MILTON, Ga. — Milton is projected to spend millions on trails, park improvements and park development over the coming decade.
The buildout of the former Milton Country Club has a $17 million estimated price tag, and Providence Park improvements have an estimated cost of $7 million. There are also funds needed to extend the city’s trails system as work continues on finalizing the trails master plan.
With significant costs on the horizon, it was recently suggested to the City Council that Milton could use Greenspace Bond dollars to fund park improvements instead of spending the entire $25 million on property purchases.
Legally, the city could do it. The bond referendum, passed overwhelmingly by voters in 2016, states the Greenspace Bond could be used for “providing parks and park improvements.”
However, Milton responded by stating while it could use some or all of the approximate $7 million remaining from the Greenspace Bond for park improvements, that was not the intent of the referendum.
“The catalyst for the Greenspace Bond referendum was citizens’ overwhelming concerns regarding continued development of land and their strong desire to curb that development,” said Communications Director Shannon Ferguson.
“Milton residents wanted to preserve our rural heritage. While the Greenspace Bond referendum language was crafted in a way to provide some legal flexibility in terms of limited improvements or other related greenspace costs, the intent of our citizens and the direction provided by council in 2016 was always centered on acquisition of land to prevent further development. It was not focused on the buildout of parks.”
Ferguson added that using bond funds for park development would curb the city’s ability to conserve more land by lowering available funds.
The city has used the bond to conserve hundreds of acres of buildable land beginning last January with the purchase of the 140-acre former Milton Country Club property. Milton has since purchased over 100 acres off Lackey Road, 21 acres at the intersection of Freemanville Road and Birmingham Road and 88 acres near Bethany Road and Providence Road.
The city also recently closed on two contracts to purchase an additional 28 acres near the Manor Golf & Country Club and around 5 acres along Webb Road near Brickmont Assisted Living.