Originally created 07/23/01

Local greenspace gets funding boost



Columbia County officials soon will see more green in the field and on the balance sheet.

The county learned this week it will receive additional funding for an upcoming project aimed at preserving its greenspace.

The extra money - about $1,700 - will be awarded to Columbia County because of the recent withdrawal of another county from the Georgia Greenspace Act, said Frank Neal, Columbia County's Community and Leisure Services director.

"It's not a large amount, but every little bit counts," Mr. Neal told members of the Columbia County Clean and Beautiful Advisory Committee at their latest monthly meeting.

The amount now available for Columbia County to preserve its greenspace is $518,537. The plan making the funding possible is a first for the state and was developed last year by Gov. Roy Barnes.

It seeks to distribute $30 million to 40 of the fastest-growing counties in Georgia in an effort to save the quality of natural water sources, wetlands, and scenic and historic locations and to provide for passive recreation spots.

A Columbia County greenspace subcommittee - which will be responsible for suggesting areas in the county that should be preserved - has been assembled. On the subcommittee are Harry Revell, of Augusta; Randolph Frails, an Augusta lawyer; Chuck Niemeyer, of Evans; Sam Booher, of Martinez; Dr. Gwen Wood, of Martinez; Rosa Lee Owens, of Grovetown; the Rev. Rudolph Dixon, of Harlem; George James, of Grovetown; Paula Dukes, of Evans; and J. Davis Trotter, of Martinez.

The subcommittee's first meeting will be at 6 p.m. today in the Cherry Room of the Savannah Rapids Pavilion. Mr. Neal said the meeting will be an orientation for committee members and the public on what the greenspace act will allow.

So far, the subcommittee has met with officials representing some of the county's natural resources, such as Heggie's Rock.

"And they've already got a lot of contacts with some of the county's large landowners, who are willing to work with them," Mr. Neal said.

Mr. Neal did, however, caution Clean and Beautiful members that the progress might be slow in the beginning.

"It's something that's really never been attempted," he said. "So it will be a slow process, but an exciting one. It's going in the right direction."

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 110, or prestonsparks@newstimesonline.com.