County gives ok to begin clearing for boat ramps

Work by Grady County Road Department crews will get underway soon to clear off the proposed sites for boat ramps and parking areas on Cedar Springs Road at Tired Creek Lake, following action taken by the Grady County Commission during a joint meeting with the Grady County Lake Authority Monday morning.
Commission Chairman LaFaye Copeland and Commissioners Charles Norton and Elwyn Childs met with Lake Authority Vice Chairman Lee Gainous and authority members Edgar Smith and Randolph Wind this week to discuss the lake project. Commissioner T.D. David participated in the meeting via conference call. Others in attendance were Lake Authority Executive Director Mike Binion, Grady County Administrator Carlos Tobar, Road Superintendent Stanley Elkins and County Clerk Carrie Kines.
Road Superintendent Elkins reported that his crews have the time now to clear the land for the boat ramps, rather than waiting until later when his crews may not have the time. “We are just trying to stay busy and ahead of the game so it doesn’t come down on us all at once,” Elkins said.
Lake Authority Vice Chairman Gainous also recommended the county authorize the solicitation of bids for the construction of the Cedar Springs boat ramps.
“I’d like to see the county put the project out for bids so we can get some exact costs. We know what Wood and Partners projects it will cost, but sitting here and not knowing is scary to me,” Gainous said.
“I don’t have a problem bidding it out as long as everyone is aware we may not be ready to award a bid anytime soon,” Lake Authority member Edgar Smith said. Both the lake authority and the county commission have adopted a wait-and-see approach to lake amenities until the exact cost of meeting all mitigation requirements is determined.
Commissioner Charles Norton, who also is a member of the lake authority, agreed and said, “Until we know the full cost of mitigation, the $6.2 million we have left may not be enough to build even one boat ramp.”  
Officials are hopeful the exact costs associated with meeting the mitigation requirements of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be known within 45 days.
The commissioners voted unanimously to authorize the clearing work to be done and to solicit bids for the Cedar Springs boat ramps.
County Attorney Kevin S. Cauley also presented the group with an update on the lake project. With regard to monitoring of flow once the lake is filled, issues have been raised by the Corps with the county’s plan. Based on the recommendation of Cauley and attorney Laura Benz, the commissioners voted Monday to contract with Schnabel Engineering to develop a plan for downstream releases rather than using resources from the University of Georgia. The estimated total cost is $19,500. Both Cauley and Benz say they believe the Corps would more quickly approve work done by Schnabel as opposed to plans developed by UGA personnel.
“We are just trying to keep the project moving forward with the regulators,” Cauley said.
“I wish we had gone with Schnabel five years ago and we probably would have saved some money. I’m tired of feeling like we are re-licking the cow on some of this stuff,” Commissioner Norton said.

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