79: Tallassee Forest Park
Project Description from submission form
The requested SPLOST 2020 funding will fulfill the ACC investment and vision for Tallassee Forest (TF) by implementing a county-approved master plan that provides sustainable public access and benefits, consistent with the property's exceptional environmental quality and protected status. Funding to create TF Park will open TF to the public and offer much needed opportunities for outdoor recreation for families, seniors, students, individuals, and groups. TF Park is outside the loop in northwest ACC, an underserved area that has limited park access. (See Maps) It will be an educational, recreational, and social resource and part of a hub for school and neighborhood engagement. The park will also attract regional visitors and promote economic development in the area.
Park amenities may include but is not limited to, elements such as short, medium, and long walking trails; additional land; children's nature education and adventure areas; interpretive signs, shelters, and boardwalks; ecological restoration and natural resource monitoring programs; and parking, restrooms, and a park office. Master planning is underway with public input from surveys, community meetings, and a stakeholder committee. Ultimately, the master plan and any improvements made through this SPLOST program must be approved by the Mayor and Commission.
TF is unique in ACC in that it has mature, intact habitats with minimal recent disturbance or invasive plants compared with other county greenspaces. Springs and streams supply clean drinking water, and the broad floodplain mitigates flooding. This project will recognize, protect, and enhance these important habitats and their ecological services while creating an opportunity for the public to experience and recreate in an exceptional natural area. In addition, funding for this project will ensure support for ecological management that enhances and protects the many environmental benefits.
The 310-acre forest is protected by a Conservation Easement held by the Oconee River Land Trust. It was purchased in 2012 by ACC with $525,000 of SPLOST funding and a $250,000 Riverview Foundation grant. The Foundation is also funding master planning and will consider additional support if SPLOST 2020 funding is awarded. (See Foundation Letter of Support) With SPLOST 2020 funding, the County will continue its financial investments and commitments to opening TF to the public and protecting greenspace.
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