Grantville approves bid for skate park

by Celia Shortt

The Grantville City Council approved a bid for the city’s planned skate park at its regular city council meeting on Monday.

Council Member Johnny Cooks made a motion to accept Pillar Design LLC’s design for a 3,500-square-foot skate part in the amount of $75,000 and any additions up to $99,000.

“I think we have an obligation to go with the lowest bidder for the best product,” said Cooks at a work session held to discuss the bids before the council meeting. “If they’re qualified vendors, competitive, with quality products, I’m going to go with the lowest vendor,” he said.

According to Cooks, Pillar has designed skate parks in counties throughout Georgia. He said the counties seemed pleased with their parks, and he believes Pillar is a qualified vendor who gave the lowest bid for the best product.

The other bid was from ARC for a park of the same size and costing approximately $100,000.

“I am voting for Pillar not because I feel that they are the best vendor for this project, but because it appears that there is no choice if we want a skateboard park here,” said Council Member Selma Coty. “So the higher goal is that we have something for the kids and for them to use their skateboards and not be skating on the sidewalk and in our streets.”

Coty felt that Pillar’s initial presentation for the bid was not very good, their presenter was not very professional, and that there would be problems with the construction of the site.

Grantville Mayor Jim Sells agreed with her and echoed her concerns about Pillar.

“I’m going to agree with Ms. Coty,” he said at the council meeting. “Pillar, in my opinion, was not prepared for their presentation. They’ve done no site visit. They looked at it on a topographical aerial view. They want to use cinder blocks for a retaining wall. I think this council is not prepared to accept this bid.”

“I do disagree with Ms. Coty in the fact she believes if we don’t vote for it, we’re not going to get it done,” he added. “No one on this council is against a skate park. I want to see it built, but I do not think we’re ready.”

Council Member Rochelle Jabaley said even though she had been instrumental in starting the skate park, she felt that neither the council nor the community had learned from the experience because they had spent a lot of money, still did not have a completed park, and were about to spend more money on another project about which they were not well-informed.

“I know that is an unpopular thing to say now that a lot of people want the skate park, but let’s look at this,” she said. “We have a town of 3,500 people. How many people are going to use a $100,000 skate park? Could we not take $100,000 and build a very adequate small building that would allow year-round recreation, have room for the GED program, and have it utilized by more people in this community?”

The majority of the council approved the bid, with Council Member Jabaley opposing it. Grantville City Manager Johnny Williams was also named project manager for the skate park project.

Also at the meeting, the city council approved a new member for the city’s Recreation Advisory Board and its youth advisory board.

Board member Mary Elder recommended Judy Cook to fill her place on the board, effective Jan. 1. The council unanimously approved Cook to be on the board in addition to Allen Smith serving on the youth advisory board for the recreation board.

In other business:

• Grantville resident Shelly Smith updated the council on her GED classes. More people have expressed interest and started coming to the classes. She is receiving help from West Georgia Technical College in preparing those at the classes in finding jobs once they receive their GED.

She also received a donation from Better Home Town and now has a computer and other necessary equipment for her classes. • Coty expressed some concerns about the water line extension along Meriwether Street in Grantville and wanted to make sure it moves forward. The city manager said Crawford Grading & Pipeline Inc. will let him know when they can proceed, and he was expecting them to start in January.

Grantville resident Wayne A. Rosser also expressed the need for the hydrants during the time reserved for citizens’ comments.

• The council approved voluntary deposits of $5,218 per month be made into the Municipal Competitive Trust. This amount is the same as last year.

• Robert Allen presented a plaque to Jabaley honoring her dedication and work on the splash park project.

• Various council members thanked Coty and Jabaley for their service on the council and wished everyone a Merry Christmas.

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