County officials expect development to take a year to be completed

Commissioner approves first steps for conference center hotel construction

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At Wednesday morning’s meeting, Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor approved an easement and maintenance agreement that would authorize the beginning of construction on a hotel right next to the Clarence Brown Conference Center off Highway 20. 

“We’ve been working for a couple of years to get a hotel next to the Clarence Brown Conference Center,” Bartow County Administrator Peter Olson said. “The [Cartersville-Bartow County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB)] tells us they lose out on some conventions because some people just want to have the hotel and the convention within walking distance of each other.”

The CVB announced last March that a 117-room hotel was going to be constructed on the eastern side of the conference center. Ellen Archer, executive director of the CVB, told The Daily Tribune News that the development would not eclipse four stories and may include a miniature conference space of its own, possibly in the 5,000-6,000 square foot range.

Taylor also signed off on an indemnification and encroachment agreement pertaining to the proposed hotel at Wednesday’s meeting.

“We sold the property to a development group that’s going to put up a Courtyard by Marriott,” Olson said. “It’s going to be in the parking lot, so there’s some Georgia Power access easements that we’ve got to deal with, and that’s what the encroachment agreement is, that it’s allowing Renaissance Hotel Group, which is the developer, to encroach under the power lines.”

Fencing was recently placed around a large portion of the conference center, allowing groundwork to begin on the hotel’s construction.

“We’ve got to move the road that connects to Roving Road a little bit, and the other agreement is relating to [having] joint access to the service drive that comes around to the back end of the conference center,” Olson said. “That’ll be the service drive that will service the back of the hotel, but it will also service the back of the conference center.”

Last year, Archer said she estimated the hotel to open sometime between the last quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020. Olson said he anticipates the project taking about a year to wrap up. 

“I think that construction’s supposed to get started pretty soon,” he said. “I think the road department’s going to be tearing out some of the parking lot within the next month or so, and they’re champing at the bit to get the hotel developed.”

Taylor also gave his approval to award a $401,000 contract to Womack, Lewis and Smith, Inc. at the meeting. 

“This is a SPLOST-funded project to install air conditioning into the three County gyms at Manning Mill, Hamilton and Allatoona,” Olson said. “That’ll be of great benefit for all the programs.”

Taylor said he knows firsthand how direly the air conditioning systems are needed. 

“I’ve been in those hot gyms in the summer,” he said. “It is really uncomfortable.”

He also approved an agenda item entering the County into a user license agreement with the Bartow County Board of Education for its 700 MHz public safety radio system. 

“That was the headline project for the 2014 SPLOST, and we had cut over successfully last week,” Olson said of the $14.2 million investment. “They were contracted to provide 95 percent coverage and reliability, and it actually tested to 99.9 percent.”

Under the agreement, county school resource officers would have access to public safety radio system equipment.

The Bartow County Board of Education, Olson continued, is just one of several non-municipal users for the system. The County is also putting together user-agreements with Cartersville Medical Center, MetroAtlanta Ambulance Service and the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

The new system, Olson said, is easily “10 times better” than the County’s previous one.

“I did talk to one of the sheriff’s deputies and he was really happy with the clarity of the mobiles that they have,” Taylor commented.

The commissioner also signed off on a pair of quitclaim deeds. The first involved “an unusable strip of right-of-way” along Highway 20.

“The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), they’re finishing up that State Route 20 project that went from I-75 over to Peeples Valley,” Olson said. “As part of that, they’re quitclaiming back into the County road system various bits and pieces that they acquired to tie the new project in, and one of the bits and pieces is the road that they built as part of the project that they called ‘the connector’ to Old Tennessee Road. That now is going to be under the Savoy Museum, because the Savoy folks have bought all the land around it, so that road serves no purpose.”

The other involved a detention pond near LakePoint Sporting Community.

“This is just sort of a minor detail of the road, the LakePoint Parkway. There’s some additional work that needs to be done on a detention pond that’s offsite of the project, but it is impacted by the project,” Olson said. “So for GDOT to spend money on it, it has to be in Bartow’s hands, so [LakePoint Land, LLC], they’re quitclaiming it to us, and that will just be for the duration of the project and then we will quitclaim it back."

Other items of note from Wednesday’s commissioner meeting include:

— The commissioner approved appointing Tony Suber to the County Board of Zoning Appeals.

— The commissioner approved a trio of alcohol license applications, including a special event license for next month’s Georgia Steeplechase.

— The commissioner approved the surplussing of two pieces of County property: a 2008 Ford F-150 from the water department and a 2000 Ford F-150 from the recreation department.

— The commissioner approved a $14,000 analysis and consulting services contract for the County water system. “We would like to engage this consultant to come and walk us through an exercise,” said Bartow County Community Development Director Lamont Kiser. “One of the items we are looking at going to is advanced metering integration. With our current system, we have over 22,000 meters in the system, so that will be a multi-year implementation. But the goal of this effort is basically to develop and implement systems to automate or greatly improve our common operation functions.”

 — The commissioner approved a $42,600, two-year preventative maintenance agreement with ProPump Solutions, Inc.

— The commissioner approved accepting Hankins Drive, Hadley Way and Sydney Way into the County road system. “That’s the new subdivision off Euharlee Road,” he said. “Our County engineers have inspected these, and they’re good to go.”