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County clears two more Tired Creek hurdles

GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL is shown signing House Resolution 71 that conveys the 2,933 acre Tired Creek tract to Grady County without restrictions as Rep. Eugene Maddox looks on.

Two major advances in the Tired Creek lake project have recently been made as county commissioners move forward with the construction of the 960-acre lake north of Cairo.
Grady County Attorney Kevin S. Cauley reported to the Grady County Board of Commissioners last week that Governor Nathan Deal had signed House Resolution 71, and that the State Properties Commission at its meeting last week had approved the conveyance of 2,933 acres of land without restrictions.
Then this week, Cairo Mayor Richard VanLandingham signed off on mitigation easements on property owned by the city at no cost to the county.
The documents executed by the mayor this week places 41.99 acres of the city’s Greenway tract on Little Tired Creek in mitigation easements required for the wetlands and streambank mitigation in the county’s federal 404 permit that authorizes the construction of Tired Creek lake. A total of 75.37 acres of mitigation easements on Little Tired Creek north of U.S. 84 is being acquired by the county.
In addition to the Greenway, an easement for 139.14 acres of the city’s Land Application Sewer operation on Wight Road was signed by the mayor.
HR71 was sponsored by Representative Eugene T. Maddox and carried in the Senate by Senator John Bulloch. It was near the last hours of the session before it was voted out and sent to Governor Deal’s office for his signature earlier this year.
“I felt like it was very important to get it passed through, and it looked like the session was going to come to an end before we could get it called on the Senate side,” Rep. Maddox said.
He also commented, “We finally got it on the Senate side on the last day of the session, and I was so excited that it came through. We really kept pushing and pushing until we finally got it through. I just told them this is a very important resolution and we don’t need this session to come to an end before we get it to the governor to sign.”
Tired Creek was originally planned as a state park project, but when state funding dried up, the project was dumped. The state released the property to Grady County in 1994, according to Rep. Maddox, but there were restrictions on the property.
One was the property could not be sold without approval of the state, and secondly that proceeds from the sale of any timber on the tract had to be used for improvements to the property.
Based on the State Properties Commission action last week, the property will be conveyed to the county without restrictions.
“The State Properties Commission met and voted to return fee simple ownership of the Tired Creek property to Grady County. This was accomplished through the efforts of our local legislators. It was reaffirming and reassuring to see it make it through both houses with unanimous votes,” Grady County Attorney Cauley told Grady County commissioners last week.
The conveyance was made without monetary consideration and Cauley anticipates receiving the deed shortly.
Commissioner T.D. David asked if it was a “done deal,” and Cauley answered affirmatively.
The city’s participation and support with the mitigation plan is another major step in closing out the acquisition of all of the mitigation property required in the county’s lake permit. County Attorney Cauley is in the process of wrapping up the wetlands mitigation acquisition.
County officials and their consultants are gearing up now for a meeting next month with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials to present some required studies and plans.
Grady County Commission Chairman Charles Norton is pleased with the recent developments and the spirit of cooperation between all parties involved.
“We play as a team, and I appreciate everything everyone has done. Without the efforts of everyone coming together, this project would never have happened. I thank the city council and city officials, Rep. Maddox, Senator Bulloch and Attorney Cauley for their work on this part of the lake project. It’s not just the board of commissioners working on this lake, it is a team,” Chairman Norton said.

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