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Porterdale looking to add more parks
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Porterdale may take advantage of several small city-owned lots to install “pocket parks” that will feature a couple pieces of playground equipment for young children.

Mayor Arline Chapman floated the idea to the City Council last month, pointing to four small plots around the city that could be converted into small playgrounds. However, Chapman said one of the properties is not ideal because it does not have good visibility.

“Since I moved over here and bought house — I live on busy corner — I’ve gotten to know the kids and they’ve got nothing to do,” she said. “They’re just walking around.”

The four properties total a little more than one acre and are spread around the city, according to the Newton County Tax Assessor’s Office. The largest property, .72 acres, is just off Elm Street near the gazebo the city built several years ago. Chapman said that land had been used as a playground in the past, but the equipment was in such disrepair the city had to take it out.

Another prospective park is on Pine Street, an open .2-acre lot near Oak and Palmetto streets. Chapman told city councilors that officials should check with residents living around the properties to get their blessing.

“These are two really prime spaces,” she said.

One of the other lots is a .18-acre paved space on Peachtree Street near Walnut Street behind the mill. Another is a .05-acre lot in the Rose Hill neighborhood off Beech Street. Chapman said this spot may not be ideal because it is not very visible from the road.

City manager Bob Thomson said he would consult with the Newton County Recreation Commission to see if the city could place an order through one of their vendors and to get advice on ordering playground equipment.

The city also wanted to search for state programs that purchase equipment in quantities large enough to get bulk or wholesale prices.

Porterdale has roughly $24,000 in SPLOST funds earmarked for recreation. City Councilors last month did not vote on any actions related to the parks. The budget for each park is around $6,000 and Chapman said she hopes they are ready to go by the spring.

The city would pay for the equipment and find a volunteer group that installs playground equipment to do that work.