Lake Varner look­out

The Covington News - - Front page - DANIELLE EVER­SON

New­ton County res­i­dents will soon have an­other pic­turesque place to en­joy a pic­nic.

The New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers unan­i­mously ap­proved for two new open-air pavil­ions to be con­structed at Lake Varner Park at their board meet­ing on Tues­day night.

Ja­son Nord with the county’s wa­ter re­source depart­ment re­quested that the board ap­prove a bid for Paul Kent Con­struc­tion Com­pany to con­struct two pavil­ions for a to­tal price of $40,977. Ac­cord­ing to the bid, the price in­cludes the com­pany de­sign­ing the pavil­ions, all of the ma­te­ri­als for con­struc­tion, la­bor, equip­ment, site work and cleanup.

Four bids for the pavilion project were re­ceived on Aug. 21 at the New­ton County Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing, and New­ton County Engi­neer­ing Ser­vices rec­om­mended that the board ap­prove the low­est bid, which was from Paul Kent Con­struc­tion Com­pany.

Ac­cord­ing to a pro­posal from county en­gi­neer Tom Gar­rett, Paul Kent Con­struc­tion Com­pany has per­formed other projects for

See Varner, 8A

Ge­or­gia Perime­ter Col­lege, Wal­ton County Parks and Re­cre­ation and DeKalb County Pub­lic Works. Gar­rett said in his pro­posal he spoke with ref­er­ences from those projects and they all were com­pli­men­tary of Paul Kent Con­struc­tion Com­pany.

Lake Varner is an 850-acre drink­ing reser­voir lo­cated on Al­covy Road that was con­structed in the 1990s. The lake has been used for fish­ing, elec­tric and pad­dle boat­ing and other types of recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties, but there were no ar­eas set aside for hold­ing gath­er­ings at Lake Varner Park. Gar­rett said this was a way to en­hance the area.

“It’s for pic­nics or just gen­eral re­cre­ation,” Gar­rett said.

Dur­ing the meet­ing, Com­mis­sioner Tim Flem­ing asked Nord if there was re­ally a need for the pavil­ions at the park and if the park saw many vis­i­tors. Nord an­swered yes and ex­plain why he thought the pavil­ions needed to be con­structed.

“There are a lot of peo­ple who come out es­pe­cially on hol­i­days,” Nord said. “There have been a lot in­quires about hav­ing a fa­cil­ity that could han­dle fam­ily re­unions, church gath­er­ings, pic­nics and things of that na­ture and right now there is no area out there for a large gath­er­ing of peo­ple.”

Nord added that the pavil­ions would hold about 30 to 40 peo­ple. Com­mis­sioner J.C. Hen­der­son was con­cerned with how in­ter­ested par­ties would re­serve the pavil­ions for use. Nord ex­plained how the depart­ment would han­dle the use of the pavil­ions.

“At this point and time, we plan on hav­ing it as first come/first serve with the ca­pa­bil­ity of be­ing re­served by the re­cre­ation man­ager,” Nord said. “We’ll put up a sign to re­serve for that per­son at that time.”

Com­mis­sioner Nancy Schulz said she had con­cerns with the up­keep of the new pavil­ions.

“I rec­og­nize that we need this kind of con­struc­tion, but would your depart­ment be re­spon­si­ble for the main­te­nance of the pavil­ions?” she ask.

Nord told the board that his depart­ment would main­tain the pavil­ions as they were used.

Gar­rett said con­struc­tion on the pavil­ions will take place some time in Oc­to­ber. He said the project should take about 45 days from start to fin­ish.

Photo il­lus­tra­tion by Rachel Goff /The Cov­ing­ton News

Lo­cals Ha­ley Shep­pard and Ja­cob Moore sit at Lake Varner Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

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