Politics & Government

Macon-Bibb commissioners approve changes to water park

Macon-Bibb County commissioners voted 8-0 Tuesday night to amend its agreement with the builders of the new water park at Lake Tobesofkee.

Jeff Franklin, president of Spirit of America, which is building the park, asked commissioners for several changes to the agreement, including delaying several aspects of the park. Commissioners amended some of those requests last week before ratifying the resolution during the regular commission meeting.

Commissioners approved eight majors changes to the plan:

Delaying construction of the main entrance to theme park for a year;

Allowing the use of privacy fences around pump equipment and delaying construction of a permanent block structure around the pumps for two years;

Allowing the use of temporary shade structures for two years until permanent shade pavilions are built;

Removing the requirement to build a 30-foot slide due to its replacement with a different slide, in addition to two other slides being built for the park;

Delaying construction of the third slide and wave pool for two years;

Allowing the use of temporary bathrooms/showers for two years until permanent facilities are built;

Delaying construction of a dome structure for a lap pool for five years;

Removing the requirement for a volleyball court due to safety concerns.

Spirit of America also wanted Macon-Bibb commissioners to give additional funding to the project, but officials removed that part of the resolution before it came up for a vote. Macon-Bibb is spending up to $248,000 that had been earmarked from bond money for improvements at Tobesofkee.

The park was supposed to be open for Memorial Day weekend, but builders were unable to meet that deadline. The company subsequently gave refunds to people who bought season passes who requested their money back. The park is expected to be open by the end of the month.

Franklin told commissioners last week that his desire to complete the park in six months was overly ambitious.

Commissioner Larry Schlesinger said it is frustrating to not have the park open on time, but he wants it to be a first-class facility.

“It’s disappointing that it didn’t open after it was initially supposed to,” he said. “But if it’s going to be successful, it’s got to be a first-class facility. Anything less would not serve the citizens of Macon-Bibb County and Middle Georgia.”

In other commission business Tuesday, commissioners voted 8-0 to adopt a solid waste management plan for the county that will cover the next decade.

The plan is necessary to comply with state law that requires every county to come up with its own plan.

The plan includes goals and strategies for waste reduction, recycling, collection, disposal, public education and outreach, and planning and reporting.

Commissioners also voted 8-0 on several other items:

An ordinance allowing Jointly Owned Natural Gas -- a partnership of the cities of Byron, Cochran, Hawkinsville, Perry and Warner Robins -- to operate within Macon-Bibb. Macon-Bibb would collect a franchise fee from the cooperative.

Two resolutions for contracts with the state Department of Corrections to use prison work crews for $118,500 and $355,500.

A resolution to execute an agreement with the state Department of Transportation to perform repair and maintenance work at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport for $94,769.

A resolution authorizing Bragg Jam to hold its annual festival July 25.

And a resolution authorizing Prince Service & Mfg. Inc. to perform repairs and modifications to Fenley Ryther Dam at Lake Tobesofkee for $196,032.

Commissioner Elaine Lucas was absent Tuesday. Mayor Pro Tem Bert Bivins conducted Tuesday’s meeting since Mayor Robert Reichert was out of town.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.