Fayette OKs Redwine Rd. cart paths


Residents along the southern portion of Redwine Road in unincorporated Fayette County will eventually have direct golf cart path access to the Starr’s Mill school complex just south of Peachtree City, but it’s not going to happen overnight.

The Fayette County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously at its Oct. 23 meeting to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Georgia Department of Transportation for a design-build project that will result in a multi-use path extending from the area of the Highgrove and Whitewater Creek communities all the way to Panther Path just north of Ga. Highway 74.

There are existing paths north and south of Bernhard Road along the Timberlake, Newhaven and Woodcreek subdivisions as well as on the east side of Redwine Road south of Robinson Road approaching the schools. The Fayette County Board of Education recently approved plans to build a path on the west side of Redwine Road between Robinson Road and Panther Path in addition to extending the path in the school complex.

The proposed section, which will be a federal aid project, extends along the last stretch of Redwine Road north of its intersection with Robinson, in front of The Preserve and Jefferson Woods.

Efforts to build multi-use paths along Redwine Road have been ongoing for most of the past 15 years, county Public Works Director Phil Mallon reported at the BOC meeting. This will be the fifth such project he is aware of, with past work done by developers and as part of the county’s SPLOST program as well as the “safe routes to school” project in recent years. Mallon acknowledged that his staff has been directed to “fill in the gaps along Redwine Road over time.”

Residents in Woodcreek and Jefferson Woods can now access the school complex through a combination of back trails and roads, Mallon said, although the Redwine Road path is more direct.

There has been a longstanding request to establish a safe and legal crossing of Redwine for the residents of Highgrove and Whitewater Creek to access the remainder of the existing path.

“They can see the promised land across the street, but they can’t get to it safely and legally,” said Mallon.

The MOU is a standard step in any federal-aid program, according to Mallon, who added that trying to do the project as a design-build process would be advantageous to the county as well as GDOT. The next step will be the procurement process, with a consulting team addressing the environmental issues and coming up with a concept that can be submitted to GDOT to move the project forward.

“Hopefully about 9-12 months from today we will turn it over to the DOT,” said Mallon.

He added that it would be a good idea to set up a small stakeholder group with a few residents from the affected subdivisions in the early stages, because the county’s ability to influence the design will be greatly limited once the project goes to the state level.

As for the proposed path segments on the map in Mallon’s presentation, he said that he guessed which side of the road the paths would be on but was not completely certain where they would end up.

County Manager Steve Rapson emphasized the fact that all of this work would take a while to complete, perhaps two and a half years in all.

“We will be talking about this a year from now,” he said.

Commission Chairman Steve Brown said he would love to see the Fayette County Board of Education’s portion, from Foreston Place to Panther Path, underway by spring. He added that potential crossing points for those traveling to the school complex will be considered with input from local law enforcement officials.

Commissioner David Barlow inquired about the possibility of putting paths on both sides of Redwine Road in the proposed new areas and also suggested bringing in Peachtree City’s engineer to participate in the stakeholder meetings. Mallon said that once the item was approved by the board he planned to make a formal request to Peachtree City for such participation.

All of the commissioners acknowledged that they had received a huge number of emails related to this project — several hundred between the five of them — with only a handful in opposition.

Vice Chairman Charles Oddo encouraged his fellow board members to being making plans for funding future maintenance of these paths and the others in the county’s system.

“We need to look 20, 30 years down the road,” he said. “When the next group of commissioners comes in, I don’t want them to have to deal with that.”

The only member of the audience to speak about the issue was Scott Fabricius, president of Whitewater Creek homeowners association, who said his board was unanimous in support and thanked the commissioners for their position as well as the Highgrove and Whitewater Creek residents who have come together to support the project.