Clarkston City Council discusses parks, rescue plan funds during Oct. 5 meeting

Clarkston City Hall. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Clarkston, GA — City of Clarkston business revolving around parks, city property, and improvements dominated the city council’s regular meeting October 5, along with a reallocation of American Rescue Plan Act funding.

The city council had previously allocated $1,140,000 in ARPA funds granted to the city through November.  The city will remove $125,000 from their business assistance fund and add $150,000 to rental assistance. In addition, the city will remove $25,000 each from mortgage assistance and utility assistance, and add $25,000 each to technology and police vehicle funds.  An additional $1,219,557,50 in ARPA funding remains to be allocated.

The city issued a request for quotes for a historical preservation project on the Forty Oaks Nature Preserve Farm House in July, and created a short list of firms who could potentially do it.  However, council member Debra Johnson suggested that the city should table restoration until the city determines exactly what it is going to do with the house.

Vice Mayor Awet Eyasu said, “We all agree that it needs to be renovated” but wanted to determine the value of the house as a historic site before spending the money to restore it. A renovation of the house with modern adaptations will carry a different price tag than a historic restoration.

The council agreed to table the project for now until the city’s historic preservation and environmental committees can review the state of the building and make recommendations on the use and renovation of the building.

During public comment Dean Moore, a candidate for City Council, brought up the state of Clarkston’s Friendship Forest, saying that invasive plants were getting out of hand.

“We spent a lot of money renovating the park and putting in better plants,” said Moore. He suggested that the city gather volunteers to remove invasive plants and maintain the park.

Susan Hood, another city council candidate, and Brian Medford expressed concerns about the Comprehensive Development Plan, saying that they expected more public discussion and a public presentation. Hood stated that some data in the CDP has not been updated, and the depiction of public engagement on the city’s website does not reflect how the public engagement process actually happened this year.

The city council tabled a change order for a SPLOST project that would partially close off Rowland Street until the next council work session in order to get more information on options. Some council members expressed the concern that making the area more pedestrian friendly might also make access for some businesses more difficult.

In other news, the city council approved the sale of surplus police vehicles, and also approved an alcohol license for Food Mart located at 1501 Montreal Rd.

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