Columbia County officials will hold a public meeting Thursday to inform residents about the future plans for the Reed Creek Wetlands Interpretive Park.
Elmer Stewart and Lara Wilson walk one of the trails at Reed Creek Wetlands Interpretive Park in Martinez. The county plans to build an interpretive center at the park.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"We want to gain input from the community so they feel like they are part of the planning process," said Barry Smith, Columbia County's Community and Leisure Services director.
The meeting will start at 7 p.m. at the Evans Government Center Auditorium off Ronald Reagan Drive.
Officials will inform the public about the completed first phase of the 15.4-acre educational park's construction on Park West Drive off Furys Ferry Road in Martinez. The first phase included 300 feet of boardwalk through wetland trees and vegetation, concrete sidewalks, interpretive signs and a parking lot.
Phase I was funded by a $75,000 Department of Natural Resources grant and $435,000 of the 1-cent sales tax from 2001-05.
Phase II, slated to begin this summer, will include an educational and environmentally friendly building with indoor and outdoor classrooms, visitor information and display areas, office and storage spaces and restrooms, Smith said.
Stephanie Thomas-Rees, the special-projects coordinator for the division, said the building will meet Leadership and Environmental Design accreditation standards and will teach students how to conserve water and energy.
"The building would be a learning tool with its environmentally sensitive strategies," Thomas-Rees said.
Phase II funding includes an additional $100,000 DNR grant and matching funds from the county's penny sales tax.
Smith said his division also is looking for volunteer stewards and docents for the park, who can help keep the park safe and clean and lead educational programs, including tours of the wetlands.
"This is an awareness meeting, to inform them of this nice educational project that we are doing and to attract volunteers or interested possible park stewards to get the educational programming going," Smith said.
Smith says he hopes people such as retired teachers and scientists will lead many of the educational endeavors at the park. The park building also will provide a headquarters and laboratory for the head of the county's Adopt-a-Stream program.
Plans for 32 acres of donated land along the Reed Creek basin include a bridge over the creek leading to a greenway along The Pass subdivision to Blue Ridge Elementary School, Smith said.
For more information, call the Community and Leisure Services Division at 868-3484 or visit www.columbiacountyga.gov for links to Reed Creek Park.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.