Crews looks to 2024 in Troup Co.

Published 11:04 am Wednesday, December 27, 2023

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As the year ends and we prepare to head into a new one, it’s a perfect time to reflect on 2023 and look toward the future of Troup County.

For Commission Chairman Patrick Crews, it’s an exciting time for Troup County.

“I think it is a very exciting time right now where we are in Troup County. As I look across the community, there are just so many things going on. For me and for the county, I’m very proud of some of the new facilities that we’ve added here in the community and for ones we have on the drawing board,” Crews said.

Crews noted that the latest project that has been completed is the new Oakfuskee Conservation Center on West Point Lake.

The bottom floor of the facility is the new home of Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, but the main use will be an event center overlooking the lake. The county plans to rent the facility out for weddings, corporate events, parties, fishing competitions, family reunions and basically any event that could utilize event spaces with a breathtaking view of the lake.

Officially opened on Dec. 1, the event center has already gotten nearly continuous use and has already paid for itself through 2024. The center was built using grants and SPLOST funds. The county plans to run the facility as an enterprise, where profits from renting it out will go back into improvements for Pyne Road Park.

Crews noted that the county just signed off on bids for the new pool at the William J. Griggs Center. The Don Weatherington Aquatics Center is expected to be ready for next summer. The commissioners just signed off on a $3.5 million contract that will complete the construction of the pool.

Funding for the project was provided by the county, the City of LaGrange, the Callaway Foundation and a grant from the Governor’s Office.

The new aquatics center is just the second phase of renovations at the Griggs Center. The first phase was completed in March and included expanded off-street parking, a new full-size gymnasium, renovations to the previous “practice” gym, new exercise and study areas, a computer lab and more.

A planned third phase would revamp the facility’s tennis courts.

Crews said the renovations to the Griggs Center have been a long time coming. Overall, the improvements have been about an $11 million investment so far.

When the governor’s office provided $2.2 million in funds for the Griggs pool, the county was also awarded similar funding for a Pickleball facility.

“Pickleball is growing in popularity, so we’re excited about it,” Crews said, noting the facility will be built near the George Harris fields.

Crews also noted the work going on at the planned Whitesville Road multi-use sports facility.

Often referred to as the upcoming Whitesville Road Soccer Complex, the facility will eventually host a plethora of sports from basketball to soccer and even ball hockey.

Crews noted that the county has also made major investments in the newly renovated LaGrange Memorial Library, which reopened in late September.

“I’m very excited about those facilities that we’ve added to our community amenities that a lot of people look for,” Crews said.

Crews also said that housing has not been forgotten, noting several housing developments.

“There’s a lot of construction going on, particularly on the housing side of things. We think that’s going to be beneficial,” Crews said.

Crews said it was a relief to finally move forward with some of the projects that have begun this year, especially the Griggs pool.

“I promised people that I was going to do everything I could to have a pool there by the start of the summer. I didn’t know exactly where all the money was going to come from. I didn’t even know if the builders could build it, but the commitment was to the community,” Crews said, noting Troup hasn’t been able to have swim lessons for two summers.

Crews also noted that many of these projects would not have been possible without outside funding.

“We got a lot of outside funding. I think that’s important and a lot of these projects,  people don’t really understand, like what we did with Oakfuskee, the Griggs Center, the pickleball courts, a lot of that was done with monies to didn’t come from the taxpayers,” Crews said.