Commissioners review request to allow crew to clean park

Published 3:59 pm Sunday, June 18, 2017

LaGRANGE – As the weather grows warmer, the grass grows higher, and it has become a necessity for the county to find a means to maintain the grass that was once cared for by work release inmates.

On Tuesday, the Troup County Board of Commissioners considered a request to hire a crew from New Ventures to help maintain the grounds at Pyne Road Park. The parks department previously used inmates from the Troup County Correctional Institute to maintain park department facilities, so the department has been searching for a way to maintain grounds and facilities without those inmates.

“Parks and Recreation specifically used six inmate crews throughout our department,” Parks and Recreation Director Cajen Rhodes said. “One of those crews spent four to five days a week out at Pyne Road Park. That crew is gone leaving this giant void out at Pyne Road Park, so we have reached out to New Ventures, who already does some contractual cleaning for us there over at Callaway Stadium and takes care of the stadium for us – when we have meets, large events, things of that nature – and provides the cleaning for us. This year out at Pyne Road Park, we are contracting that to keep our restrooms and to keep our grounds and to help out with that.”

The state requires that counties keep Parks and Recreation facilities at the same level of quality or higher, so the department was not considered for cuts when county staff searched for a way to fund pay raises for county employees. The maintenance is also important to the county because the park is a means of income through rentals and fees paid by groups who host events like fishing tournaments at the lake.

“This is specifically for grounds maintenance, so what they are going to be doing is they’ll be out at Pyne Road Park mowing, edging, weed eating and blowing — keeping the grounds nice and clean,” Rhodes said. “We have received additional funding as a result of all this. This is well within our budget, and the total amount of this contract that we are actually looking at for Pyne Road Park is $30,301.12.”

The twelve month contract is priced well within the department’s allowance of approximately $100,000 for contracted services to maintain existing facilities, and the county has observed good work by the group both in services at its own facilities and at Troup County Schools.

“They have done West Point Elementary School, Hogansville Elementary School and Whitesville Road (Elementary School),” County Manager Tod Tentler said.

The contract for the maintenance at Pyne Road Park was not put to bid because of New Ventures’ status with the state and county satisfaction with services provided in the past.

“New Ventures is a nonprofit organization here in our community, and they utilize disadvantaged employees, so that is their workforce,” Rhodes said.

“They also work directly through the Georgia Department of Administrative Services, so when we work with them, it is really the exact same as using a state contractor.”

The contracted services from New Ventures will provide slightly different services at Pyne Road Park then were provided by the work release crews, but all of the work should still get done.

According to Rhodes, projects like preparing areas for a big event will be left up to parks crews in the foreseeable future.

The Parks and Recreation Department also requested a lift on the hiring freeze in order to replace a part time site manager and a part time van driver.

The Troup County Board of Commissioners plans to vote on whether to approve the contract on Tuesday at 9 a.m. at 100 Ridley Ave.