Gilmer denies park lease


ELLIJAY, Ga. – With fall sports in full swing, the county’s River Park is increasing activity this season and one business has turned to county property at the park while looking for a lease. A lease that the county firmly denied in its September Meeting.

However, the denial came with clarification in the meeting for the county. Concerns focused on for profit business leasing county property for it, a similar situation as to the county’s rivers as tubing companies use the Mulkey Road takeout. This situation was brought up in the meeting as discussion on businesses using county property was the main focus.

The business, this time, focuses on practicing, training, and lessons for baseball and for students in travel teams. While this doesn’t seem a major deal now, Parks and Recreation Director Kevan White said that the issue could come in main baseball season as many teams will be wanting to use any available fields. White called it “opening Pandora’s box” as he said major issues could come from a lease and conflicting schedules.

On top of scheduling, the county debated what to do about a for-profit business utilizing county facilities. With comparisons to private lessons in other sports and rentals of other facilities, the county ultimately set aside the concept as the board said renting would be the same for any renters regardless of usage, so long as they didn’t damage facilities. White also noted that other counties rent fields to travel teams.

Chairman Charlie Paris noted though that renting fields is different than leasing as leasing the facilities removes much of the control from the county.

Ultimately, the board agreed with this and opted to officially voted to deny the lease, but also strongly encouraged anyone wishing to use the fields in this manner to pursue rental and the county would follow through that way. In efforts to maintain county management for the time and fields usage, they said that White could even go into regularly scheduled rentals as he sees fit.

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