Following a presentation by engineers, county commissioners voted unanimously last week to approve a “master plan” for the Upson-owned portion of Sprewell Bluff Park.
Initial focus will be placed on six elements: a pavilion; expanded parking; additional trail development; a primitive camping site; expansion of recreational vehicle sites; and demolition and reconstruction of bathroom facilities.
Among options, engineers suggested moving the guard shack, currently located at The Trading Post, closer to the edge of the property. Visitors would pay to enter nearer to the property line and would have access to parking along the way, where the park’s “million-dollar views” could be enjoyed, according to engineers.
County officials said more specific breakdowns of project cost should be available to commissioners during the next county work session, tentatively scheduled for the first week in August.
In other business, the commission voted unanimously to grant a special exemption to applicants Sydney R. Long and Matthew R. Young of Pike County for placement of a dog kennel on 34.4 acres of property at 968 Windsweep Farm Road.
The kennel will provide day care and overnight boarding for vacationing canine owners with a 28-dog limit, according to the applicants, who said dogs will be closely monitored.
The exception was granted despite opposition from a neighbor, who said she is concerned about increased traffic and noise. The neighbor, who stated she moved to the area 15 years ago to escape noise and traffic, also questioned whether the kennel could be expanded in the future.
Applicants assured that 9:30 p.m. would be the last “let-out time” for the animals and drop-off and pickup times would be coordinated in advance to limit traffic. Commissioner James Ellington suggested the owners be required to maintain a vegetation buffer between the kennel and neighboring property as a condition of approval.
The Upson Planning Commission previously voted 4-1 to recommend conditional approval to county commissioners.
During the public comments portion of the agenda, resident Reggie Smith voiced displeasure with the county’s recent decision to add Juneteenth to its holiday calendar.
“I don’t agree with it. Juneteenth’s been around since 1865, and no one’s been concerned about making it a holiday until recently,” Smith said. “News media wants us to have something to feel bad about, and we don’t have a reason to feel bad.
“That’s the least thing this community needs to be talking about right now. It’s not an issue in this county,” he continued. “The county needs to move forward. We don’t need to [follow the lead of] our federal government, because they’re messing up our country.”