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City, county celebrate Hills & Dales Farm Road completion

On Friday morning, local officials gathered to celebrate the completion of Hills & Dales Farm Road with a ribbon cutting.

The two-mile road stretches from Country Club Road to Vernon Road and was built through a partnership between the City of LaGrange, Troup County and the Callaway Land Trust. It was funded through the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

“At the end of the day, this is a SPLOST project, and one of the things that has been consistent with the voters and taxpayers of Troup County is they have consistently supported the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax as a means of funding large scale infrastructure projects throughout our community,” LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton said. “This is one example of that. This is an example of a project that required the use of SPLOST funds, and we think it is a very appropriate use of those funds as we grow the infrastructure of our city and our county.”

SPLOST V was approved by Troup County voters in 2017, with 71 percent of voters voting in favor of the tax’s renewal. Hills & Dales Farm Road was one of several road projects slated to use the funds, and city and county officials have said in the past that many local projects are possible only because of those funds.

“I think it is going to be a very important piece of the network to move traffic around this side of town,” County Commission Chairman Patrick Crews said. “The county is very, very excited about participating in this with our other partners, and we certainly look forward to this being an important part of our community transportation system.”

A road in that area has been under discussion for years, and both Thornton and Crews said they were glad to see it complete. 

“A road on the west side of LaGrange connecting the Country Club area with the hospital area has been under discussion for literally decades,” Thornton said. “It has appeared in many maps and traffic studies and suggestions in our community. It has not been without controversy. It has not been without discussion and debate, but I think it is going to be transformative for our city. I think it is going to be a new addition for our transportation network. It is also going to create significant economic opportunity.”

Thornton said that the road will open up thousands of acres in the area to development, and he hopes to see it support future growth in the city and county, especially due to its location halfway between West Point Lake and downtown LaGrange.

“We want to create a network of road opportunities,” Thornton said. “We want to create multiple ways to get from A to B. We want to encourage people to explore. We want to encourage people to not feel like they always have to travel east to west on Vernon, but they might want to explore by coming north or south, by going a different direction, to get across town. By providing multiple ways of access, transportation planners will tell you [that] you avoid the bottle neck. You avoid the gridlock. You give people ways around accidents.” 

Thornton thanked the members of the Callaway family, the Callaway Land Trust and the Callaway Foundation for their support on the project. The Callaway Land Trust donated the land needed for the road.