Dalton City Council approves design agreement for Mill Creek Riverwalk to Haig Mill Lake Park

File/Daily Citizen-News

The Dalton City Council on Monday approved a design agreement for a trail along Mill Creek that would link the Crown Mill Village area to Haig Mill Lake Park (pictured).

Someday, in the not-too-distant future, you might be able to spend the morning at Haig Mill Lake Park and then walk or ride your bicycle on a scenic trail along Mill Creek to the Crown Mill Village area to have lunch in downtown Dalton.

"I'm sure a lot of young people would like that," said Carla Foley, who was at the park Tuesday with her children.

The members of the Dalton City Council voted 4-0 Monday to approve a design services contract of up to $203,267 with American Consulting Professionals of Dalton for Phase 2 of the Mill Creek Riverwalk, which will extend the Eagle Walk at Mill Creek, a half-mile walking and biking trail that runs parallel to Mill Creek that was constructed as an Eagle Scout project six years ago, to the park. Mayor David Pennington typically votes only if there is a tie.

Funding for the contract will come from the 2015 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).

Public Works Department Director Andrew Parker noted the project is something city officials have been working on "for many years."

"This will go from the (Eagle Walk) trailhead along Mill Creek up to Haig Mill Lake Park," he told the council members. "It will go over a series of ditches and creeks, so there's a lot of environmental permitting involved. This design services agreement will cover all aspects of the design."

The trail will be approximately 1.7 miles.

"It will include several bridges and boardwalk systems since there is wetlands involved," Parker said.

City Council member Gary Crews said the trail will go underneath the north bypass.

"That's correct," said Parker. "We are anticipating working with GDOT (the Georgia Department of Transportation) to get an encroachment easement under the Haig Mill Creek bridge ... as well as the first bridge on North Thornton Avenue."

Parker said funding hasn't been allocated for the trail itself.

"The project has some complex design challenges because of the floodplain, wetlands and streams adjacent to Mill Creek and Haig Mill Creek," he said. "Part of American Consulting's scope of work for the city is to develop a final engineer's opinion of probable construction cost once design documents are sufficiently complete and costs associated with environmental permitting have been fully vetted. There has been a groundswell of community interest in the project, and the city's plan is to engage various stakeholders to provide input throughout the design phase."

Council members also held the first reading of an ordinance that would allow the use of personal transportation vehicles (PTVs) on streets in the Castlewood, Fairington and Oakdale neighborhoods, which has been requested by residents of those neighborhoods.

PTVs are essentially golf carts but by law must have a number of safety features — seat belts, headlights, turn signals, etc. — that aren't necessarily found on golf carts used on golf courses. They can only be driven on city streets by licensed drivers.

The council members also voted 4-0 to:

• Renew the school resource officer (SRO) agreement with Dalton Public Schools. The agreement calls for five SROs to be assigned to the school system, one of whom will be a sergeant. The school system will reimburse the city $322,223.29, 75% of the total $429,631.06 cost of the officers. When school is not in session, they will serve as regular patrol officers. The Board of Education is expected to vote on the agreement Monday.

• Approve a $38,267.94 contract with Shaw Integrated Solutions to replace the carpet at the Public Works Department administration building.

• Approve a $24,000 agreement with Evergreen Solutions of Tallahassee, Florida, to review city salaries and see how they compare to other local governments and to the private sector

Also during the meeting, Pennington read a proclamation declaring June to be Immigrant Heritage Month.

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