County’s River Park moving closer to upgrades

Community, News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Parks and Recreation Department is coming close to the final stage of erecting its new playground.

District 7 Representative and Speaker of the House David Ralston tours the new facilities during a day at the park celebrating the baseball season.

District 7 Representative and Speaker of the House David Ralston tours the new facilities during a day at the park celebrating the baseball season.

Though seeing a few delays with the rain and weather the county has seen lately, the park’s new equipment should be completed within the next two weeks according to Parks and Recreation Director Kevan White. Originally, discussion of the park in the commissioners meetings planned for completion by this weekend. Less than a month delay from weather will still have the new playground open before the height of summer.

The new equipment will be lit by LED lights and could see cameras used for security in the area. The cameras and lighting are being considered throughout the park, but no set date or action has been made on that expansion yet.

Furthering the progress, White tells FetchYourNews that this is not the end or even midway into the renovations he is hoping to see for the River Park. The department has already begun renovations on the large pavilion between the other newer playground and the current tennis courts. Setting a retaining wall and resolving the drainage issue was the major part, but the department is also fixing the columns inside the pavilion and replacing doors, stalls, and handrails in the bathrooms.

The Gilmer Board of Commissioners approved a bid this month for Johnson Paving, located in Blue Ridge, to repave the walking trail in the park for $31,932. White says the walking trail will not be affected by the playground and the project is free to move forward without delay. As soon as the paperwork goes through, citizens could see the trail improved by end of May.

This repaving will replace the current 3/4 mile track and add another quarter mile to create a full mile-long track. The trail has also already received new lighting from a Georgia Power project as well.

Additionally, White is waiting for an approval for the county’s application for an USGA grant. If the grant is approved, the county will move forward with not just replacing the current tennis courts, but building a new pair next to the civic center. With grant approval, this will replace the smallest ball field to the left of the civic center (from the road) next to Old Highway 5.

Parks and Recreation Director Kevan White shows the new upgrades to Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston.

Parks and Recreation Director Kevan White shows the new upgrades to Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston.

The new tennis courts will hold an additional use as well. White echoed a comment from Gilmer County Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlie Paris saying that he is hopeful for the grant and having a little left over. If the county has any money left over after these projects, then they will have one court host both a junior court and a use as a pickle ball court.

The old tennis courts would be removed and used for parking. White mentioned that he hoped for an option to add something more to the area at a later date. He mentioned an open-air stage as something he would hope for, but said it was too far off to give any real thought or ideas.

White went on to say that once the new playground is completed, they will look to remove the older equipment across the parking lot with the pavilion connected and could move to replacing the pavilion at the very end of the park near the spring. The intentions to replace these pavilions indicate the department’s movement away from the wood structures of the area for a more concrete foundation in hopes to better resist flooding and weather damage in the future.

Concrete options not only help fight flood damage but are designed for easier cleaning and maintenance as well.

These projects and options are all designed, White said, to be independent of each other, making the progress move as quickly as possible. He even noted that they are already looking to the other end of the park near Veteran’s Memorial Bridge but have no set plans yet.


Memorial Day at the Gilmer County Veterans Memorial Park in Ellijay


MEMORIAL DAY Monday MAY 30 2016 at the Gilmer County Veterans Memorial Park and bridge located on South Main Street in Ellijay.

10:00 AM
The Saxon Singers
Battle Cry Singers (Patriotic music-Lisa & Susan Taylor)

Memorial Day Program

11:00 AM
II. Scouts-CAP move to Podium
(Boy, Girl, Cub and other Scouts)

National Anthem – Lisa & Susan Taylor

Opening Prayer – Travis Crouch
Present the Flag – Dwight Broussard
Special Scouts Honor Guard

III. Welcome – Speech by George Winn

IV. Battle Cry Singers – ‘SONG’

V. Marty Teem – Colonel Martin Teem, WWII, DOT & Bridge He was very helpful to Sandy with the Bridge Project but never lived long enough to see it completed.

VI. J.C. Sanford, former County Commissioner is going to present “The Last Inspection.”

VII. Stanley McDonald – Veterans Memorial Web
Master – Introduce: Honored Guest; Shane Adams and our Keynote Speaker – Ben Arp

VIII. Special Recognitions and closing ceremony by: Greg Coffone and Tommy Lee – Part of the North Georgia Honor Guard
Recent Veterans Deaths
Purple Hearts
Rifle and Helmet

Branches of Armed Forces
Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard

21 Gun Salute
Retire Colors

IX. Closing Prayer – Evangelist Clark Taylor


Clear Creek Middle School Students Visit Veterans Bridge


Some of the Clear Creek Middle School’s honor students were treated to a unique field trip on Thursday, May 16th, as they made the short drive to the Veterans Memorial Bridge for a tour from Sandy Lyons. (more…)


Visiting the Veterans Memorial Bridge

Community, Featured Stories

Memorial Day is on Monday, May 27th, which means that the days are quickly winding down until we reach the day dedicated to all of the veterans that have fought to protect the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Ellijay is no stranger to acts and signs of patriotism, and one does not have to look any further than the Veterans Memorial Bridge, located adjacent to the Gilmer County baseball fields, to see how important those who serve and have served are to the people in the county.

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