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Planning For The Future

Have you ever been asked where you would like to be in five years? It's something to think about. After setting your goal, then you set out on the journey. As many of our elected officials did before them, Ball Ground Mayor A.R. (Rick) Roberts and the City Council continue to plan. Every five years, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs requires local governments to update and adopt a Comprehensive Plan. A lot of work goes into this document, which assists cities in dealing more effectively with issues affecting long-term growth and development.

Ball Ground's first Comprehensive Plan on record was adopted in 1968 by former mayor Ed Turner, and councilmembers Clarence Farriba, Hulon Saye, Lamar Harris, Roy Stancil, and John B. Taylor. According to the 1960 Census, Ball Ground's population was 707.

Today, just as in 1968, much of the city's growth is related to the expansion of the metro Atlanta area. The 1968 plan outlined that development should be concentrated rather than dispersed. Ball Ground should have medium density, resulting in single-family and multifamily developments, averaging 5-10 units per acre and located close to downtown. Housing planned in this way would enable families to take advantage of activities.

Since January, the City has issued permits for 15 new single-family detached homes, and a 60-unit apartment complex is under construction on Northridge Road. The apartment complex is expected to be completed this fall. Also, two single family detached-home communities (for a total of 60 new units) are under construction on Northridge Road. These developments follow the 1968 Comprehensive Plan. Although past and present developments follow each of the Comprehensive Plans since 1968, many local residents do not favor these developments. But cities must grow to survive.

Although Calvin Farmer Park was not developed until the mid-1990s, the 1968 Comprehensive Plan outlined strategies to build a park north of Valley Street on property known as "Calvin Farmer," and it stated the park should be a regional destination and attract development, which it has successfully done.

The plan also called for improvements to the Lions Club Field, which is now a favorite place for teams from all over the southeast to play in baseball tournaments.

Another item on the 1968 Comprehensive Plan was to build a new City Hall. Since Ball Ground was incorporated in 1883, City Hall had been located on Gilmer Ferry Road. As Ball Ground grew, so did its staff. In 2007, a new City Hall was built on Valley Street.

So, the growth and development Ball Ground is currently experiencing was anticipated and included in the City's Comprehensive Plan many years ago, which has since been updated every five years to stay on track with responsible planning and development. Thanks to these efforts, Ball Ground has developed into a destination that attracts visitors from all over the place.

If you haven't been to Ball Ground lately, you have an open invitation to eat at one of its several restaurants, to shop till you drop, and to relax in Calvin Farmer Park or the Ball Ground Botanical Garden. 

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