County approves funding for Fears Road park
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
County Commissioners voted unanimously this week to approve a contract to complete a trail through the new Indian Creek Park in western Morgan County.
The $23,000 contract will encompass the installation and mulching of a six-foot-wide, one-and-a-half-mile plus walking trail that could be completed this fall. The county recreation commission expects to further utilize a $100,000 grant from the state to install restrooms, signage, and a paved drive at the Fears Road facility near Davis Academy Road, to be called “Indian Creek Park.”
At the county commissioners’ meeting, chairman Mack Bohlen was at pains to point out that the selected developer of the Fears Road trail, Piedmont Designs, is owned by Trey McMichael, whose father-in-law is on the county recreation board. Piedmont Designs was the low bidder on the project; the next-lowest bidder was local Vista Concepts, owned by county commissioner Sammy Cathey’s son. A third bidder, Watson Clearing and Grading, came in with a bid more than three times higher than that of low bidder Piedmont Designs. “I just want to be above-board about this, and disclose [these] relationships,” said Bohlen. “We don’t have any relations with Watson [Clearing and Grading]…but I don’t want to spend $80,000 on this trail.”
In other recreation news, the recreation commission hopes to let a contract in August for the construction of an indoor pool. No contractor has been selected, but recreation commission members are in talks with a couple of bidders.
“After that, we’re looking at a six to seven month construction time,” said Bill Wood, director of the Morgan County Recreation Department. “If all goes well, we could open [the pool] for business in March or April.”