Fleisch: Lake back to normal by June, traffic fixes underway, west side housing ‘taking off’
From the viewpoint of Peachtree City Mayor Vanessa Fleisch (photo above), 2017 turned out to be a productive year, with 2018 looking to be just as productive.
Fleisch said perhaps the biggest accomplishment of 2017 dealt with Lake Peachtree and the dam and spillway project. The project began full-throttle in 2017 after much discussion and planning.
“Before, it was hypothetical to many people, but now people can see it. We were moving forward in 2017. Now we can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Fleisch said.
The multi-million dollar project is expected to be completed in June. Both Lake Peachtree and Lake Kedron will be allowed to refill to normal water levels by June.
The City Council on Aug. 17 approved the $4.387 million low bid by North Georgia Concrete, Inc. for the Lake Peachtree spillway project.
Fayette County will contribute $2 million and SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) revenues will make up the remaining amount. Those revenues will repay an anticipated Ga. Environmental Finance Authority loan that comes with a .81 percent rate of interest.
Also high on the list for 2017 was the SPLOST passage, with Fleisch noting a 2-to-1 pass rate in Fayette County and a 3-to-1 rate in Peachtree City.
“People responded to the needs for which we hadn’t had the money previously,” said Fleisch.
Involving a litany of projects, SPLOST revenues will carry-on numerous city projects for years, Fleisch said.
Fleisch said another significant event in 2017 was the beginning of residential development on the city’s west side, adding that the Cresswind subdivision is “really taking off.”
The existing subdivisions in Wilksmoor Village, including one apartment complex, have a total of 1,454 units, while the three subdivisions approved for construction total 1,329 units. In total, Wilksmoor will eventually have 2,783 residential units.
Commenting on the now-open MacDuff Parkway linking Ga. Highway 54 West to Ga. Highway 74 North at Kedron Drive, Fleisch said some may note that the road should have been four-laned from the beginning.
Fleisch said those plans were approved in 2007. Altering the plans to add additional lanes would have required city funds to accomplish.
Yet another aspect of 2017 came with additions and expansions to local industry. The addition at Calpis and the expansion at Rinnai were among the businesses making changes in 2017, as was the approval for a 99,000 sq. ft. industrial building at Huddleston Road and Paschall Road.
Many of the various projects that began in 2017 will flow into 2018.
Fleisch said likely the most visible will be the road projects along Hwy. 54 West, at MacDuff Parkway and at Planterra Way.
The City Council on Dec. 7 approved intersection work at Hwy. 54 West and MacDuff Parkway that will add a second left-turn lane on the parkway.
The council unanimously approved a low bid of $598,249 to Piedmont Paving for the work that will provide dual left-turn lanes on MacDuff for traffic heading east on Hwy. 54.
Other traffic flow improvements at the intersection will include the extension of the left-turn bay for traffic entering the parkway from Hwy. 54 and signal modifications to accommodate the dual left-turn lanes.
The work at the intersection will be coordinated in early 2018 with the intersection improvements a short distance to the east at the intersection of Planterra Way and Hwy. 54.
Turn lanes have been extended on Hwy. 54 on both sides of the intersection.
The second phase of the work, planned to begin in January, will add turn lanes on Planterra and at the exit from the Walmart retail area. As with the previous phase, the majority of the work for both coming intersection improvement will be done at night during low-traffic times.
On the Planterra side, the current median will be removed and the finished product will include a left turn lane onto Hwy. 54 West, a thru-lane into the Walmart/Home Depot area and a right turn lane for traffic heading east on Hwy. 54.
For traffic leaving the Walmart and Home Depot area there will be two left turn lanes for traffic onto Hwy. 54 eastbound.
The improvement at Planterra Way will eliminate the split-phasing of the traffic signal. Split-phasing means the left turn from Planterra onto Hwy. 54 and the left turn from the Walmart area onto Hwy. 54 cannot be operated at the same time and, consequently, increases the traffic cycling time and causes more back-ups.
Fleisch noted that the gateway bridge over Hwy. 54 between MacDuff Parkway and Wynnmeade Parkway will likely come in 2019.
Also in 2018, Fleisch said work around Lake Peachtree will result in a number of new bridges. Also SPLOST projects, plans are in the works for a pedestrian bridge to Spyglass Island (formerly known as Snake Island) and another linking Drake Field to All Children’s Playground. A full access bridge will be constructed adjacent to the new spillway while another will widen the cart path bridge along Hwy. 54 East at the lake. Rounding out the Lake Peachtree area, Fleisch said additional improvements will be made at Drake Field.
Fleisch also noted that a number of SPLOST-funded paving projects will be underway in 2018.
“We’ve taken care of things that have been on people’s radar for years,” said Fleisch.
Fleisch said she expects that the City Council in 2018 will receive legislative approval to become the board of directors of the Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority.
Fleisch said the city in 2018 will continue to work with the Fayette County Development Authority on business redevelopments and expansions.
And in terms of tourism, Fleisch said the Diva Marathon will be back in town in March.