2019-01-10 / Front Page

Commissioners discuss the renaming of entry road into Elijah Clark Park

By KAY TOTO
staff writer

Brian Darrell Henderson (left) was administered the oath of office by Probate Judge Lee Moss (far right), for the District 1 seat on the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners. The swearing in ceremony was held at 1 p.m, on Monday, December 31. Also present at the ceremony were his daughter, Lili (center), and wife, Paula. Brian Darrell Henderson (left) was administered the oath of office by Probate Judge Lee Moss (far right), for the District 1 seat on the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners. The swearing in ceremony was held at 1 p.m, on Monday, December 31. Also present at the ceremony were his daughter, Lili (center), and wife, Paula. A variety of subjects was dis­cussed at the recent workshop of the Lincoln County Board of Com­missioners, where no vote was tak­en, some of which will be taken to a vote at the next regular meeting, scheduled for Thursday (tonight), January 10.

The subject most discussed dur­ing the workshop was ultimately tabled, and will not be on the agen­da. A proposal was made by com­missioner Larry Collins to re-name the entry road to Elijah Clark State Park from Elijah Clark State Park Road to John P. Drinkard Sr. Me­morial Drive, as Drinkard was in­strumental in establishing the park in Lincoln County. However, it was quickly determined that there is also a coalition to name the road after Revolutionary War Colonel John Dooley.

“The Elijah Clark State Park, Friends of Elijah Clark, and the Department of Natural Resources have done a lot of work revitalizing the park. They are putting a lot of emphasis on the Revolutionary War and the part that this area played in it. Part of the plan, for example, is to bring what they believe are the remains of John Dooley from Double Branches Road to Elijah Clark State Park for reburial,” said Commissioner Lamar Wade. Wade went on to say that they are trying to determine if the remains of his fort are on the park as well. “Again, for history reasons, with the feed­back that I get – since it is in my district – I’d like the board to con­sider John Dooly as the person to be honored,” finished Wade.

The commissioners decided to table the discussion until the Feb­ruary meeting.

Dooley, along with Elijah Clark, fought in the Revolutionary War, and both participated in the Battle of Kettle Creek, in Wilkes County. Dooley’s burial place is believed to be near Dooley’s Spring. A histori­cal marker on the Elijah Clark State Park Road marks the location of the spring. Dooley’s log cabin was across the road opposite the spring, and it was there that Colonel Dooly was murdered by a band of Tories. It is believed that Dooley’s fort was also located somewhere on what is now the park.

However, a strong case can also be made to honor Drinkard. Drinkard was born in 1898, was hired as an employee of the Lin­coln Journal in 1920, then became its owner and editor in 1924; He was a legislator for 18 years, serv­ing in the Georgia House of Rep­resentatives from 1937-1956 and the Georgia State Senate from 1945-1958. Elijah Clark State Park was established using a $50,000 appropriation attached to the Gen­eral Appropriations Bill in the sen­ate during the 1951 session of the General Assembly. The project was sponsored jointly by Drinkard and Representative Hughes Willing­ham. The statement was made that, without Drinkard’s help, the park simply would not have been locat­ed in Lincoln County.

Norman also reflected that the roads within the park should be named as well, if for no other rea­son than to facilitate emergency services, but the county has no ju­risdiction to do so.

The commissioners decided to table the discussion until Febru­ary’s meeting, to have more time to reflect on their decision, and to hear feedback from the citizens of Lincoln County about this matter.

Norman also touched on the pos­sibility of re-introducing an excise tax, but much more research by Ben Jackson, attorney for the coun­ty, must be done before the idea is even discussed. The two per cent tax, if passed, would be phased in over four years.

Thursday’s agenda will also include reducing the speed limit on Ashmore-Barden Road from 55 miles per hour to 45 miles per hour.

Walker Norman, chairman, men­tioned certain appointments would need to be brought up for vote, such as the county attorney, vice- chairman, as well as various work committee appointments.

Also discussed was a possible change in policy for re-hires of county employees. Currently the policy states that when a county employee resigns, and later ap­plies to be re-hired, any seniority is forfeited, including vacation days. “By allowing them to keep their seniority, it would entice some of our good, experienced employees to come back to Lincoln County to work,” said Norman. After dis­cussion, it was determined that the employee would work a “bridge year” before having his seniority reinstated.

Director of Technology and Me­dia Services Austin Dockery, was there once again to present bids to purchase computers, cloud storage, and anti-virus software, including Microsoft Office 365, in order to do a much-needed update to the coun­ty computer system. The financial software is in dire need of updat­ing, and a decision will soon need to be made to replace that as well.

Workshops are frequently re­ported upon in order to give the public a more in-depth review of the details that shape each commis­sioner’s thoughts, decisions, and, consequently, his vote that will af­fect Lincoln County citizens.

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