Bond idea withdrawn for Gathering Place expansion


A proposed expansion of Peachtree City’s Gathering Place senior citizens center will not be brought before city voters after all.

Instead the City Council is considering a poll of city residents in the city’s newsletter

perhaps in January, with the potential of adding more items to the funding list including the purchase of a replacement bubble for the Kedron pool.

The bubble allows the pool to be used as an indoor facility when the city’s other pools are closed. A new one is estimated to cost $250,000, but the item is not necessarily seen as a necessity.

Other potential items to discuss include new cart paths, the dredging of Lake Peachtree north, landscaping of Ga. Highway 54 West and other recreation items.

“I think it would be great to take stock and it would be great to prioritize those things,” said Councilwoman Kim Learnard.

At last week’s City Council meeting, Councilman Eric Imker said that the city will have to be clear to voters that any such items must be funded with a corresponding property tax increase.

Imker suggested that the city could ask citizens to support a one-time millage rate increase to cover the Gathering Place expansion of about 3,800 square feet. That increase would only be enacted for one year and would cost the average homeowner about $40, Imker said.

By using cash instead of financing the project, the city will save about $350,000 in interest and other fees.

The estimated project cost is $789,000 for adding two new rooms that combined could be used as a room similar in size to the current “large room” at the Gathering Place.

The project includes a corridor that will allow users of the new space to avoid going through the existing large room and disturbing any activities there, said Leisure Services Director Randy Gaddo.

Were council to have put the project on the bond referendum in November, it would have had to make a concrete decision on the matter in a manner of weeks, and several council members balked at making such a decision so quickly.

Imker said for the expansion project to have his support, it will have to get more than just a thin majority support on a city survey. For example, a 51 percent vote in favor would not be sufficient, and he would like to see the numbers reach about 60 percent in favor.

The lack of available space at the Gathering Place has been discussed by council recently as the city began to combine its amphitheater and tourism operations at the building next door to the Gathering Place, which contains the amphitheater’s box office. Next door to the box office is a room that has been used for other recreation programming including bridge groups, fitness classes and yoga classes.

That room was to have become part of the city’s new visitors center, but that plan was voted down last month by the city council, which scaled it back to avoid including the recreation room.