2010-06-17 / Front Page

Commissioners work to make Wilkes lakefront ‘a better place to go’

Spurred by complaints from county residents and a request from the Sheriff’s Office, the Wilkes County Board of Commissioners has adopted a set of rules and regulations in an effort to preserve the cleanliness and family atmosphere at Holliday Park while cutting down on vandalism and unruly behavior.

County Attorney Charles LeGette relayed the sheriff’s request “to have clear authority” to crack down on violators at the park and suggested that the board adopt the “Rules and Regulations Governing Public Use” issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) in May 2000. The rules cover all aspects of the use of the park and provide for penalties for violations.

“The county ought to be proud of that park,” said a visitor who lives nearby Holliday Park. “I hate to see it destroyed and torn up with all the taxpayers’ money going into it like it has. It’s a nice park and [the vandalism] is being done on purpose. It’s not just by accident.” He voiced his support of the COE rules and regulations as a means to punish those responsible for the vandalism.

“We are trying to make it a better place for people to go,” Commission Chairman Sam Moore said. “Our improvements have made the park a lot nicer and we are really proud of it. But we want to enforce the rules and that’s one reason we’re looking at doing this.”

Moore explained that if the COE makes a case against a violator, it would end up in federal court. “We want to enforce these laws locally and we want to be more aggressive because we have had some vandalism on the improvements that we have made,” he said. “This is a big step toward making Holliday Park a lot better place to go where everybody can be comfortable taking their families.

The commissioners unanimously adopted the COE Rules and Regulations for enforcement by local authorities.

All of the commissioners – Divenski Lee, Ed Geddings, John Howard, Jerry Stover, and Moore – were in attendance at the regular June meeting of the board as were LeGette, County Administrator David Tyler, and a number of visitors.

Marcia Campbell, curator of the Robert Toombs House Historic Site, reported that the property is doing “real well” since the county began overseeing its operation last year. She said that a number of projects are going on and that she had received a $10,000 grant from the Watson-Brown Foundation that day.

She said that she is planning to write a grant for a new roof on the house and that she is working to secure the donation of a lawn mower for the grounds. Other projects Campbell mentioned included the availability of 50 guidebooks, ongoing development of a garden guide, and planning for Robert Toombs’ 200th birthday celebration with a goal of “bringing Toombs’ life to light.”

About 8-10 people, up from 4-5 last fall, visit the historic site each day, Campbell said.

In other business:

 The board adopted a Flood Ordinance, approved by the Department of Natural Resources and federal agencies, which will allow local participation in the National Flood Insurance Program giving Wilkes County citizens the option of flood insurance.

 LeGette announced that the schedule of preliminary activities for the sales tax referendum is on track and the next meeting would be between the county and its municipalities on June 17.

 Moore reported on renovation progress on the courthouse, saying that the roof should be complete sometime in July with the exception of the towers. Windows and air conditioning units are also being replaced.

 Tyler reported that Local Option Sales Tax received for the month of March amounted to $59,599.73, and Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax was $91,691.98 for the same month.

 Moore announced that a called meeting will be held at 5:00 PM on June 23 for the purpose of considering and acting on the 2011 budget as proposed for the fiscal year of July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011, and for the purpose of amending the current 2010 budget. The proposed budget may be examined on weekdays at the commissioners’ office during regular working hours.

The next regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners will be held on Thursday, July 8, at 7 p.m. with a work session beginning at 6 p.m.

Return to top