Peachtree City proposes spending $750,000 to pave dirt road to new middle school

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Drawing shows the Booth Middle School replacement campus on the eastern border of Peachtree City. Graphic/Fayette County School System.
Drawing shows the Booth Middle School replacement campus on the eastern border of Peachtree City. Graphic/Fayette County School System.

A cost-sharing agreement on privately owned Stagecoach Road now being considered by Fayette School System — 

The Peachtree City Council on April 7 grumbled about “double-taxation” but acquiesced to the need for access to the replacement middle school on the city’s eastern border. The city will pay $750,000 to put the asphalt topping on a roadbed prepared by contractors hired by the school system.

Three years ago, the Fayette County Board of Education voted to build a $46 million replacement for J.C. Booth Middle School on 37 acres bought from the Peachtree City United Methodist Church that was located on Peachtree City’s eastern border.

One big problem: They had not closed a deal on paving a privately owned one-lane dirt road that was one of only two roads that accessed the property.

Road to a new school? Stagecoach Road off Robinson Road in Peachtree City. Photo/Ben Nelms.
Road to a new school? Stagecoach Road off Robinson Road in Peachtree City. 2019 Photo/Ben Nelms.

The quaint tree-lined lane named Stagecoach Road remained a contentious issue for more than 2 years, as the Peachtree mayor and City Council adamantly opposed using city taxpayer money to improve a road the city didn’t own and had not been consulted about before the new school project was a done deal.

Despite construction delays, missed deadlines and a pandemic, the new school is nearing completion, with still only a neighborhood dead-end residential street — Carriage Lane — and the still-gravel-topped dirt road providing the only access to the site.

Meanwhile, the old Booth Middle School has continued to operate while being completely renovated to make way for two still-unnamed tenants to move in once middle school students move over to the new school.

The Citizen has filed an Open Records request with the school system for the lease agreements and financial data regarding the “old” Booth renovation project: Who are the tenants and how much money will the tenants pay the system for use of the renovated facilities.

The city has discussed a draft agreement with the school system that describes a cooperative approach to getting the road paved.

The basics: The school system — prohibited by law from paving a public road — will pay for the earth-moving and preparation work for widening and preparing Stagecoach Road for every step up to the actual asphalt topping. That includes paying for moving utilities and for curbing and gutters for the improved street.

When the widened road is ready, the city will come in with a contractor and pay up to $750,000 to put the city-standard topping on the road.

At completion, the newly paved road will meet city standards and will be accepted as an official city street.

Mike King, Peachtree City councilman
Mike King, Peachtree City councilman

For the first two years after paving, the school system agrees (in the draft) to pay for all upkeep on the road. After two years, the city will take over full responsibility for maintaining the road.

Additionally, the school system will reimburse the city for costs of all employees required “to direct traffic and pedestrian crossings that provide access to all schools within the municipal limits of the city.”

Council members Mike King and Frank Destadio both said they viewed the city’s agreeing to paving the road to the school as “double-taxation” in that city residents were having to pay for a road to access a school decided upon by the Board of Education that otherwise would not likely be a city expense.

“That ship has sailed,” lamented City Manager Jon Rorie. “A school is coming out of the ground [that will serve] our citizens. I don’t like a double tax [either]. But it’s time to get it done.”

Still to come: improvements to the intersection of Ga. Highway 54 and Carriage Lane/Walt Banks Road to handle the increased traffic generated by the new middle school.

Front page of draft agreement about paving Stagecoach Road.
Front page of draft agreement about paving Stagecoach Road.

12 COMMENTS

  1. No one has mentioned what paving this road will do Robinson Rd. It’s already hard to access the left turn lane onto Hwy 54. Take a look further down Robinson Rd when Braelinn Elementary gets out. You can’t get past the cars lined up to pick up the students. That’s what those of us that live off Robinson Rd have to look forward to when this school opens.
    FCBOE completely ignored every issue brought up why the land they bought was not the right place for Booth. They did it anyway. Our last City Council refused to pave Stagecoach and this new council should refuse to do it as well!!!

  2. Here’s an idea. Have the BOE complete Booth upgrades and then sell (or lease) the new shining school building to whomever is supposed to be taking over Booth. That way, the new owners can pave the road or, if it’s a lease agreement the county can pave it since the county will reap the benefits.

    As a side note, NY taxes did not start out very high, they became that way through misuse and abuse like we are trying to stop here. The story is the same…someone wants to be remembered by building a brand spanking new school house (while likely enriching friends). They force down the edict and leave the citizenry to pay for their deeds. The awakening is happening, just too late for Stagecoach Rd.

  3. Wow, a brand new school for one of the highest ranked school systems in the state. Seems to me like a really good investment in maintaining the highest property values on the southside of Atlanta. I imagine many of you commenting have greatly benefited in your property values increasing over the last few decades. I wonder if a major driving force is the high quality public schools in the area. I love those that benefit, but don’t want to pay for anything. I bet you just pass the collection plate right on by every Sunday.

  4. We actually do not pay high taxes for the quality of education in our schools. Moving from NY where my taxes were 11,000 (. And that’s on the low end ) I do not understand why people complain about tax dollars going to school when it is your right to a free education and that free education is producing future productive citizens for the economy. Education should be a priority. It benefits you .
    Now on the subject of the road to the school . Yes somebody made a very big mistake. However there still needs to be a road paved to access the school and that’s not going to change. I’m not sure why Fayette county school district tax dollars are not allocated to this project considering JC Booth middle school in Peachtree city is part of the Fayette county school district.

  5. I can’t help but conclude that the Fayette County Board of Education is not much more than a GIANT, SUCKING MONEY PIT given the FLAGRANT and OUTRAGEOUS manner that they have continued to WASTE and SQUANDER my hard-earned tax dollars in the almost three decades that I have been Blessed to live in Peachtree City. And the school taxes just keep on going UP and UP with not a whole lot to show for MY MONEY being flushed down the toilet of inefficiency, waste and incompetence! 🤬

    • Your tax dollars do provide high quality education which is everyone’s right to a free education . Coming from New York where my taxes were $11,000 and that was on the low end . Here they are significantly cheaper with a higher quality education. It is in everybody’s best interest to produce educated productive citizens. You taxes might be going up but the quality of education is as well. As far as who pays for the paved road whether it’s the city or the school district system it doesn’t matter because it must be paved. You have the right to vote on the BOE . Peachtree City is part of the Fayette School System BOE who made the decision and our city council agreed.

    • I agree with you, Spyglass. I don’t agree with Jon Rorie on this one. I don’t yet think the “ship has sailed.” I think, at the very least, the FCBOE should go to the State legislature and let the State cover the school board’s autonomous decisions. If the State has to debit FCBOE the $750,000, so be it.