Lanett officials exploring possibility of development along the river

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, June 30, 2022

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LANETT — Lanett city officials are exploring the possibility of having a river park on the Chattahoochee. It could be developed in the historic Reed Pecan Grove with West Point River Park to the north, CSX Transportation to the west, flood control land managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the east and the city wastewater treatment plant to the south.

Council Member Tony Malone envisions the site as an extended two-city park near the waterfront with walking trails, boat ramp access, picnicking areas and ball fields.

Malone, Recreation Director Trent McCants and Inspector Teddy Morris had an on-site meeting this past Friday with Frank Humber, deputy director, and Rajiv Myana, senior planner, East Alabama Regional Planning and Devel0opment Commission, Anniston, and Park Ranger Ben Williams of the West Point Project Management Office.

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There is no formal plan to develop the site. What’s being discussed at are possibilities for development and greater public use of greenspace areas near the river.

The pecan trees on the 50-acre site are well over 100 years old. They would remain with the smaller understory of trees and invasive species being removed. At one time, the Reed Pecan Company had an estimated 2,500 pecan trees on the site.

The river park site has another location that’s historically interesting. The site where Tanyard Creek flows into the river was at one time a very popular swimming site. Swimmers would sun themselves on a rock outcropping and swim in the cool water near the river, being careful not to get into the flow of the Chattahoochee. There’s a survey marker on the north bank of Tanyard Creek. It marks the location where two states, two cities and three counties come together. South of the marker the high water mark of the river is the boundary between Alabama and Georgia; north of this spot a diagonal line forms the boundary. Some of the large pecan trees have three red rings around them. The Corps of Engineers maintains the land from these rings back to the river. It’s part of the Corps’ continuing flood control mission. River bank areas have large stones to help prevent erosion.

“We would like to get something on paper about what can be done here,” Malone said. “I think we can preserve the historic pecan trees, keep the grass cut and remove some of the invasive species that has grown up here over the years. It would be great if we could have an inviting spot by the river where people could come and enjoy themselves in a safe, secure location by the river that runs through our two-state community. I think it would be a good idea for us to preserve the greenspace here while making it an educational experience for anyone who comes here.”

Some major change is coming to the Chattahoochee River in the local area. For some time now, Georgia Power has been interested in removing the low head dams on the river in Langdale and River View and to return the river to its natural course. The dams no longer generate electricity, and there’s a liability issue in maintaining them. The dams could be removed starting in 2023.