Valley approves a landscape artist for former Fairfax Mill site

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, October 11, 2023

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VALLEY — The Valley City Council has approved the hiring of a landscape architect to have a design study for the former Fairfax Mill site. Scott Colomb of Luthersville, Georgia has agreed to come up with a plan to redevelop the site for some kind of community use, such as a new city park. Colomb has a great deal of experience in site planning, site engineering and landscape design.

His fee of $30,000 is being covered by a grant from the Charter Foundation.

“He will work on a master plan to redevelop the site into something that can be used by people in the community,” said Council Member Jim Jones. “The Fairfax community will have input into what’s going to be done. We will have meetings where the architect will discuss what can be done. People are encouraged to make suggestions and to offer their ideas.”

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At such a meeting, Colomb will have a Power Point-style presentation of a conceptual design plan. The meeting will include a display of the proposed plan including its elevation and perspective views. There will be a question-and-answer session that follows. Feedback is encouraged, and the ideas of townspeople could be incorporated into design changes. There will be a booklet produced showing different portions of the overall design. This can be used in fundraising.

The action was taken at Monday’s meeting of the city council. In other business before the council, a second reading was held and approval given to leasing some city-owned property near the Chattahoochee River to a local hunting club. The River Bottom Hunting Club will be leasing the land for a fee of $3,670. Deer hunting will be limited to bows with shotgun hunting permitted for wild turkey. Members of the club include Steven Bledsoe, Jake Power, Michael Landrum and Jason Osborn.

The action was approved in a 6-1 vote. Council Member Jones was opposed. “I don’t like the idea of some people being able to use city-owned land and other people not being allowed to,” he said.

Valley Parks & Recreation Director Laurie Blount said she was very excited about the State Masters Games coming to Valley Community Center the week of October 16th to the 20th. “It will be the first time we have hosted the State Games since 2019,” she said. “Covid set us back the next year.”

The city’s annual fall festival will be taking place on Tuesday, October 31st at Valley Sportsplex. Local businesses, civic clubs and churches are being asked to have booths where candy can be given to children coming out in their Halloween costumes. It’s a fun and safe way to celebrate a long-time holiday.

Council Member Jim Clark thanked officers for the Valley Police Department and the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office for the work they did in a recent missing person’s case. “Officer Chris Davis and Sgt. Meacham were very helpful,” he said. “The missing man, Melvin Duke, was a good friend of mine. I spent nine hours looking for him over the weekend.”

Duke was last seen on a Thursday and was reported missing the following day. His truck was located near the LaFayette city lake on Sunday afternoon. CCSO deputies noticed that someone had been cutting what appeared to be a walking trail from the truck to the lake. They followed it and found Duke’s body an estimated 40 yards down that trail. He had apparently died of natural causes. He was 72 years old and loved to go fishing.

“This situation didn’t have the outcome we wanted,” Council Member Clark said, “but I do want to thank the officers for what they did.”

The council determined a public nuisance and authorized action to clean up a site located at 2502 16th Place. Code Enforcement Officer Reid Riley displayed photos of a house in poor condition on the big TV screens in the council chamber. “The photos speak for themselves,” he said. “It’s a filthy place not fit for human inhabitation. Vandals have ransacked it, and it’s a breeding ground for rodents. We notified the owner of the property back in August that a plan of action needed to take place to clean this up. We haven’t heard from him in over a month-and-a-half.”

The council gave its permission to abate the nuisance by demolishing the structure and removing the debris.

 A weed lien was imposed on that site and at three other locations. Those properties are located on 55th Street, 18th Avenue and on Highway 29 down from Valley High School.

The council approved some cyber security policies and procedures to protect the city from potential online thieves.

Jessica Baldwin was present at the meeting to inform the council that a prescription drug take back day would be taking place at Valley Police Department on Thursday, October 26th. From 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. that day people can being by any prescription drugs they are no longer using for safe disposal.

Mayor Leonard Riley called for a public hearing on Monday, October 23rd to consider revoking the business license for Third Eye Surgery LLC. Another public hearing will be taking place on November 13th to discuss a request to rezone an estimated 275 acres off Combs Road to PRD-3 (Planned Single Family Attached and Detached Residential). It’s presently zoned R-3 (Medium Density Residential).

Chief Mike Reynolds told the council that the police department now has two certified drone pilots. “They can get the bird up and take video images in case it’s needed in missing persons cases, where warrants are being served or to assist the Drug Task Force,” he said. “We will be operating within the guidelines set by  FAA. We won’t be doing anything arbitrary.”

Reynolds said the new police vehicles that have been ordered should arrive in the near future.