FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The Sharon Springs tag office on the Sharon Springs Park property will be relocated because it is violation of a federal grant the county received to fund the construction of the park. The building, constructed in 2008, will be demolished, and the county is moving forward with leasing a nearby space to serve as the replacement office.
Sharon Springs Park was primarily funded with a federal Land and Water Conservation Fund grant, which restricts any non-recreation purposes on the site. Because the tag office does not serve a recreational purpose, it is in violation of the grant.
After the tag office opened in 2008, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources informed the county the building was in violation of the grant, which could be grounds for denying the county any future federal dollar endowments for parks.
Officials applied for a “transition plan” to use Windermere Park as a replacement site. However, Parks and Recreation Director Jim Pryor said, “for some reason,” the application was never formally processed.
“But, the intent has been to work with [the] DNR and figure out a resolution on the issue,” Pryor said. “Instead of tying up Windermere Park in perpetuity under the federal guidelines, the solution was to just remove the tax office from the site and to another location.”
That new location will be 1475 McFarland Parkway, a few miles west of Sharon Springs Park.
The building is a former bank facility that the county will sublease from BB&T for around $76,000 annually. There are also plans for around $155,000 in renovations, including equipment and technology, to allow the site to operate as a tag office. A report from county staff said the site can improve tag office operations by being in a more accessible location and it will allow for drive-thru services.
“Whenever the tax office vacated the Sharon Springs site and moves to their new location, DNR will come inspect the site and remove the grant violation (for Sharon Springs Park),” Pryor said. “Again, we have been working jointing and cooperatively with them the past 2 years to get the situation resolved. With the recent [Board of] Commissioners’ decisions, I expect the Tax Office will be moving to the new location sometime within the next 12 months.”
The owner of the BB&T building the county will lease has informed the county they plan to sell the property in 2025. At that time, the county would either be required to purchase the building or renegotiate a lease with the new owners. A county report said the owner is asking $3.3 million for the property.