Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor approved an agreement with a Shaw Industries Group, Inc. subsidiary to install what he described as "miracle field" turf at Hamilton Crossing Park at a public meeting held Wednesday morning.
The artificial turf field is designed to accommodate children with disabilities and reduce the risk of injuries during sports activities.
“We’ve worked on this project for quite a while and we’ve realized that we, as a community, should support these children with special needs,” Taylor said. “This is going to be great for this community … we’re proud to finally get this kicked off.”
Representatives of Shaw Sports Turf said the planned field would be virtually identical to the adaptive field at Burnt Hickory Park in Dallas, albeit with slightly different outfield specs. The proposed field in Bartow County would make use of TruHop turf, an artificial surface comprised of sand and rubber infill — the same material used for fields at LakePoint Sporting Community.
“Everyone can play on it,” said Jim Watts, a Shaw Sports Turf representative on hand for Wednesday’s commissioner’s meeting. “It’s not the one we build over in the corner that nobody wants to play on.”
Bartow County Parks and Recreation Director Greg Hight said such an amenity has been sorely needed in the local community.
“This is part of our overall revamp of the parks at Hamilton Crossing, this is something we’ve been after for a long time,” he said, “having an opportunity for kids with special needs to have a place to play, to call their own, and we finally put that in place.”
Hight said the department has been reaching out to organizations within and outside the county for potential partnerships regarding more special needs parks and rec amenities and accommodations.
“As a park, we’re going to get more active with them and help them set up programs,” he said. “We’re going to take this from baseball to football to maybe soccer, and doing basketball with them. They’re real excited about it and they have every right to be, because they have a right to enjoy the things that everybody else does.”
The construction contract for the field itself is with Kennesaw-based Advanced Sports Group, LLC, which is the same company partnering with Shaw Sports Turf for the installation of a new synthetic surface field at Adairsville High School's Tiger Stadium.
Advanced Sports Group, LLC, was also awarded bids to construct synthetic turf fields at Cass High and Woodland High in March, with the Bartow County Board of Education approving about $3.1 million combined for the three renovation projects.
The contract amount for the "miracle field" at Hamilton Crossing Park is $572,248.68, which is expected to be funded via SPLOST proceeds.
Construction on the project has already started. Weather permitting, Bartow County Clerk Kathy Gill said the project is anticipated to be completed in 7-8 weeks.
At Wednesday’s meeting Taylor also approved the acquisition of property for a proposed roundabout project along Cass-White Road.
“This is a project that we’re mostly doing for Cass High School,” he said. “It’s part of Phase I of the Cass-White [project], and we needed some additional right of way, so this will enable us to get that right of way and get this project finally kicked off. It’s been a long time coming, but work is underway.”
The proposed roundabout, he said, was not included in the original Phase I construction plans.
“We did add that roundabout for school safety,” he said. “That’s why [Phase I] started on the 411 side instead of I-75, because we’re trying to get those school buses and kids off the railroad tracks, and this will just enhance safety even more so.”
Taylor also signed off on a compressed “Jake” brake ordinance, which would bar truck drivers from using compression release engine brakes — notorious for producing a shrill sound sometimes mistaken for gunfire — throughout the county.
“This is something we have occasional complaints from citizens,” Taylor said. “I know the City gets a lot of complaints, so it’s just something we need to do, and it’s going to make our community quieter, especially in these populated areas.”
Taylor concluded the meeting by approving a rezoning request for a proposed 27-acre development off Highway 20 from Brownstone Development Group, LLC, a developer with visions of a mixed-use complex between the Walmart Supercenter and Clarence Brown Conference Center that would include a hotel, senior and/or student living amenities and as many as 275 “upmarket” apartment units.
The Bartow County Planning Commission unanimously recommended approving the request to rezone the property from A1 agricultural to Planned Use Development (PUD) at a meeting held Monday evening.
“I’ve already looked at this and I like this,” Taylor said of the site plans. “It’s what we’re looking for — the multifamily part of this project’s going to be really high-end and I think it’s something the community could really use right now. I wish they were already built.”
Other items of interest from Wednesday’s commissioner’s meeting include:
— Taylor approved the acceptance of a deed of dedication to increase County right of way along Powell Road and Hayes Cemetery Road.
— Taylor approved a user agreement with Cartersville Medical Center to access the County’s public safety radio system.
— Taylor approved a food service agreement with Kimble’s Foods to provide meals at the Bartow County Jail.
— Taylor approved the surplussing of seven County vehicles — six from the Bartow County Sheriff's Office and one from the Bartow County Emergency Management Agency — to be sold on GovDeals.com.