FORT VALLEY -- Peach County commissioners agreed Thursday to build a road in support of a proposed water park but only if the project goes forward.
The 2,800-foot loop road from Vietnam Veterans Memorial Parkway to the targeted site is roughly estimated to cost $382,000. However, a study by the Middle Georgia Regional Commission projected the county would recoup that money within five years from tax dollars the project would generate.
We are not building anything until we know the project is moving forward, Commissioner Roy Lewis said. When they are turning dirt, we are going to be turning road.
Atlanta small-businessman Jeff Franklin has proposed the water park, although he hasnt secured financing or submitted plans.
The property is in the Warner Robins city limits. On Monday, by a 4-2 vote, Warner Robins City Council approved extending sewer service to the area. Mayor Chuck Shaheen and two council members opposed it because of the uncertainty surrounding the project, but those in favor said sewer service is needed in the area anyway because it is prime for development.
Peach Commission Chairman Melvin Walker said if the project goes forward, the road will pay for itself with the property taxes and sales taxes that are expected to be generated as a result.
I think this is an investment in the future of our county, he said.
The Regional Commission study provided at the meeting states the figures were based on information provided by Franklin, who projected a $3.6 million total investment in land, facilities and equipment for the park.
Local businessman Steve Rigby has also said he is planning a water park in connection with Rigbys Entertainment Complex on Ga. 96. Both men have projected opening water parks in 2014 if all goes according to plan.
Also at the meeting, the board by a 3-2 vote rejected a motion to require residents along a new sewer project to tie into the system. The connection would cost each resident $1,500 to $3,500, Walker said. He voted along with commissioners Betty Hill and Walter Smith to reject the motion.
Commissioners Martin Moseley and Roy Lewis voted to require a connection, saying it was needed to make the project viable.
The $2.7 million project is important, officials say, because due to the geography of the area, many residents have septic tanks that function poorly.
Walker said the need is great enough that he believes there will be at least 80 percent participation, which he said is enough. About half of those in the first phase will definitely be hooking on, he said, because their hookup is being paid through a state grant for low-income residents.
He said work on the first phase, which includes 221 homes, is expected to begin within three months and should be finished by the end of next year.
Walker lives in the first phase and said he will definitely be hooking up.
I cant wait, he said. My wife has been frustrated for years. Im going to hook up at the first opportunity.
The project area is in the southwest portion of the county.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725,