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Push made to build new county pool at Holder Park

Grady County Commissioner Charles Renaud made a push Tuesday to have the county study the possibility of locating the proposed new aquatic center approved by voters at Holder Park rather than at Barber Park.
Throughout the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax negotiations and campaign, the pool was to be built at Barber Park. However, nothing in the ballot language requires that it be built there.
Previously, Renaud had argued for the pool to be built at Davis Park, but that idea, too, was shot down.
Renaud says he believes the commissioners owe it to citizens to explore all options before making a final decision.
According to the District 2 commissioner, expanding the existing pool facility at Holder Park could possibly result in savings for city and county taxpayers.
“I don’t even know if it can be done or not, but if, say for $400,000 we could expand the Holder Park pool into a competition pool and also have the splash pad and other extras, that would be significant savings. We will not know until we explore all of our options,” Renaud said.
In the most recent SPLOST referendum, voters approved the pool and $900,000 was earmarked for the new aquatic center.
Commissioner Al Ball, who has pushed a similar proposal in the past, agreed it should be investigated, but thoroughly and not simply a cursory examination.
“We would also need to know if this legally could be done,” Ball added.
Chairman Bobby Burns voiced his opposition to the proposal because of his fear that the majority who supported the vote on the pool assumed it would be built at Holder Park since all previous discussions were about that location.
Burns admitted nothing in the ballot language would require the new pool to be built at Barber Park, but all of the discussions leading up to the vote and at election time had been there.
County Attorney Kevin S. Cauley recommended the commission determine if the project is feasible at Holder Park before moving forward.
Under Renaud’s proposal, the city would benefit from no longer paying for all of the maintenance of the Holder Park pool by sharing those costs with the county. He noted that the county would benefit from the shared maintenance costs that would not be realized if the pool is built at Barber Park. In addition to that, Renaud is hopeful the pool could be built for less than the $900,000 earmarked for the project.
“We would need to check with the city before we do anything but, right now, we need to get a consensus of this board,” Chairman Burns said.
Chairman Burns and Commissioners Elwyn Childs and Charles Norton voiced their opinion that the pool should be built at Barber Park, while Ball and Renaud favored looking at Holder Park before making a final decision.
Renaud pushed further by commenting, “Without knowing if we could do it at Holder for $400,000 rather than $800,000, I can’t see why we wouldn’t look first.”
Ball added, “Even though I feel you are right, the board is for Barber Park. I am willing to abide by the consensus.”
“I think we’re being shortsighted,” Renaud replied, and Chairman Burns closed the door on the subject by stating, “so be it.”

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