JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — The Johns Creek City Council had made advancing plans for Cauley Creek Park a priority, but before the city can begin construction, it must clear several environmental regulatory hurdles.
In order to obtain the necessary permits, the council must have partial construction documents. At a Dec. 9 work session, council members discussed how to move those plans forward.
Because of the scale of the park and a limited budget, the city plans to complete the park in phases. Mayor Mike Bodker initially suggested the city go ahead and create construction documents for Phase 1 plus a little extra, so that if Phase 1 comes in under budget, the city could build more without having to go through construction documents and environmental permitting again.
Council members Chris Coughlin and Lenny Zaprowski said the city should go ahead and order construction documents for the whole park.
“I think we’re going to learn a lot by doing the whole thing,” Zaprowski said. “I think it’s well worth it.”
Others were worried about wasteful spending.
“Let’s just say we’re not coming back to spend money on the part that is outside of Phase 1 for another five years,” Councilman John Bradberry said. “In five years, we may realize baseball is no longer in vogue, and everyone wants more cricket. You may end up wanting to build something completely different.”
After some discussion, the council reached consensus on pursuing construction documents for the whole park.
The staff recommended that the city continue to work with Barge Design. Through a competitive bidding process, the city previously selected Barge to complete the master plan and field work for the survey.
Because of Barge’s familiarity with the site and plans for the park, Barge would be the fastest and most cost-effective option, the staff suggested. Alternatively, the city could solicit quotes from its on-call providers or do a full request for proposals.
A full request for proposals would add several months to the timeline, which some council members indicated they would not support.
The council decided to take a hybrid approach and ask the staff to negotiate with Barge. If the staff thought Barge was not offering a competitive price, they could then talk to on-call providers.
The council also agreed to expedite construction documents for a section of trail that would not require environmental permitting. This could allow the city to move one amenity of the park to construction sooner.
The city still faces a decision over what material to use on the trails. The council will continue discussing the parks bond in future work sessions.
At the same work session, the council considered plans to build a roundabout at the entrance to Cauley Creek Park, on Bell Road and across from Old Homestead Trail. The city staff is ready to advance the project to right-of-way acquisition, the final stage before construction, with a budget of $200,000.
The City Council is slated to vote on this item Jan. 13.