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Making over Radium Springs
August 6, 2007
Albany - - It's considered one of the seven natural wonders of Georgia and Radium Springs is about to get a makeover.
After damage from the floods of 1994 and 1998, the park closed down. Only a portion of Radium Springs is now open to the public.
Monday, county commissioners approved a $72,500 contract for a design company to come up with the first phase of a revitalization project.
"That includes mostly a botanical garden and that opens it back up to the public for the first time in many years. So were looking forward to that and hopefully this time next year, phase one will be open," says County Administrator Richard Crowdis.
The project has already received 2.5 million dollars in SPLOST revenue. County leaders are working with state leaders and the Department of Natural resources to come up with other ideas for Radium springs -including walking trails, fishing piers, and water bird displays.
(Click to enlarge)
Clipping of Albany Herald article submitted by Tommy Pattison (1954)
Article below from Albany Herald Online
Events key to Radium plan
August 15, 2006
ALBANY — After seeing an architect's plans for transforming Radium Springs into a public venue, Dougherty County Commissioner John Hayes said Monday that he was expecting "to see something with pop."
Phase 1 of a total estimated $2 million development plan for Radium Springs consists mostly of assorted gardens with amenities, such as a gazebo, footbridge and entrance gate created from remnants of the historic Radium Springs casino.
The first phase is expected to cost about $550,000, architects say.
"Aesthetically, it has the makings of something very, very nice," said Hayes, whose District 2 includes the resort. "I think the architect has done an excellent job."
But Hayes said he is disturbed about the end product. "There's a piece that's missing here," he said while gazing at the displayed architectural rendering at Monday's meeting. He said plans for Radium Springs should include more activities that encourage people to revisit the site.
"It's a very good beginning," Hayes said.
Ron Huffman, senior principal landscape architect with MACTEC in Kennesaw, says revisitation to the springs will be generated by special events held at the proposed botannical gardens, as well as swimming and scuba diving limited to four weekends a year.
One garden area, he suggested, could be rented for weddings, or formal or semi-formal events.
The plan by itself is not going to generate revenue for or traffic to Radium Springs, Huffman said. "It's a collective marketing effort," he said.
When presenting his plan for an assortment of garden spots, a bird-watching area and butterfly garden and amphitheater for an outdoor classroom, Huffman said the entire plan is designed "to be relatively low maintenance."
"It's a historical and very valuable resource that we've got to be very careful with," Huffman said. "Radium Springs is incredible."
Huffman said Phase 1 represents the initial phase of a five-year plan. The number of future phases of development must be determined by Dougherty County commissioners, he said. If Phase 1 is approved, development could begin next spring and be completed in about six months.
In preparation for future development of the Radium area, the Greenspace Citizens Advisory Committee has recommended that Dougherty commissioners purchase 55 acres of undeveloped property for $150,000 from Darrel Ealum, owner of Radium Country Club. The property is part of the country club, said Albany-Dougherty Planning Director Elizabeth Dean.
Dean said the citizens group is also negotiating with Ealum for portions of his developed properties south of Radium Springs resort. "There's lots of discussion," she said.
Dougherty County Administrator Richard Crowdis said the county has $535,000 in special-purpose, local-option sales tax 5 earmarked for five specific greenspace properties. Additionally, $2.5 million of sales tax 5 has been designated for the Radium Springs development project — $550,000 for Phase 1, he said. Crowdis said development of the entire site, including 80 acres belonging to the state, will require state funding in addition to county funds.