New Park and Recycling Discussion Highlighted at Recent City Council Meetings

The Mayor and City Council of LaGrange returned to their meeting chambers this past Tuesday, February 27th for a work session followed by a council meeting that night. The city has been very active lately, from a very strong anti-littering campaign to updates on several major projects. At the work session that morning, the group focused in on a discussion two years in the making and one that directly correlates the issue of litter across the community. The city, two years after installation, discussed the challenges and hopefully solutions to some issues with their curbside recycling. In addition, the group discussed an exciting new park that is set to open in the newly re-designed Bull Street area this coming summer.

The City discussed a major change coming to the downtown area at their work session that morning. The Callaway Foundation has announced plans to invest over one million dollars in the large grass field behind the new Wild Leap Brew Company, creating a new park with several amenities. The park will be separated into four pods, one with an open field, one with playground equipment, a pavilion on the third, and a highly anticipated dog park in the last section.

Speer Burdette, President of the Callaway Foundation, commented on the project, stating that this was something that the foundation has had its eye on for some time and that it would also help with the new Bull Street re-alignment. He went on to state that this was the perfect opportunity for a scenic, public park and that they are looking forward to the process, with hopeful completion of the project by late June or early July. The plan is for the foundation to lease the property to the city of LaGrange who will handle the management of the area.

There is no doubt that many communities have issues with trash and recycling. Here locally, there is a lack of manpower at the recycling center after the loss of inmates, a lack of the necessary machinery, and an issue with over 30% of the recycling being contaminated, with things such as wire hangers and plastic bags being thrown in with the recyclables. These are issues that every community deals with on some level or another and city officials knew this two years ago when they embarked on this venture, not to make money but to better the quality of life for citizens.

The Council discussed various options that morning that could solve some of the issues that they are having. The staff has already begun making various cosmetic and functionality upgrades to the recycling center and has now negotiated a contract with Pratt Industries to handle and haul all of their curbside materials. They are also discussing the launch of an educational campaign to reduce garbage or contamination in their recycling bins throughout the use of social media and other avenues. The group will be discussing the landfill and other related topics during their upcoming retreat in the next few weeks.

At the meeting that night, the group was joined by hopeful candidate for the Georgia House of Representatives, Chris Gyening. Though young, Gyening has already accomplished much, such as graduating from Columbus State University in 2016 with his degree in military and global issues. He is also a member of the Georgia National Guard and has many more achievements to his name already. Gyening is running for the Georgia House in District 133, which covers some of Troup County as well as Harris and Muscogee counties. Gyening is running for the seat that is being vacated by John Pezold. He spoke briefly to the mayor and council about his background and what he hopes he can bring to the table in the house of representatives should he be elected.

The city had a few more items on their agenda for that evening. Firstly, they authorized the City Manager and the Director of Public Utilities to execute an amendment to the intergovernmental participant contract with electric cities of Georgia. This is a simple fix in the way that some of the billing is processed, saving the city around 5% annually. The city also reappointed LeGree McCamey, Edward Smith, Janice Burks Davidson, Al Brannon, and Bill Stump to the Downtown LaGrange Development Authority.

The author of this article can be reached via email at jandrews@ troupcoutnynews. net.