State Renews Commitment to Resaca Battlefield Park

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Note: This article recently appeared in The Calhoun Times.

April 27, 2010 - It seems plans for the Resaca Battlefield Park are back on.

The state has agreed to use $3.3 million to fund construction of roads, trails, parking lots and interpretive signage in what Gordon County Historic Preservation Commission Chairman Ken Padgett calls “phase one” of the project.

During a meeting Wednesday of last week, state officials agreed to put the money left over after phase one aside and “encumber” it to the county to use for a museum if local officials can come up with the extra funds needed, Gordon County Commission Chairman Alvin Long said.

Padgett said he hopes there will be at least $1 million left over for this from the state funds.

The encumbered money will be available for two years, during which time Long said the county will attempt to obtain another $1 million in financing through private donors and state and federal grants to put toward the museum.

He strictly specified that this money will not come from the county’s general budget.

“That is not my intention; never was my intention,” he stated. “We’re not going to jeopardize our county funds (or) our employees to do this.”

If the county is unable to match the state funds after two years, the encumbered funds will be absorbed back into the state’s budget, Long said.

Department of Natural Resources officials, Padgett said, wish to design a “more efficient” building than the originally planned museum, which he described as “ultra modern” and “not conducive” to the park’s overall design.

The county will arrange “a small interagency agreement” to maintain the fields and restrooms, he said.

Overall, Padgett said he is happy with the state’s agreement at this time. “We’re ahead of the game,” he said. “I was very pleased.”

The meeting, which Long called “very successful,” included Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Chris Clark, along with State Sen. Don Thomas and Rep. John Meadows.

Earlier this year, the state announced it had only $3.3 million to put toward the Battlefield park, out of some $5 million originally dedicated to the project.

The state considered turning over the $3.3 million to the county after local officials said they though they could manage the project more cost effectively.

They feared they would lose the funds otherwise. However, the permits needed were “not transferable to the county,” Long explained, and the $1.7 million shortfall was too much for the county to fund.

The state took back control of the project in March.

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