At its June meeting, the Ball Ground City Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of properties from five different landowners and to seek funding for the purchase from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, administered by the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority, for the Roberts Lake Park Project.
The idea to purchase this beautiful gift from nature began on a hot summer day in July 2008. City Manager Eric Wilmarth and City Council Member John Byrd laid their eyes on something they knew about but had never seen. Each had heard of the beauty of Roberts Lake and how it once supplied power to Ball Ground in the 1920s but had never had the opportunity to visit. After reaching their destination, only accessible by an all-terrain vehicle or on foot, they were in awe. They immediately knew this property would offer something great for Ball Ground.
At the city council’s annual planning retreat, City Manager Wilmarth provided pictures of the lake and Long Swamp Creek. After discussing what a valuable asset it would be for Ball Ground, Mayor Roberts and the council members agreed to make it a top priority to acquire the property. The project was listed on the Capital Improvements Plan, Short-Term Work Plan, and Comprehensive Plan.
The 45.42 acres, which is completely landlocked, holds the key to the project. This land has had several owners over the years, making the acquisition a challenge. However, city officials would not be deterred. Finally, officials were able to reach an agreement with Alexander Land Management to purchase the property that contains a beautiful forest of mature hardwood trees, abundant plant and wildlife, and Long Swamp Creek, which runs through its center. Four remaining property owners have signed agreements, enabling Ball Ground to move forward with the project.
According to the city council meeting minutes of May 5, 1923, Mayor W.H. Anderson presented a franchise ordinance to the city council from J.B. Roberts, requesting the authority and right to construct and maintain a power plant (or power plants) for the purpose of providing electricity to the municipality of Ball Ground and its inhabitants. Later meeting minutes reflect that Georgia Power came to town in 1928, and the Roberts Power Company ceased to exist. Today, little remains of the Roberts Dam and Power Company that was built on Long Swamp Creek.
Currently, there are no immediate plans to develop the property other than to build a trail system to provide access to the area. Rest assured that Mayor Roberts and the city council will develop a plan that will allow residents to enjoy this beautiful gift from nature. An area that once provided a great service to the City of Ball Ground will be revitalized to provide enjoyment for many generations to come.