By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia
Hart County has agreed to lease two parks on Lake Hartwell from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
At their regular meeting last month, the Board of Commissioners voted to lease both Long Point and Milltown Parks. Both parks were scheduled for permanent closure by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers due to federal budget cuts.
Milltown is a primitive campground at the end of Milltown Road off Reed Creek Highway and is on a peninsula.
In addition to campsites, it also has one boat ramp. County administrator Jon Caime says for now there are no plans to do very much with Milltown.
“We looked at trying to get somebody to come in and do something with Milltown, but we had a short period of time and nothing came up,” Caime said. “We’re hoping that some third party will come in and show an interest in the park and sublease it from us and develop it. It’s a beautiful park.”
Caime said for now, the County will only open the park for a few days a week during this summer to see what kind of usage it gets.
“There’s not going to be any camping because we just don’t have the resources to deal with that right now,” Caime said.
But there are long range plans for Long Point Park. Long Point Park is located at the end of Old Highway 29 just outside of Hartwell.
“Long Point is in our strategic tourism corridor,” he said. “To get to the mega ramp, to get to Long Point, you have to come through town and that’s by design. So people are going to spend money in town, buying gas, buying groceries, staying at the hotels, it’s all t here.”
Caime said Long Point is already a very popular day use facility, and he said the County hopes to use it as another major point of interest for visitors.
“It’s a beautiful park and sits out on a peninsula and is surrounded by the big water, it has a picnic area and a grassy area” he said. “The Corps had intended to put a beach out there, but couldn’t and that’s something we would like to do down the road. “
Efforts are underway to move this year’s Hartwell Music Fest from the mega ramp to Long Point Park.
“If a third party wanted to come in and take over the running of that park, we would be willing to discuss that,” Caime said. “But for now, it’s just going to be one of our new parks.”
Recently, the City of Hartwell entered into a lease agreement with the Corps to take over Hart State Park. Hartwell is actively pursuing a third party developer to take over and run that park.