Blackburn Park Concept Committee PUBLIC MEETING

The Blackburn Park Concept Committee will meet on Tuesday May 18, 2010 at 7:00 PM in the main courtroom of the Courthouse that is to be distinguished from the new Justice Center.  All meetings of this committee must be public.

Committee members:

Elected officials:  TIM BOWDEN , JOHN RABER

Citizens:  GARY GARRETT, SUSAN BURRELL, and no one seems to know if Chad Williams is on the committee since he was never interviewed by the commissioners.  None of the citizen members attended the first BP Concept Committee Meeting that was held during the afternoon.

County employees:

County Manager, STAN KELLEY, Park & Rec, STEVE PROPER, GIS, MARC KOOPMAN, Planning and Roads Departments, LARRY REITER

These members were chosen and appointed by Chairman John Raber. He clearly controls the committee since four members are county employees who must cooperate if they want to continue their employment.

During a discussion of appointees at an earlier public meeting, Raber asked, “Would you provide names for me?”  He added, “and recognize that certain people would not be accepted.”  It seems that not one of the 1000+ who signed the petition was acceptable.

The $100,000.00 grant that had been available with a 20% match of volunteer labor is no more.  Lumpkin County officials didn’t move fast enough to take advantage of that really great deal.  They spent too much time discussing whether volunteers would really do what they signed up for.

The latest grant that was turned down in April would have required a 100% match with volunteer hours.  The $100,000 grant with that match was quickly nixed.  There was no consideration of requesting a $25,000 grant that would have the same volunteer match as that discussed last year.

$25,000 with matching volunteer labor could go a long way toward making Blackburn Park a great recreation area again.  But if you’re unwilling to rely on volunteers, everything must come to a grinding halt until you can shake more bucks from the pockets of taxpayers.

When volunteers find other sources of funds for materials needed to improve the park, will the commissioners accept?  Or, will they continue to procrastinate until volunteers give up and go elsewhere.

Treating volunteers badly has got to stop.  There are a lot of folks in Lumpkin County who can and do volunteer their time.  Like the county, we have run out of cash;  but we do care and are willing to contribute our time for a good purpose.

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