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Milstead Park on track to open in 2014

Rockdale County plans to replace Milstead Pool, which has been closed since 2008, with a passive park offering greenspace, playground equipment and a small pavilion. The new park coincides with plans to upgrade drainage and water service in the mill village. That work will be funded by a state Community Development Block Grant. (Staff Photo: Alice Queen)

Rockdale County plans to replace Milstead Pool, which has been closed since 2008, with a passive park offering greenspace, playground equipment and a small pavilion. The new park coincides with plans to upgrade drainage and water service in the mill village. That work will be funded by a state Community Development Block Grant. (Staff Photo: Alice Queen)

CONYERS — This time next year, residents of Milstead Village will have a new park to replace the now closed community pool.

The passive park will have a green area, playground equipment and a small pavilion and will cost $120,000. The funds will come from revenue earmarked for parks from the county’s 2011 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax program.

Jackie Lunsford, director of Rockdale County Parks and Maintenance, presented plans for the park to the Rockdale County Parks and Recreation Commission Monday. She recapped public comments gathered last month at a community meeting and noted there were some mixed emotions about the pool, which was built in 1934, but overall reception for the park was good.

“There were some mixed emotions and many of them and their grandparents had swam there,” Lunsford said. “But some people had seen that renovating a 1934 pool was going to be difficult, especially when we just didn’t know what the outcome was going to be and if the plumbing from 1934 was going to work. That project wasn’t really doable with the amount of money that we have.”

The Milstead pool had been the only outdoor public pool in the county and originally opened in 1934 by Callaway Mills as an amenity for its employees living in the village. The county closed the pool in 2008 and cited increasing maintenance costs and aging infrastructure.

A green area will be established where the pool currently sits and a walking trail will run around the property with entrances from Main and Spring streets. A concrete area and playground will be built where the old Milstead Gymnasium once stood.

Lunsford told the park commissioners the Milstead residents wanted the park not to be a place for loitering after hours and it was designed with that in mind. There will be no restrooms at the park and it will be open for daylight hours only.

In other news, Commission Member Eddie Shirey said there is a concern that wooden bridges on the multi-use PATH trail are becoming very slick due to mildew. He said the mildew on the bridges caused by this year’s higher-than-normal rainfall was a cause of injuries along the PATH trail.

He recommended that Lunsford consider setting up scheduled pressure washings of the bridges to solve the problem. He said DeKalb County has more wooden bridges than Rockdale and does pressure washings. “That’s made a huge difference about safety because people fall off their bikes, they break their arms,” he said.

Also, volunteers are sought for the county’s Meals on Wheels program that serves hot meals to home-bound, elderly residents. Lunsford explained the program does well in the summer, but volunteers drop off as teachers go back to work and students return to school.

“We’re missing about one-third of our Meals on Wheels volunteers,” Lunsford said.

Deliveries begin at 10:30 a.m., Monday through Friday. The delivery routes are about a hour and a half or shorter, depending on the routes served. Lunsford said volunteers can come in once a week or twice a month.

To volunteer for Meals on Wheels, contact Melissa Pugh at the county senior center at 770-278-7230 or email her at melissa.pugh@rockdalecounty.org.