Cobb County Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs staff continues to plan for projects to be funded over the next several years under the 2011 Special Local Option Sales Tax approved by Cobb voters in March. Our project list includes work in 51 different parks and facilities all over the county. Receipts are estimated to be about $82 million for the projects. This work will result in needed upgrades and renovations to buildings, athletic fields, and facility infrastructure.
The general park maintenance staff provided personnel and equipment to clear roadways and parking lots for three ice storm and snow events, helping keep the public safe on the roadways. Parks staff also provided mowing crews to assist the Cobb Department of Transportation in mowing county rights of way.
In October 2011, the department completed four miles of mountain bike/pedestrian trail at the Corps property located on Old Stilesboro Road in Acworth. With the help of volunteers from the local Southern Off Road Bicycle Association, the mountain bike/pedestrian trail was completed with technical features designed to give biking enthusiasts a challenging ride. The entire trail, which is located south of the parking lot on Old Stilesboro Road, was completed with county staff and volunteers to keep costs to a minimum.
The Amateur Softball Association GOLD Southern Territory 18 and Under Championships were held in June at Lost Mountain Softball Complex. The competition brought 50 of the best softball teams in the southern territory to Cobb County in order to compete for a berth in the ASA National Championships.
The first Global Sports Association World Series was held in July at Lost Mountain Softball Complex. This new championship consisted of 44 teams competing in five age classifications with the West Cobb Girls Softball Association capturing the championship in the 14 and Under Division.
The Cobb Youth Football League was established in 2011 to provide a new opportunity for children to compete while wearing their high school replica uniforms. This first season had 47 teams representing six high schools.
A new tennis league was formed by the Cobb Tennis Department for county elementary school children. More than 20 schools participated in this new league during the fall utilizing all six Cobb tennis centers.
Cobb hosted the Girls and Boys National Open 16’s at Harrison Tennis Center in May. This event brought some of the best players and their supporters in from all around the country for this three-day event.
Cobb County Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs department’s cooperation and coordination with “Friends” groups continued to increase in 2011. These volunteer organizations provide valuable support to county efforts by raising funds towards the development and ongoing operations at several passive park areas around the county:
In 2011, Friends for the East Cobb Park and their private donors funded the installation of 10 new light poles and fixtures, completing the lighting of the main walking path around the park. The group also supplied materials and planning for a new pavilion overlooking the park from a vantage point near the main parking lot. The PRCA Construction Unit built the structure. Combined, these two projects represent a value of more than $60,000, provided to the park by this volunteer organization.
The Friends of Mabry Park is a newly-formed volunteer organization dedicated to raising funds for the future development of Mabry Park, near the intersection of Wesley Chapel Road and Sandy Plains Road in northeast Cobb. This 26.5 acre property was purchased using funding authorized under the 2006 Parks Bond Program. In 2011, the Friends funded the creation of a master plan for the future park. Cobb County Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs staff guided the development of the master plan which involved a great deal of public input. Together, the group and Cobb Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs hosted two separate and very well attended “park preview days” at the property.
The Friends of Price Park is similarly involved in raising funds for the future development of Leone Hall Price Park on Stilesboro Road in west Cobb, also purchased under the 2006 Parks Bond. However, Price Park has a small parking lot and trail system, and is currently available for hiking and wildlife observation. Cobb County Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs and the private group hosted two events at the park in 2011, a park preview day and a cleanup day.
The Friends of McDonald Park have funded the creation of a master plan for this 7.5 acre property across from City Hall in downtown Kennesaw. The planning process is currently underway and the group’s fundraising efforts will continue upon the plan’s completion.
For the third year in a row Cobb aquatic staff won the Georgia Recreation and Park Association Lifeguard Competition at Lake Oconee. In 2009 and 2010, Cobb won the competition, but this year was special. Each year Cobb County brings two teams to the competition and though they have had one team do well the past two years, 2011 brought a result no one could have envisioned - both Cobb teams finished tied as co-champions of the 2011 GRPA Lifeguard Competition.
Indoor Maintenance along with Parks Equipment Shop annually completes an average of 100 set-ups for events throughout Cobb. The staff works closely with all county departments and city agencies to coordinate events and festivals. The following are examples of such events completed in Fiscal Year 2011: Candy Cane Hunt, Make-A-Wish 5K Run, Soap Box Derby, Powder Springs Tree Lighting, East Cobb Tree Lighting and several ground breakings and ribbon cuttings.
In November, through a partnership with the National Park Service, an inventory at Hyde Farm was completed. Every artifact onsite was inventoried, cataloged and removed for storage to be displayed when the park opens to the public. The funding for the project was provided by NPS and the program took approximately four weeks.
Staff provided project management for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment replacement of the Civic Center and The Art Place Mountain View and for lighting and electrical replacement at administration offices and all recreation centers.
The department entered into a partnership with the University of Georgia College of Environment and Design. This allows the sharing of resources to explore management techniques and opportunities for Hyde Farm. The UGA College of Environment and Design created a cultural landscape lab to study Hyde Farm. This will be an ongoing relationship that will save the county money in long range planning.
The Cobb County Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Construction Unit completed the exterior painting of two county-owned historic structures during the summer. The historic Mable House in Mableton and the Bullard House on Dallas Highway in west Cobb both benefited from carpentry repairs and a fresh coat of paint. The unit consulted with the county’s Historic Preservation staff to ensure that all historic guidelines were followed in the course of this work.