Parks and recreation in the northern end of Cherokee County got a boost at the July 20 Board of Commissioners meeting. In two separate votes, the Board approved a construction agreement for the LB Ahrens Recreation Center at Cherokee Veterans Park and an agreement with TSW for the Northeast Cherokee Parks Master Plans.
“I am thrilled to be able to deliver on something I and the Board of Commissioners have seen as a priority in providing more parks and recreation services to the residents of northeast Cherokee County,” said District 1 Commissioner Steve West, who represents the area.
The Board approved, 5-0, awarding the construction contract of the LB Ahrens Recreation Center to Reeves Young LLC in the amount of $10.4 million and an additional $1.58 million in a county-controlled contingency using Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds and impact fees.
The first phase of the recreation center, known in short as “The Buzz” in honor of former Commission Chairman LB “Buzz” Ahrens, includes a double gym, open fitness area, climbing wall, two classrooms, aerobics/dance studio, a large meeting hall with catering kitchen and an office suite along with accompanying restrooms, mechanical, electrical and storage areas. The construction services contract also includes a secondary parking lot, pedestrian crossing to the park playground and infrastructure for EV charging stations.
The Board also approved an agreement with TSW for the creation of the Northeast Cherokee Parks Master Plans, which includes master plans three different parcels. Planning will be for the 102-acre
parcel in Free Home for the future E.W. and Edith Cochran Park, the 532-acre parcel on Yellow Creek Road along the Etowah River and the 23-acre parcel on Ball Ground Road at the Etowah River.
TSW created the SW Cherokee Parks & Trails Plan earlier this year. The plan creation included public engagement with the residents and businesses in the area. The plans for the northeast portion of the county are expected to follow similar processes to engage the community in the future planning of parks in the area.
“This master plan agreement puts a strong focus on residents’ needs in the way of parks and recreation. The process will allow the residents to share what they want and need, giving the county direction on future plans for parks,” West said.