BALL GROUND — Old Dawsonville Road near downtown Ball Ground is set for traffic, pedestrian and safety improvements.

The Ball Ground City Council approved a $260,000 plan to for the project between William Court and Groover Street at the board’s Thursday meeting.

The project, which totals about a half mile, will widen the roadway by three feet, add a retaining wall in the Calvin Farmer Park parking lot, create a road shoulder, and sidewalks with curb and gutter. A wooden pedestrian bridge will also be replaced and the Groover Street intersection will be extended slightly to give vehicles more room to turn.

Mayor Rick Roberts said the project will improve traffic safety and create a more attractive roadway. The sidewalks will also benefit the city’s plan for pedestrian connectivity, he said.

County Manager Eric Wilmarth previously told the Tribune the widening of the road will benefit driver safety due to the terrain of the roadway.

While work on some aspects of the plan could begin soon, Wilmarth said, including certain sections of sidewalk, the overall project could likely be delayed by supply issues. He said some materials for the upgrades might not be available for a few months.

The widening project will be funded by $103,000 from stormwater grants the city received through the American Rescue Plan Act, which was also approved by the council Thursday. Other funding sources include Special Local Options Sales Tax revenues and “developer contributions” from nearby construction.

In other action, the board held its first reading for an annexation request to for a 66-home development that is proposed along the section of Old Dawsonville Road that will be widened. Roberts said the city will hold a public hearing on the annexation request one hour before its November meeting before potentially voting on the proposal at the next regular meeting.

Applicant Stan Fitts has requested to annex a portion of the 48-acre tract to develop 66 homes at 255 and 275 Old Dawsonville Road at a density of 1.37 units per acre. About 35 acres of the property is already within the city and under its Valley Overlay District. The council will consider adding the remaining 13 acres into the city limits and included the entire property into the overlay district.

Wilmarth said the developer is seeking to include the entire development into the overlay district to allow for varied lot sizes. Portions of the development, if approved, will be less dense than what is currently permitted by its zoning.

According to the city council’s agenda packet, target home prices are between $750,000 to $1.25 million.

The board also approved:

♦ A measure to construct an information kiosk in downtown Ball Ground; The kiosk, which will include information about local history, a map of the downtown area, a community calendar and other information, will be funded at about $15,000, mostly through the city’s capital improvement plan.

♦ Sending a letter to the state Department of Natural Resources in support of a Cherokee County Parks plan; Cherokee County is seeking a grant from the DNR for the Long Swamp Creek Recreation Area for improvements at the 23-acre parcel near the Ball Ground city limits at the Etowah River. The county is proposing amenities, including camping, archery and canoe/kayak launches. Wilmarth said grants are based on a points system, and Ball Ground’s letter could assist the county in receiving the grant. The city’s support includes a stipulation that Ball Ground will make a one-time payment of $6,000 toward the project if the grant is approved.

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