Columbia County commissioners learned Tuesday it will cost more than $8,700 to preserve the site of about 30 graves discovered recently during the development of Blanchard Woods Park.
Members of the county's Public Works Committee favorably forwarded the request for funding for additional design and engineering services at the Tuesday meeting.
"This quote covers historical marker design, landscape architecture and civil engineering services required for site improvements associated with an unmarked cemetery located within the park," said Scott Herring, the county's Construction and Maintenance Services Division director.
About 30 graves were found several weeks ago in a wooded area of the 150-acre park under construction off Blanchard Road. The graves were determined to likely be the remains of former members of Mount Enon Baptist Church.
The county planned to locate a practice area for the park in that area. Since finding the graves, the county has decided to keep them where they are and instead make field adjustments.
Herring said the plan is to improve the site with landscaping and a historical marker.
Blanchard Woods Park was designed to include four lighted soccer fields, two nonlighted soccer fields and a lighted walking track.
The only amendment to the park with the discovery of the graves will be removing one of two practice fields. A first phase of the park is to be complete by September.
"We hope to be playing out there then," Herring said.
County officials also tentatively approved pay increases for 10 county positions after hearing results of an annual salary at Tuesday's Management and Financial Services Committee meeting.
A consultant firm performed the study to see if Columbia County's salary for 22 positions is comparable to similar positions in other benchmark counties.
Bonnie Cox, a partner with the firm Cherry, Bekaert and Holland, which performed the study, said the results recommend pay increases for 10 positions and pay decreases for five, no change for five jobs and no recommendation for two because the survey did not provide enough information to make a recommendation.
Todd Glover, the county's director of Management and Financial Services, said if it is approved by commissioners at Tuesday's full board meeting, one-pay-grade increase for the recommended positions will go into effect in February. The total effect of the pay increases will be $8,855.
"That is well within the budgeted numbers that we have," Glover said.
Glover said even if more than one pay-grade increase is recommended for a position, the salary will be raised one pay grade at a time.
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