State cuts Jarrell Plantation’s schedule to three days a week

Beginning in July, the Jarrell Plantation historic site in western Jones County will be open just three days a week as part of a statewide cost-cutting measure.

The site, currently open Tuesdays through Sundays, will go to a Thursday-through-Saturday schedule, said Sally Winchester, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

“That will still give a couple of days during the week for school groups to come in and the high-visitation day on the weekend,” Winchester said.

DNR officials were notifying workers at affected sites and state parks of layoffs Wednesday. The department is cutting its work force by 12 percent as it tries to offset “a nearly 39 percent reduction in state appropriations and 24 percent projected loss of revenue,” a news release said. The plan also calls for some furloughs.

The schedule change at Jarrell Plantation begins July 1.

The cutbacks will affect five of Georgia’s 48 state parks and a dozen of its 15 designated historic sites.

The DNR also is cutting back its staffing at Sprewell Bluff State Park, west of Thomaston. Beginning in July, the park will have reduced services, no on-site manager and no emergency services, according to the release.

“That (site) will be reassigned to the Wildlife Resources Division for law enforcement support,” Winchester said.

Overall, the DNR plan calls for increasing fees for accommodations, recreational activities, interpretive programs and parking, the release stated.

The department also is looking at alternative operations of its lodges and golf courses across the state and plans to limit swimming pool operations across the state.

“These decisions were heart-wrenching but were made using a business case analysis,” DNR Commissioner Chris Clark stated in the release.

“We are exploring every avenue to manage budget reductions and revenue shortfalls, to properly care for our state parks and historic sites, and to minimize the impact on Georgia citizens and communities.”

To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.