MILTON, Ga. — Opening the former Milton Country Club property as a city park won’t happen until at least summer 2021, but the site’s trails system is coming into focus.
The Milton City Council discussed several sections of proposed trails at its Dec. 14 work session that could come online to allow residents to experience the park the city purchased nearly three years ago.
Public Works Director Robert Drewry and Transportation Engineer Sara Leaders presented the council with several phases of potential paths.
The first proposal called for new paths beginning at the clubhouse and the demolition of a stretch of cart paths near the building. The new trail would then link to existing cart paths which would stretch behind the homes in the Highgrove Club Drive cul-de-sac. From there, new paths would be constructed farther back from the homes, the cart paths would be removed in the area, and the trail would end before reaching one of the lakes on the site.
That plan, along with removing existing paths, comes at an estimated cost of $510,000 with an almost even split between new paths and existing cart paths.
Another option presented would be to take that plan and extend the walkways to one of the lakes and create a loop around the body of water. The estimated price tag of $652,000 would include about 1.25-miles of trail, around one-quarter mile more than the original proposed section. The phase would include removing cart paths on private property near the additional section of path.
Two other options build off of the first two plans but conform to Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines for slopes. Under each plan, the second portion of trail would be ADA compliant with no other changes to the remaining sections. To meet those requirements, the trail would briefly run along Highgrove Club Drive. The updates would add about $200,000 in cost to either the shorter or loop trail.
City staff recommended completing the extended trail. City Manager Steve Krokoff said doing that would present a cost savings by building out all stretches of trail in one fell swoop.
Several council members and Mayor Joe Lockwood spoke in favor of the looped trail, but they did echo the concerns of some residents who live adjacent to the park.
Brad Serff, a homeowner along the site, said the city should take action to address people parking along the street and accessing the trails instead of parking at the entrance of the park. He suggested placing a buffer along certain sites to dissuade access from the street.
Serff added that he was in favor of the plan and he believes his neighbors would support the extended trail.
Currently, there is a removable gate along Highgrove Club Drive that allows city employees and maintenance services to enter the park area.
Even if the city opts for the longer trail, it will not include the full loop around the site shown on the park’s master plan that city officials adopted last summer.
The issue at hand is sinkholes and drainage issues along Chicken Creek. As a part of its $1.3 million budget for trails on the property, Milton will conduct a hydrology study to address those problems.
Krokoff said the city is focused on opening what portions of the park it can, then complete the full loop.
Lockwood suggested constructing all three portions of the drafted trails to open the park and then address the final portion later.
Because the discussion took place in a work session, no vote was taken on which plan to pursue.
Drewry said without significant changes to the plan, the city could put the project out to bid by April. He was hesitant to give a hard timeline for the park opening following the construction of trails, but he said the hope would be next summer.