The county now has more green for its green.
The added money was awarded recently by the Georgia Greenspace Commission, which approved $456,251 for the preservation of green space in Columbia County.
"That's going to put us close to $1 million just from the state funds alone," said Frank Neal, the county's director of community and leisure services. "We're excited, and we're moving the program ahead."
It's the second year in a row that Columbia County has received funds from the program - started two years ago by Gov. Roy Barnes to preserve the state's natural resources in rapidly growing counties.
This time, the amount approved for Columbia County was a little less, but Neal said that was because more counties applied. It also was the second year Columbia County's plan for preservation became one of the first to be approved by the state.
"So that's another plus," said Neal, adding that the county had to submit a progress report update and show what had been accomplished before the state would approve.
So far, a 10-member green space committee has been formed and five target areas in need of help have been determined. They include the Savannah River Conservation Area and Greenway, floodplain greenways, Martinez-Evans open space, northwest conservation area and historic/natural resources.
The county's green space committee will vote on evaluation criteria for acquiring land at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion. Sometime in mid-February, a meeting will be held for those interested in having their property purchased through the program.
"All the planning has been going on, and now we're about to start taking some action," Neal said. "Everybody's getting excited."
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