Sharon Springs Park master plan

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The future of Sharon Springs Park came more into focus this week with the Board of Commissioners reviewing the site’s master plan during their July 14 work session.

The plan outlines potential upgrades and updates to the 26-year old park off Sharon Road, which was recently expanded by the county’s land purchase of 8 additional acres.

Arron St. Pierre with Lose Design, a consultant crafting the master plan with the county, said the goal of the proposal is to address traffic flow, parking, stormwater runoff issues and potential upgrades.

St. Pierre said traffic was a significant concern addressed in the master plan. As it stands today, two parking areas and a road meet at the entrance/exit along Sharon Road, often causing backups. It also presents safety issues for pedestrians walking along the park’s trail loop, which runs through the parking areas near the entrance.

Under the master plan, a single entrance along Sharon Road would direct cars to a roundabout and away from the parking lots. Cars could use the roundabout to access the upper ballfields, lower ballfields or multi-use fields.

Pedestrian crossings along the trail loop will be reduced, and the paths will be upgraded.

Parks and Recreation Director Jim Pryor said the most outspoken group of residents during public meetings regarding the park’s future were those calling for improved walking trails. Additional paths are also likely down the road with plans to connect Sharon Springs Park’s trails with neighboring paths at the Sexton Hall Enrichment Center property.

The tennis courts, multi-use fields and ballfields will remain in place, but the master plan shows a reconfiguration of other amenities to create a contiguous, passive greenspace area and a possible future trailhead. It will also provide a passive area in the center of the park.

The master plan outlines LED lighting upgrades and potential modifications to the sports fields for better drainage. St. Pierre said one of the multi-use fields is in good condition while the other will need new turf.

The drafted plan also looks to address stormwater runoff issues at the park. One way to address the matter is to “re-naturalize” a stream on the property. St. Pierre said other structures will also be needed for runoff control because the standards of 1994 vastly different than modern regulations.

St. Pierre said a “significant amount of infrastructure” will be required to have the park served by a gravity sewer, which is proposed under the master plan. The park is currently on septic.

With the master plan outlining the park’s potential future, the next steps will determine which projects should be prioritized and how the county can get the most from its investment. The park is set to receive $8 million in funding from SPLOST VIII.

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