Department heads highlight progress during state of county address

Published 10:30 am Thursday, May 5, 2022

Troup County held its annual State of the County public meeting Tuesday, allowing citizens to listen to department heads and inquire about issues they’ve seen in their communities. Held at the agriculture center on Pegasus Parkway, the meeting allowed area leaders to address and offer solutions to these issues.

TROUP COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT

Troup County Fire Chief Michael Strickland gave an update on initiatives the fire department is taking to prepare its firefighters. The majority of the fire department’s calls are medical in nature, Strickland noted, and all firefighters undergo basic EMT training so they are prepared for such calls.

Strickland answered an inquiry from a concerned citizen concerning the response time of the fire department. The citizen said had called the fire department in June 2019 while her husband was having an emergency but felt the responders were not taking her emergency seriously. 

“When they arrived at the house, they were in no hurry to get to my husband,” the citizen said, who added that her husband had died that night. “I’m wondering if there is a code or something passed on to them that they are not supposed to be at their best or be at their quickest to save that particular person?”

Strickland said while he did not have all the details on her particular case, there were instances where newer firefighters may have issues locating a location in some circumstances.

“We try to teach them to approach the scene to be sure it’s safe for them to be in there,” he said.

PARKS AND RECREATION

Lance Dennis, director of Troup County Parks and Recreation, discussed some of the recently completed projects the department has accomplished, such as adding new pickleball courts to the LaGrange Active Life and adding amenities to the trails of Pyne Road Park.

The Griggs Center project is also undergoing a series of renovations. The nearly $6 million project is set for three phases with a possible fourth phase when funding is available. The county has secured funding for the project’s first phase, which includes a new gymnasium, study rooms, computer rooms, an exercise room and increased parking options. The second phase would include updating the center’s pool, which could possibly be funded through SPLOST 2023.

One citizen inquired why funding to update the Griggs Center had only recently become available and that aspects of it, like the basketball court, were not fully available to residents.

“After almost 30 years, we have to wait another year for funding,” the citizen said.

Commission Chairman Patrick Crews said the county was hoping to obtain funding from the governor’s office to help with the project’s second phase.

ROADS AND INFRASTRUCTURE

James Emery, Troup County’s head engineer, discussed some of the ongoing projects his department was working on. In the past two years, the county has repaved approximately 68.6 miles of county roads, averaging 34.3 miles per year from January 2020 to December 2021.

One resident asked about the state of the Long Cane Creek Bridge, which is an ongoing maintenance project.

“That bridge … is too narrow for four-wheelers. It needs to be wider.” the resident said.

Emory said the bridge was strong compared to the other 49 bridges in Troup County and does not have a weight limit. Replacing a bridge, he said, takes time and funds the county may not necessarily have readily available.

COURT SERVICES

Lindsay Mobley, director of Troup County Court Services, gave an update on her department’s current and future service. This month, court services plans to add DNA testing paternity testing and new fingernail testing to its list of services, Mobley said.

Court Services were additionally able to upgrade technology in its courtroom this year, including the hearing room at the Troup County Jail. These upgrades offer virtual options for court proceedings and paperless exhibit presentations that came about as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

TROUP COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Troup County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jon Whitney spoke on the sheriff’s department’s community involvement, including its citizen firearm safety course and its involvement in the Kyle Clinkscales case. Clinkscales was a LaGrange resident who went missing in 1976. A set of skeletal remains were discovered in Clinkscales’ car in December in a pond in Chambers County, Alabama.

“It’s kind of shocking to people in this community, and I never thought we were going to find him, to be honest,” Whitney said.

Whitney also talked about resources some residents may not know about, including residential security checks.

This free resource is available to residents who may need to leave their homes for a time. Residents may call deputies to check on their residence if they do not have anyone looking in on it.