A new wetland park is on the drawing board for Columbia County.
"Basically, it's going to be a mini Phinizy Swamp," said Columbia County Landscape Architect Leah Owens about the Reed Creek Project.
Reed Creek Park, on Park Lane off Furys Ferry across from West Lake, was an active recreational area with tennis and basketball courts. A construction project under Community and Leisure Services would turn the wetlands into a passive recreation area and outdoor classroom.
"Over the years, what they filled in sunk and started tearing up the courts," Owens said. "They took all the courts out and we got a grant from the (Georgia Department of Natural Resources) to turn it back into wetlands and create a boardwalk."
DNR put $75,000 toward the project and the county contributed about $125,000 of special-purpose local option sales tax funds to create the multi-functional wetlands park.
When all phases of park construction is complete, possibly in 2005, the park will feature a boardwalk, amphitheater, playground, picnic shelter, paved parking lot, observation deck and several instructional signs marking indigenous wetland plants and animals.
"We should have the construction documents done soon," Owens said. "We're at the end of that phase. They should be done and we should be ready to start taking bids by the end September."
Owens said the bid process will take about six weeks and construction should begin before the end of the year.
Phase one includes building a gravel parking lot, putting in utilities for the future picnic shelter and constructing part of the boardwalk.
The first phase of the project is expected to be completed next year, Owens said. The county then will seek a second round of state grants, match it with sales-tax funds and continue to phase two.
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