Porterdale looks to develop 'mini' parks

PORTERDALE -- The City Council is exploring the possibility of establishing what Mayor Arline Chapman described as "mini playgrounds scattered throughout the city."

In a work session Thursday night, council members discussed possible locations for the pocket parks and playground equipment types and costs.

Suggested locations for the small parks include an existing park on Elm Street where the playground equipment became dilapidated, a vacant lot on Pine Street owned by the city, and two other lots owned by the city -- one at the corner of Walnut and Peachtree streets and another at the corner of Beech Street and Rose Hill.

Costs for playground equipment for the parks were estimated to range from $6,000 to $8,000 per park.

The city has collected about $24,000 in 2011 special purpose local option sales tax funds that are earmarked for recreation that will be used to purchase equipment. Council members discussed the possibility of having the sites landscaped and equipment installed by volunteers to help control costs.

Council members agreed to target three parks initially and to further research the project by discussing the proposal with the residents on either side of the lot on Pine Street and getting more information from playground equipment vendors.

In a called meeting that preceded Thursday night's work session, the council voted unanimously to execute a contract with Georgia Municipal Association for lease of a sewer vacuum trailer. The lease will total $36,887 or $568 per month for 72 months. At the end of the lease the equipment will belong to the city.

Councilman Mike Harper was absent from the meeting.

According to City Manager Bob Thomson, the equipment is used to clear obstructions, like roots, from old sewer lines by forcing water through the lines at high pressure.

Thomson said the lease payment will be expense-neutral to the city as financing for construction of the city's public works shed, which totals about the same amount as the equipment lease, will be paid off this month.

Thomson explained that the city's aging sewer system frequently has blocked lines and the city has to call on neighboring jurisdictions to borrow their equipment. If other cities aren't available to help, then Porterdale has to incur the expense of calling on private companies to clear the lines.