.
He has usually let me know if he wants to edit what I write. That he allowed such a breach of trust is illustrative of what I used to defend him against.

Lee Becker said...

After much thought, I have deleted a response to the above post rather than publish it. The post did not focus on the issues, but rather on the personalities involved. The post also was anonymous.

I ask those leaving comments not to personalize disagreements. I also encourage use of one's name.