Timber crews at Tired Creek moving at “high rate of speed,” Fowler says
The biggest concern to Grady County’s timber consultant who is monitoring the timber harvest at the Tired Creek Lake site is the burning of debris from the timbering.
Russell Fowler, of Flint River Timber, appeared before the county commission Tuesday to update the board on the progress on the timber harvest.
“The timber crews are moving at a high rate of speed. My only concern now is the burning of the piles,” Fowler said.
According to the timber consultant, the county has two men and two tractors on site on the days the Georgia Forestry Commission will permit burning, but there is a need for an additional rake tractor to speed up the process.
Fowler said that Tim Schafer is currently working as a subcontractor to one of the timber companies involved in the project and he could fill the void on a part-time basis to speed up the burning of the debris.
“We’re not talking about 40 hours a week. We’re only talking about 10 to 20 hours a week and sometimes none,” Fowler said.
As Brad Cole Construction prepares for the slurry wall to be poured a pipe will soon be put in place that will back up water over approximately 100 acres and up to five feet in depth.
“We’re good on the west side of the main creek, but on the eastside we’ve got some work to do. I would really encourage you to consider and not delay the burning of these piles,” Fowler said.
“If he is already out there and not busy and got the time then I think we ought to use him and get this cleared up as fast as we can,” Commissioner Elwyn Childs said.
Fowler said a subcontractor could perform the work cheaper than what it would cost if the county did the work.
The board authorized County Administrator Carlos Tobar to obtain an hourly rate and bring the estimate back for its consideration.
In other lake project related news, Tobar briefed the board on negotiations concerning the construction of a pond on one of the county’s mitigation properties as part of a deal with the previous owner of the property.
Tobar said he and Road Superintendent Stanley Elkins met with Jim Tenewitz to discuss the pond to be constructed on his property. The county is committed to building the pond as part of the purchase agreement for the mitigation property the county bought from the local farmer.
An estimate obtained by the county for the construction of a five-acre pond on the Tenewitz farm is $75,000.
Commissioners instructed Tobar to meet with Tenewitz to determine exactly what he required in terms of the pond and to investigate the possibility of hiring a temporary worker skilled in pond building and to build the pond with county equipment and forces rather than using a private contractor.
Elkins and Tobar reached out to retired road superintendent Yancey Maxwell to see if he would be interested in the part-time work.
According to the county administrator, as of Tuesday morning he did not have a final answer from Maxwell and he was not prepared this week to make a recommendation to the board.
Commissioner Charles Norton asked if the county had obtained a permit to construct the pond and Tobar indicated he had not.
“You’ll have to get one before we can do anything,” Norton said.
Commissioner Norton said he had also been approached by an individual who was interested in bidding on the construction of the Tenewitz pond. According to information provided to Commissioner Norton the average cost to construct a pond is approximately $3,000 per acre.
The board also discussed the possibility of Tired Creek Lake becoming a Bill Dance Signature Lake.
Commissioner Childs applauded County Attorney Kevin S. Cauley and the county’s other consultants for bringing the opportunity before the board.
Attorney Cauley said that involving Bill Dance and his firm with the development of the lake and its fishery would bring necessary resources to the project in addition to having a major marketing impact for the lake.
“The Lake Authority will be discussing it Thursday and will hopefully bring back a recommendation to you at your next meeting. We need someone to engineer the lake bed and to take the ideas offered by DNR (Georgia Department of Natural Resources) and put it into a plan we can spec out,” Cauley said.
Through his brief conversation with Bill Dance representatives Cauley said the firm offers different levels of service of which the county could take advantage.
Commissioner Norton said his preference would be to stick with the recommendations of the Georgia DNR.
Cauley explained that what the Bill Dance firm could offer would compliment the recommendations of the DNR. The county attorney said that DNR representatives he had spoken with had been clear that they could not produce bid documents and specifications for the fishery development.
Cauley also told commissioners that the Bill Dance representative had said that building retention ponds now for stocking with fish would accelerate fishing opportunities once the lake is constructed.
Acknowledging that this is not his expertise, Cauley said that he had been told the retention ponds could be built within the lake bed now and stocked prior to the retention ponds being flooded by the impoundment of water once the dam is completed. According to Cauley, the experts with Bill Dance said that this would allow the fish time to acclimate and spawn, which would mean the lake could be opened for fishing sooner.
Lastly, Commissioner Childs suggested the county consider hosting public tours of the lake construction on a first-come first-served reservation basis. Utilizing the county’s Extension Service van, Childs said eight to 10 people at a time could be driven out to the lake site and someone with Brad Cole Construction or Schnabel Engineering could explain what is taking place.
“We need all the support from the public we can get. This lake will be no better than what the people want it to be. I think tours could make a big difference in attitudes even for those who have a bad attitude about the project,” Childs said.
Commissioner Norton agreed there is interest and said he had been contacted about a group of high school students being interested in touring the construction site.
Vice Chairman T.D. David said his only reservation would be investigating if public tours would in some way “complicate” the county’s or contractors’ insurance liability.
Chairman Billy Poitevint said that everything would have to be coordinated with Brad Cole Construction officials. He said that he, himself, had taken various citizens on tours of the construction site.
The board did not take any action on Child’s recommendation Tuesday.